For AP Students, Decision to Take Exams Is Challenging

For AP Students, Decision to Take Exams Is Challenging

On October 3rd, students taking any AP classes received a letter informing them that they had just 25 days left to register and pay for any of the exams they were going to take. The AP exams don’t take place until early May, but College Board requires students to make their decision by October 28th.

For some, taking the AP exams is a no-brainer, but for others, the decision isn’t so easy. The exams aren’t cheap, costing students and their families $97 for each exam they decide to take with an additional $40 fee if they register after the deadline.

Additionally, students must pass the exams by earning a 3, 4, or 5 to have a shot at earning college credit, making the $97 a costly gamble. There are also countless factors that can affect performance on the exams with them taking place around the time of prom and in the middle of the spring sports season, and some students having multiple exams on the same day. The exams also require some serious stamina, each one taking around 3-4 hours, making the decision that much harder.

Cole Herrmann, grade 12, explained that the October 28 deadline makes the decision much tougher and he wishes that the deadline was after the New Year.

“We are still in the first marking period right now, there is not much confidence this early on,” he said.

While AP classes operate at a fast pace, it’s still hard to know how good you’ll be at a class in October. Herrman added that the best strategy is to “prioritize the classes you are best at,” and focus on just those classes when it comes exam time.

Aidan Ellis, grade 12, understands the dilemma with the early deadline as well.

“You don’t fully know what you’ll learn,” he said.”You don’t know if it is worth it.”

Ellis’s advice to younger students is that it can’t hurt to try; if you can afford to take the exam, take a shot at it.

AP classes are a daunting task on their own, even without the added stress of deciding whether or not to take the exams and the cost. However, Mrs. Warburton, the high school’s AP coordinator, shared advice to make the process a little bit easier.

“The most important things to consider are future plans, if the class is related to your major, and comfort level,” Warburton explained.

After students take all these factors into consideration, they can have a pretty good idea of how they will be able to perform come exam time.

Warburton also suggested students take advantage of the College Board’s AP Credit Policy Search. This allows students to see what scores the schools they are applying to will accept for credit. Many schools will accept as low as a 3 for college credit, which can help to put students’ minds at ease, letting them know they don’t need to nail a 5 on the exam to make the $97 worth it.