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Dressing up for tests? Piner High School’s Simone Spearman every year encourages her AP language and composition students to wear a class-designed t-shirt when they walk in the doors on exam day.

This year, the students created shirts emblazoned with “Party Like Gatsby,” (the whole class – 46 strong were invited to attend a screening of the movie the night they took the test) and the students did a dance in the quad before sitting down to the test.

The dance and pre-test atmosphere actually inspires other students to inquire about the class, the rigor and possibly sign on to see if they can meet the challenge of an AP class, teachers said.

In 2004, about 30 students were in AP language courses at Piner. Now registration is regularly near 50 students spread over two classes, said fellow Piner teacher Patty Michiels.

In 2004, 13 students passed the exam. Last year, that number was 27, Michiels said.

Eighty-one students have signed up for the course in 2013-14.