Stressed about AP tests?

High school was proving to be hard. I was in eleventh grade and taking a lot of demanding classes, on top of sports and other extracurriculars. The class that I struggled with the most was an online Advanced Placement (AP) course that I was doing independently. 

The class required me to read a long textbook chapter and take a quiz or write an essay every week. As the midterm exam—worth a big chunk of my grade—approached, I didn’t know how I could possibly be ready. I’d fallen a week behind, and I also found it difficult to focus during the study hall allotted for this class. I didn’t remember anything from the chapters I’d read, and I felt I couldn’t possibly perform well. I was consumed with stress and fear. I needed to get a good grade, and was so disappointed in myself for not preparing as well as I could have. 

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I decided that the only way I could get through this was with prayer. I’ve grown up attending Christian Science Sunday School and have relied on prayer to help me through other difficult situations, so I knew it could help me through this, too.

I didn’t remember anything from the chapters I’d read, and I felt I couldn’t possibly perform well. 

I prayed with the idea that I didn’t need to prove anything and that I wasn’t actually doing this by myself. I’ve learned in Sunday School that God is the source and I am the expression. So since God is infinite, divine Mind, I express unlimited intelligence. Divine Mind is my only Mind, and I can rely on it.

I also read articles and testimonies relating to test-taking in the Christian Science periodicals. One from the Sentinel was called “Test-taking triumph” (Ava Lesko, April 4, 2016). The author shared that she viewed a test in her AP chemistry class as an “opportunity to demonstrate my God-given intelligence.” I thought a lot about that idea. Reading these experiences helped me feel peaceful—and confident that I could succeed just as all those other students had. 

Now that I was calmer, I was able to find a new note-taking technique and create a study plan that I actually followed. I also wasn’t plagued with the tendency to procrastinate that I was used to fighting through. Before each study session, I would pray and reaffirm that I express divine intelligence, which is limitless. 

Before each study session, I would pray and reaffirm that I express divine intelligence, which is limitless.

I took the midterm exam confidently and with a feeling of clarity and peace. I received the grade I was hoping for and was so grateful! For the rest of the year, I continued using the same note-taking technique and felt much better prepared for later exams. I was also more focused while studying. 

When the official AP exams rolled around, I continued to pray and hold on to my faith in God. I also stayed focused on expressing Mind’s intelligence rather than trying to impress anybody. Again, I was able to take each exam with confidence and peace. In July, I received my test scores and learned that I’d earned the highest possible score on each AP exam I’d taken! 

This experience taught me that it’s natural for me to express God’s intelligence and that, as it says in the Bible, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). I know I will be able to continue using these spiritual lessons as I head into my senior year of high school and go on to college.

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