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For What It’s Worth

Do AP test remain a good idea?

Picture demonstrating a student’s mind on all the pros and cons of AP tests. (Graphic by Michelle Rosas)

When entering high school many students start worrying about what classes they should take: AP classes? Or taking classes to get credits over the summer?  Most students will do whatever they can to get a good GPA or to get favorable  test scores to better their future. And the fact is that AP tests come with many benefits. There are reasons that they are recommended. Just be prepared: they may cost a significant amount.

Join the crowd. These days, nearly 2.8 million public high school students take AP tests every year. Around 2013, AP tests started to sky rocket, most likely because in the minds of students, colleges have been  raising their standards.  Close to 85% of selective schools have said that high AP test scores have favorably impacted admission decisions in the past. Getting accepted into someone’s dream college is ideal which is why a majority of students decide to go out of their way to take these exams. Think about it.

At the same time, there are people who think AP tests are unnecessary and won’t make or break someone’s future. In fact, an article from collegevine states that some selective schools don’t value AP test scores. So this trend leaves many students wondering whether or not to take these tests and courses.

One AP exam costs $96 if taken in U.S. territories. Exam cancellations cost $40 per exam. AP Seminar or AP Research exam cost $144. These are costly, yet, scoring a 4 or 5 could save a student thousands of dollars in college course charges.

Graph of the cost of AP tests

The Pros of AP Tests

Most selective schools look at AP tests scores and those who do well will most likely have a favorable admission decision. AP tests can also end up saving a students thousands of dollars in tuition and in a students future. And AP tests can make a student look competitive which would also enhance college admissions.

Infographic of the pros and cons of AP test. Pros are at the top and Cons are at the bottom.

The Cons of AP Tests

Studying for AP tests is very time consuming and can lead to isolation of friends, family, and hobbies. A student only receives credit if they pass the AP test. Also, studying for these tests also becomes very overwhelming and can effect a students performance on the  actual test.

  Looking into a survey of 11 honors and AP students many answers varied. When asked if they have taken an AP test, four  in 11 said yes, while seven said no. Adding on to their responses, three students said they will be taking AP tests for the first time later this spring. Another three  students added that they think these tests are worth it and will look very well on college applications. The other five students agreed around the same idea that these tests aren’t entirely necessary. Some said they didn’t feel the need to take the tests and some also said that they have heard from fellow classmates that they aren’t worth it and can potentially be a waste of time if someone doesn’t pass the test. One student said,  “it is useful for placement somewhat, but I believe it can be flawed.”

Rebbeca Morris, AP Spanish language teacher, has had a fair share of students preparing for these tests. She felt  AP tests are a great opportunity for students to achieve the next level, but they don’t define someone’s success.

Rebbeca Morris

 “A particular AP class in a subject matter does not mean you’re going to specialize in that subject matter,” Morris said .

She added that passing AP tests can bring benefits. For example, a student can pay for fewer credits . Yet Morris says that students who pass the AP Spanish exam or the AP Spanish class will receive an award from the school called the seal Biliteracy award.

Apart from Morris’ opinion on the effect that a student receives on campus, she says she has seen some of her own students juggling their personal life and their academic life. “I watched very motivated students try to take four AP classes plus two honors classes plus two sports. Plus I need to be in the musical or whatever their activities are, or they’re very active in their church or they work with their parents organization or whatever. By October, they’re cross-eyed”,  Morris says. Students who prepare for AP exams take hours everyday studying and they try to cram in all of their sports, extra curriculars, and classes that they become extremely overwhelmed and that can have an effect on a students performance on the official exam.

The thought of whether or not AP tests are worth it? have crossed the minds of multiple students on the PRHS campus. No matter how many positive or negative things are said about the AP test, the choice is up to the students. Instead, the question that should be asked is, are students willing to take on the package that comes with these exams regardless of the outcome?

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About the Contributor
Michelle Rosas, Carmesi Co-Director

Senior Michelle Rosas is in her third year of Crimson. She is taking on her first year as a Video/Carmesi director. She hopes to continue to shine a light on important and pressing issues and students' voices, as her last year in this program comes to an end. Before departing from this program, she hopes to inspire other students from different cultures to bring their culture to the program. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, drawing, going on long walks while listening to music, and being outside in nature.

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