a black and white photo of ralph waldo emerson

Fan Mail

Fan Mail: Curb Your Emerson Enthusiasm Edition

Students and teachers give the College Board a lot of feedback. You might think we don’t see the notes, the tweets, the memes, but we do. We know you have questions, comments, and complaints—and we have answers (or maybe just responses). And if there’s something you’d like to ask or tell us, email us at [email protected]. (Is that a feedback loop?)

File Under: AP Self-Reliance

Please don’t put any more passages written by Ralph Waldo Emerson in AP Lang. He sounds smart but his logic is flawed and he is actually an idiot. (Class of 2020 student, Colorado)

A famous idiot once wrote, “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”

File Under: Be Silly. Be Honest. Be Meme.

I know that there’s a statement on the exams that says that we are forbidden from discussing the exam content with anyone, but does that apply to students making vague-ass memes about the content and then posting them on the internet? Because we all do that and it’s goddamn hilarious and a valuable group-bonding experience. (Class of 2019 student, New York)

John Cena pondering something.

File Under: Letters and Social Aims

When defining my race on paper for AP Exams and the SAT, there should be a separate section marking “Middle Eastern” as opposed to having “White (including the Middle East).” I’m not sure if anything can actually be done about that, but if it can be changed, then that would be cool. (Arizona, class of 2021)

That seemed a little odd to us, too, so we asked around. Short answer: It can’t be changed—for now. College Board lists the race/ethnicity designations defined by the Department of Education and used throughout the country in K–12 and higher education. The Office of Management and Budget issued revised standards for race and ethnicity in 1997 to be limited to the following categories:

American Indian or Alaska Native A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.

Asian A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Black or African American A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Terms such as “Haitian” or “Negro” can be used in addition to “Black or African American.”

Hispanic or Latino A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. The term “Spanish origin” can be used in addition to “Hispanic or Latino.”

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

White A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

This is one of those “There is no right answer, only less bad ones” problems. And if you want to discuss the use (or lack) of Latinx, the line forms on the left and wraps around the building.

File Under: Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

I’m still pretty upset that I had to scribble out my ninja. I wish the test graders would have seen it because I think they would have gotten a kick out of it. And I also quoted the breakfast club, and I think they would have appreciated that. (Class of 2019 student, Texas)

Look, we can’t speak to why you had to cross out your ninja or how you quoted The Breakfast Club (or why). But scribble us intrigued. Email us a ninja doodle—we need to see it!