Should you take the AP Exam?

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Should you take the AP Exam?

Photo by Juliana Hamel

Photo by Juliana Hamel

Photo by Juliana Hamel

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It may only be October, but students in Advanced Placement (AP) classes are already tasked with the difficult job of deciding whether or not to take the AP Exam in May. There are so many things to consider before sending in the registration form, but knowing the facts may help make the decision easier.

Know your abilities. The first and most obvious point to consider before deciding to take the AP Exam is to know your abilities. If you don’t test well, the exam may not be the best option for you. Likewise, if you don’t feel confident that you’ll understand all the required material before the exam date, it may not be in your best interest to take the test. On the other hand, if you’re a great test-taker and are sure you’ll know all the material, consider sending in the registration form.

Ask colleges if they accept AP credit. Not all colleges accept AP credit, so if you’re on the fence, do some digging. Most schools require a score of 4 or 5, but some will accept a 3. Make a list of the schools you’re most interested in (this might be a little more difficult for sophomores and juniors, but keep in mind, it is not your final list), and check their websites to see what they do and don’t accept. If they don’t accept credit at all or require scores you don’t think you can achieve, you may not want to take the exam.

Are you in dual enrollment classes, too? Some AP classes, like AP Spanish and AP Statistics, are also part of Southern New Hampshire University’s “SNHU in the Classroom” program. This program provides college credit for high school classes for only a small fee. If you have already paid for the dual-enrollment course, you don’t necessarily have to pay to take the exam since you will most likely be receiving college credit anyways.

Consider the cost. AP exams come with a hefty price tag of around $94 per exam, which is a lot of money. Fee waivers are available, but they aren’t given to every student. It’s important to do the research listed above before sending in your check, especially for students taking four or five AP classes. The cost adds up, and you don’t want to be spending money where you don’t have to. On the flip side, paying to take the exam and earning a 4 or 5 could end up saving you money later on, where the same course could cost upwards of $2,000.

Exam registration forms should have been handed out in at least one of your AP classes. You only need one form for all exams you plan on taking. Registrations, along with checks, can be turned in at the Main Guidance office on or before October 15.

So to my fellow AP students: good luck. This decision is a hard one, so make sure you get all the information before registering.

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