The school year ends and Anne locks her books away, declaring that she wants to make the most of her last summer as a child. The next day Mrs. Rachel drops by Green Gables, and Marilla tells her that Matthew has had another bad spell with his heart, which is the first we hear of his condition. Marilla expresses her happiness that Anne is growing into a trustworthy person. Mrs. Rachel agrees that she was mistaken to doubt Anne when she arrived three years ago. She comments that Anne has improved in everything, especially in her looks. Though Anne lacks Diana’s coloring and Ruby’s flashy looks, there is something special and arresting in her “pale, big-eyed style.”
After a rich summer free of studying, Anne returns to school with vigor and ambition. She is now fifteen years old, and with the other Avonlea scholars attends Debating Club concerts, parties, sleigh drives, and skating events. Anne is now taller than Marilla, and her eyes have grown serious. Anne does not chatter as she used to, explaining to Marilla that “it’s nicer to think dear, pretty thoughts and keep them in one’s heart.” This change in Anne saddens Marilla, who misses the bright-eyed child she first took in. She bursts into tears at the thought that next year Anne will go to college and leave Green Gables as quiet as it was before her arrival. Miss Stacy remains a central figure in Anne’s education, especially in her training as a writer. Anne becomes critical of her own writing, changing her style from romantic to realistic. All the scholars are nervous about the upcoming entrance exam to Queen’s Academy, and Anne has nightmares about failing.
The end of June marks the end of Miss Stacy’s tenure and Anne’s time at Avonlea School. Anne and Diana walk home, weeping that their time together as child scholars has ended. Though Anne is paralyzed by nervousness about her upcoming entrance exam, she dutifully follows Miss Stacy’s advice and avoids cramming during the week of the exam. After the first day of the exam, she writes Diana a letter from Charlottetown, relating the students’ nervousness and comparing her own sense of foreboding to her fear when she first asked Marilla if she could stay at Green Gables.
Anne returns to Avonlea and greets Diana as though they had been apart for years. She spends an agonizing three weeks waiting for the results of the exam. Although Anne feels she has passed, she claims she would rather not pass at all than be beaten by her rival, Gilbert. Finally, the newspaper comes out with the results: Anne and Gilbert have tied for first place in the entire island, and all the Avonlea scholars have passed. Matthew, Marilla, Mrs. Rachel, and Diana are enormously proud of Anne’s success.
Having used early chapters of the novel to establish Anne’s -character, in this section Montgomery shows the results of Anne’s -development and maturity. Anne is contented, lovely, and -successful. After visiting Aunt Josephine, Anne realizes that the luxurious belongings for which she has always yearned do not -satisfy her as she dreamed they would. She discovers that the ways of Avonlea suit her better than elegant city life. Even the critical Mrs. Rachel, initially a vocal critic of Anne’s looks, proclaims that Anne has turned into a beauty. And Anne’s dedicated studying pays off tangibly when she ties Gilbert for first place in the entrance exams.
Anne’s progress into adulthood is not always easy, however. She and Diana cling to their childhoods, deciding that they can avoid marriage, children, and adulthood by living together as old maids. The girls know that they will be separated, as Anne will go to college and Diana will not. Their separation at the end of every day, as Anne studies with the Queen’s Academy candidates while Diana goes home, foreshadows the greater separation to come the following year, when Anne will attend Queen’s Academy full time. Marilla, too, feels the pangs of impending separation, mourning the loss of Anne’s childhood and the nearness of her departure for Queen’s Academy. Marilla appreciates the companionship and energy Anne brings to Green Gables. As Anne becomes more adult, Matthew and Marilla grow older; Marilla has frequent head and eye aches, and Matthew has heart troubles.