Hi's Eye

Are AP exams a scam?

Madison Pena, Longform Editor

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No matter the grade level, AP classes and exams are causing a buzz across the country and in WHS. While freshmen and sophomores are thinking about the AP classes they may take in high school, juniors and seniors must decide if taking AP exams is in their best interest by today’s deadline.

To some, this may sound strange. After all, what was the point of taking the AP class if you’re not going to take the test? Well, the answer isn’t that simple. In fact, the entire system surrounding AP courses and exams is much more complex than just taking a course and sitting for a test.

From the time we enter high school we hear about AP courses, and we’re told that taking them will bolster our college applications. And while the classes are definitely not required, the increasingly competitive application system makes them strongly encouraged.

Naturally, in an effort to help themselves seem more marketable to colleges, already-stressed high school students sign up for these demanding courses and prepare to sit for hours worth of testing.

While taking these courses can be beneficial—especially if you’re interested in the subject and plan to study it further in college—is it always practical to take the course at all?

Many would assume so. Not only does it show colleges your competitive nature, but doing well on the exams also demonstrates an impressive knowledge of the subject that could help you test out of base-level courses in college, saving time and money.

However, it’s important to note that not all colleges grant course credit for passing grades on AP exams, and if they do they’re looking for very specific scores. This raises the question of whether or not it’s worth paying upwards of $94 to take the exam. But then what was the point of taking an entire year of a class dedicated to preparing you for an exam that you’re not going to take?

With so many what-ifs involved, there should be more consideration when signing up for an AP course. Does your desire to please colleges exceed your desire to actually take the course? And would you regret taking the course if you don’t end up taking the test? If the answer to either question is yes, think twice before packing your schedule with AP classes.

Photo by Madison Pena
Staffer Lucy Gretsky attempts to study for four AP exams.

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Are AP exams a scam?