AP Insanity

As a taker of two AP exams in the past (and 3 more in the near future), such challenging tests are nothing new to me.  However, some tests have reached a new level of difficulty.  This level can only be described as ludicrous, absurd, ridiculous, hysterical and, most importantly, completely and utterly insane.

Now, one may at first think that I am overreacting.  Let that person read the following AP question:

At approximately what temperature will 40.0 grams of argon gas at 2.0 atmospheres occupy a volume of 22.4 liters?

A. 1,200 K
B. 600 K
C. 550 K
D. 270 K
E. 140 K

Now, before any taker of Junior level chemistry mocks me for using the simple question as an example, keep in mind that all chemistry multiple choice are WITHOUT A CALCULATOR.  Now, most students know that to find the temperature of a gas, they would use the equation T=(PV)/(nR).  Now, the formula mass of argon is approximately 40, and since we have 40 grams, n=1.  The equation is now T=(PV)/R.  With all other variables put in, T=((2)(22.4))/.0821=44.8/.0821.  So, good luck doing that without a calculator.  If one rounds these numbers to 45 and .1 respectively, however, their answer will still come out to 450.  While closest to C, this leaves a huge margin of error.  Not only does this test expect too much from the student, but it leaves doubt in any answer containing the words “Approximately, About, Closest To,” or “Near.”

The only reasonable explanation is that the good folks at College Board are complete lunatics.  Who else would require a student to know specific uses of every single compound known to man (in addition to all other aspects of chemistry), charge $30.00 to have SAT scores rush-shipped ELECTRONICALLY (and still have it show up late), and all at the same time still think itself the world leader on college affairs?

We must stop this madness.  Fellow Highschooligans, we must take up in arms against this insane, rogue organization.  Like a precursor to Skynet, College Board is ruthless and will stop at nothing until full world domination is reached.  Join me in the fight against insanity.


If one were to open up a dictionary, it can be safely assumed that under “insanity” you will find “the state of being insane.”  Unfortunately, dictionaries only define root words because their respective writers are lazy bums.  Some, for your sake, let us start off with the definition of “insane.”  To be insane is to be considered “mad, extravagant, outrageous, or insane (yes, they used the word in the definition).”  So, to sum things up, the definition of insanity is “the state of being mad, extravagant, outrageous, or insane.”  If you looked up the definition for any of these words, I am equally sure that the word insane would be used in their as well.  Oddly enough, this cannot be blamed solely on the laziness of dictionary authors.

This word first came into use around 1580, being derived from the term insane, first coming into use in 1550.  These words were derived from the Latin phrases “Insanitatem” and “Insanus,” respectively.  Apparently, when people started acting, well, insane,m everybody thought “What the Hell do we call the nut jobs?” to which someone of slightly higher intelligence retorted “Apparently the Romans had a word for it, let us change the last few letters and use said phrase!”  This, of course, brings us back to the issue of insanity’s apparent (and yes, I have used this word three times in two sentences) lack of a definition.

Insanity – as well as sanity, for that matter – by it’s very nature is almost impossible to give a solid definition to.  There was once a definition, commonly quoted as insanity as “repeating the same act over and over again whilst expecting different results.”  For example, if somebody were to clasp there hands and ask a magic sky being to solve all of their problems everyday, even though they never saw results, they would be completely insane, as well as an idiot.  This definition, however, did not account for any outside factors that can make someone who constantly repeats an act completely sane.  In older times, insanity commonly referred to those who, by birth or through environment, lost all common sense.  Examples would be in Othello, where the titular character can be said to have gone insane after murdering his wife for reasons based purely on speculation.

Today, however, insanity has become more of a general terms for suffering a mental condition along the lines of schizophrenia, the multiple identity complex, or attending the Church of Scientology.  An example of this definition would be more like Alex from A Clockwork Orange, who has no regret or pity in committing deeds such as battery or rape for pure sportsmanship.  He would be insane because he has always lacked key features of human emotion and cognitive thought.  While not in a dictionary, this definition is definitely what most will assume you mean when speaking of “insanity.”