AP tests loom around the corner

Allie Gordon, staff writer

At this point in the school year, some classes shift to focus on one thing–the AP test. Students and teachers alike begin frantically scheduling review sessions and study dates; we drag our bones to school on Saturdays (in the mornings!) to take practice tests; tips, tactics, and advice are traded like baseball cards.

For those students who have yet to take an AP test, it’s tough. There’s no way to deny that. After a year of grueling, college-level schoolwork, students take an equally grueling cumulative test to determine how well they learned the information. Based on the score received on the nation-wide test, students potentially earn college credit for taking the class in high school.

The test is stressful. The test is expensive. The test is long.

But is the test worth it?

Not every student enrolled in an AP test opts to take the test. And that’s okay. Some reasons are perfectly viable–a senior may already know where he or she is going and know that the school won’t accept the test credit (not every college does). Seniors may have already passed the English AP test in eleventh grade and know they won’t test out of any more classes due to their major. Both are completely sensible responses, and there are others.

However, AP tests really are fantastic opportunities, if students are willing to make the commitment. We’re lucky at Carlsbad to have so many options of AP classes to take and so many engaged teachers. Many arguments that panicked students put up against taking the test simply don’t hold.

For one thing, consider the cost of college. Scary, right? College students typically pay thousands of dollars a year for their education, and debt is a serious concern. Now consider the price of an AP test–not even a hundred dollars. Comparatively, it’s not bad; if it is a concern, qualifying families can waive the fee. Assuming a student passes the AP test, that’s less credits he or she has to pay for in college. Some tests such as AP Spanish Language even put the student in a easy position to earn a minor in that subject. Ultimately, in the long run the benefits of these acquired credits add up and prevent some financial woes.

Yes, the assumption that you’ll pass the test might be a bit of a leap. But every student enrolled in the AP class has the capability to receive a three or above. It might require a lot of time and effort, but it can be done. Teachers have been doing this for years and work tirelessly to prepare their classes. That’s why these classes are much more rigorous than others–they’re college level. The test also is college level, but if you work to learn the information in class, taking advantage of all resources including teachers and fellow students, you will be prepared.

Kudos for taking an AP class at all, really. Disregarding the test, students learn tremendously and deserve the extra GPA for their work. But taking an AP class simply for the GPA bump does not fully take advantage of everything it has to offer. Teachers spend time throughout the year preparing for the AP test, so why not take advantage of it? A few clicks away from the School Loop homepage, and you’re set to go. The test is only a few hours of your life, but the you’ll reap the rewards for years.