Morgan Brown ‘17 – AP students spend all year preparing for one test. In those final few months before testing in May, they must decide whether or not they feel prepared to face an entire morning of in-depth testing on topics and information that are a mystery before testing day. Students begin to question themselves:
“Am I ready for this test?”
“Have I learned enough to be able to pass?”
“Is it even worth it?”
Of course, AP testing brings about fits of nervousness and feelings of unpreparedness.
After all, the whole class revolves around that one day in May, and this one test can lead to college credits, which means saving money, and impressing colleges.
The AP College Board (collegeboard.org) lists the top four benefits of AP testing as, “Standing out in college admissions, earning college credits, skipping introductory classes, and building college skills.”
Each of these benefits allow students to begin planning their next step towards a college degree before high school ends.
When it comes to college applications, AP classes impress admissions offices. Romeo offers over a dozen advanced classes, not including those run online, and listing a few, or even one, of these classes on an application will excite most schools. Whether one passes the test or not, colleges recognize that an AP class requires extra effort, and consumes a significant amount of a student’s time.
Marissa Wierbicki ‘17 had her doubts about taking the AP World History test in her sophomore year. She, like many other AP students, felt unprepared, especially since randomized essay topics cannot be predicted before the test. However, after considering the possible benefits of taking the test, she decided it was worth it.
“You should at least try to take the test,” Wierbicki said. “You’ll challenge yourself, and have the opportunity to get college credits.”
A typical college credit costs thousands of dollars, which leaves over a million students per year graduating college with loads of debt on their shoulders. AP classes can solve part of this problem, as this year, each exam costs only $92. Providing the possibility to skip intro classes in college, scoring high on AP tests provides the easiest path to more affordable college.
“Passing the test will be hard, but it’s still possible,” Unique Akles ‘18 said. “It’s a waste of taking the class if you don’t take the test. Why not start getting college credits early?”
A common misconception among advanced students is that a 5, the highest score possible on an exam, is required to gain college credit. Some colleges do demand a 5 to grant credits, but in most cases, students can receive a score of a 3 or 4 and earn enough credits to pass on a simple, introductory core class that would otherwise interrupt students who wish to immediately begin in their major.
AP classes not only provide credits for universities, but teach students about the atmosphere of college.
“AP classes are preparing me for what classes and tests will be like next year [in college],” Colin Rosni ‘16 said. “The class goes a lot faster than I anticipated.”
With quick paced, time consuming, and independent courses, students occasionally feel immense pressure to study outside of school, spending quite a bit of their free time on understanding lessons and practicing their skills. The test itself is set in an environment strained by time, with questions focusing on broad topics and requiring students to remember and utilize details for essays.
Experiencing this type of setting before college may prove useful in preparing students for university life, teaching them about the importance of time management and preparedness. Skills like these will not only help students through college years, but through the rest of their lives.
AP tests are much more difficult than a typical final exam. They require extra work, time, and dedication in order to get a high score. Though some students feel as if they will never be prepared enough for an AP test, the rewards that may come as a result far outweigh any sense of doubt.