Students harbor mixed feelings toward taking AP tests in the gym

Juliana Moraes-Liu, Author

This year, the Palo Alto High School administration has decided to hold several Advanced Placement tests in the Big Gym.

According to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson, the administration made this decision to keep the library open as much as possible for students during the AP testing period.

“The other option [instead of using the Big Gym] is shutting down the library,” Berkson said. “While 35-120 kids need to take a test, there are about 1900 [students] who may need the library.”

Unfortunately, unlike the library, the Big Gym  is filled with a loud buzzing sound, and the administration has responded to this issue by handing out earplugs to students taking the tests.

“It [the noise] didn’t bother me because I tuned it out after the beginning, but I think that for a lot of people it was bothersome,” senior Meridian Tran said.

Senior Jace Jamason is among the students who found the noise detrimental to a testing environment.

“For someone who’s very susceptible to migraines, it’s very difficult to test with the buzzing because the earplugs don’t work if you have good hearing,” he said. “It’s very distracting.”

Unlike Jamason, senior Eyra Dordi did not find the noise distracting.

“I didn’t think the noise was that bad,” Dordi said. “It wasn’t really bugging me, but I could see why it would bug some people who really need quiet.”

Dordi believed the earplugs were effective at blocking out the noise.

“I did put in the earplugs eventually,” Dordi said. “They actually did block out the noise really well.”

Tran had mixed  thoughts about testing in the gym.

“It’s bigger and it’s a lot less distracting because there’s not as many books and people everywhere,” Tran said. “[But] it [the gym] was also really cold and occasionally it smelled a little bit. I’d actually prefer it [the gym] to the library if it wasn’t as loud or as stinky.”

The administration still has not decided whether the gym will be used again for testing in future years.

“We look at what went well and what needs to improve every year, and we will do so again after this testing season,” Berkson said.