One of my teachers that is an APUSH grader posts Facebook statuses each day about the dumbest things she reads, so they are allowed to say. But my favorite story was from a teacher that did the AP Lit grading. The teachers are allowed to read the responses to open ended questions on books they haven’t read, but she says that if people aren’t too familiar with them they tend to pass it off to someone who has actually read it. One day she got a response on a book she had never heard of, so she tried to pass it on to someone else. But no one else at her table, or in her room, had heard of it either. Which in this case is strange, because this is a room full of English teachers, and all of the source works for that response are supposed to be of a certain academic caliber. After finally resorting to looking the book up online and calling around to a few bookstores, they determined the book did not exist. Someone had made up an entire plot-line, and then analyzed it and wrote an essay on it.
My comparative government teacher told me about the essay that contained no words — just a picture of Godzilla and King Kong attacking the College Board building.
My stat teacher told us that all he saw on a FRQ was ” I know I failed this, but the teacher was a milf, so it was totally worth it.”
Best story from my AP European History teacher, who was also an AP grader. An essay question one year asked to describe the similarities and differences between the protestant reformation in England and Germany. One student wrote, “In Germany, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. In England, Henry VIII nailed Anne Boleyn.”
I took AP Spanish this year. I mistranslated the words for laughter and smile in my head as crying and sadness. I ended up writing 200+ words about the health benefits of being sad.
Friend of the family used to grade AP Music Theory exams. There’s a sight-singing section on the exam where, at least when I took it, you had to sing onto a tape that would be scored based on accuracy. He had to hear a TON of really horrible ones, but he told us one story that I remember.
The student’s recording began fine, and then the student made a mistake, yelled “Ahh FUCK!” and then proceeded to start singing “Tooty Fruity”.
My AP European history teacher told us that one year, the essay was on Enlightenment thinkers. One student wrote “The Enlightenment had many great thinkers, none of which come to mind currently.” and nothing else.
When I was taking AP exams my senior year, one kid in my class wrote a two-act play about a couple trapped in zoo over night. While trapped there, a radioactive source causes the animals to mutate into human/animal hybrids and the human/animal hybrids chase the couple throughout the zoo, trying to eat them (the giraffe was named puzzles). The first act was in his AP English Lit exam; the second act was in his AP Euro exam.
My English teacher told us that one of his favorite essays that he graded was actually not an essay at all, but a “perfectly drawn and shaded” picture of a middle finger.
Said he almost didn’t have the heart to give him that zero.
When I took AP US history I couldn’t remember which amendment abolished slavery, so I made the number look like really bad hand writing. I got a 5.
My History teacher told us that one time there was a test where the student just traced an outline of their hand, with a small caption underneath that said “high five! :D.”
She gave the paper a high five, but still gave the student a zero.
My AP US History teacher grades the AP Exam ever year and his favorite was one sentence: “Booker T. was a guy who take a trip.” That was all that was on the essay. The question was about how W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington planned to improve the condition of blacks following the Civil War.
For US History, my teacher always showed us this one example of a DBQ essay that a kid wrote. It was about ice cream and he drew a stick figure and labeled it George Washington. The essay was supposed to be about slavery…
My AP Human Geography teacher told us about how he graded a paper where a kid wrote a 6-page short story about a rabbit and managed to incorporate the correct answer and got full credit. I called bullshit but he swore it was true.
I read AP exams in the past. Most memorable was an exam book with $5 taped to the page inside and the essay just said, “Please, have mercy.” But I also got an angry breakup letter, a drawing of some astronauts, all kinds of random stuff.
A poem about Joseph Stalin. It was fucking amazing. The only line I really remember was ‘he had eyes made of death and a ‘stache of pig iron.’
One of my high school history teachers was one. He told us he once read an entire essay about a sex scandal between Betsy Ross and Thomas Jefferson.
When I took my test, I would put really irrelevant jokes/dirty jokes in the middle of my essays, then cross them out (because they can’t be graded) but sure as hell could be read.
One of my friends decided that a good use of his AP Physics-C exam was to write a 2-act play and then top it off by writing a review of it. If I remember correctly, he gave it 4/5 stars.
When I took my AP English exam, the final of the three essays had a prompt that said “Pick a work from this list or one of similar literary quality and discuss character foils.”
Well, I got pissed off at the elitist tone of the “literary quality” bit, so I started my essay: “Literary quality is a very subjective thing. Nowhere are character foils more evident than in Dr. Seuss’s masterpiece, Go Dog Go.”
I then proceeded to write an entire essay on character foils in Go Dog Go, comparing the black dogs to the white dogs, the dogs over the house to the dogs under the house, etc.
My Government teacher is a reader and told us of an essay they received one year that was written perfectly backwards. The grader had to hold it up to a mirror to decipher it.
When I took the AP World History exam, I had the option of taking the Comparative Politics exam for free. Sure, why not. I didn’t study for it at all. After answering a few of the essay questions, I got bored/stumped/wanted to leave because I had bronchitis and felt bad for the serious test takers who had to listen to me coughing…so I drew an elaborate picture of a dinosaur holding a sign that said “Sorry, I didn’t even take this class.” Got a 2!
I just took my AP Lit test today. I think they might get a bit of a chuckle out of my third essay. I didn’t intentionally do something funny, it just sucks so bad.
But relating to the question, my English teacher told my class of how she knew of one student who just didn’t write the final essay. Instead, they wrote a letter to the grader telling them to take a break and go get a cup of coffee. They went on to compare themselves to the grader, talking about how they were both confined in a room to do something that they didn’t want to do, yet they’re still doing it all the same. Somehow, they got a 2.
On my AP Euro test a few years back there was an Essay about post WWII life and we hadn’t gotten that far in the class and I wasn’t sure of the answer. I wrote as much of an essay as I could but the majority of it was a detailed sketch of the entire bathtub scene from Billy Madison. Shampoo vs. Conditioner.
Fun fact. The teachers of your AP classes get the free response parts back. I wrote awful things about my AP physics teacher on the exam (essays about how he didn’t teach), and the next school year he came and showed the booklet to me.
I took the AP Lit exam today. My friend, in order to increase the essay length, wrote out the entire lyrics to N.W.A’s “Fuck The Police” in the middle of his essay and proceeded to cross it out, which meant they can’t grade the test. As we were in the back of the room, I was able to be shown a glance of his test, and can confirm this.
When I took the AP computer science exam, one of my classmates, frustrated with his inability to figure out what the hell they wanted versus his years of actual programming experience, wrote a virus.
One of my friends was taking the Lit one, but she totally blanked on one of the essay responses and just ended up writing every fact she knew about pandas. Got a 2.
I took my AP Lit test about three years ago and one of the prompts was about an incredibly dull poem called the “Century Quilt.” I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm, so with 10 minutes to go I wrote a grammatically correct 2-page single sentence essay.
My AP Lit teacher’s face turned purple when I told him- but I still got a 4!
30. A plea of sorts.
My AP US History teacher had a few funny stories. One kid wrote a rap about how his mother made him take the class and begged the reader to give him a 5. Her group also got a lot of bribes in the booklets. She said that they put it all together and bought lunch with it. Solid.
31. A scary-looking clown and Breaking Bad quotes.
I took an AP Chemistry exam and I had no idea what I was doing. So on one of the pages where I was supposed to be answering a question about batteries I put a very large, very menacing picture of an evil clown. Also, a bunch of “Breaking Bad” quotes.