By Gabriel Kucinski (’18)
Students spend weeks fretting over earning a passing score on their AP exams in the hope that they might be excused from sitting through that monotonous class in college and paying the exorbitant fee for more rigor. However, many students are unaware that AP exams hardly affect college admission. Furthermore, the college to which they apply may not even accept the exam score for credit. So, the question is: If students were aware of these somewhat surprising facts, then why take AP exams at all?
A person who is enrolled in an AP class doesn’t have to take the AP exam. “The downside,” Jenna Friedman (‘18) explains, “is that all year all we do is study for the AP test.” Jenna is currently taking AP Biology and says that even if she gets a perfect score on the AP test, she plans on “retaking the course in college to broaden [her] understanding and general knowledge of Bio in even more detail.” She loves AP Biology, though, and wishes that instead of rushing through the material and cramming in as much information as possible before the exam, she could just enjoy the ride. The thing that was most annoying for the future physician was finding out that good scores on AP exams won’t make her a more competitive candidate for college acceptance.
Although she sees its faults, Friedman says that she is taking the AP exam because she “would like to know how well [she’s] learned the material.” She continues, “even if I don’t get the score that I hope for, I don’t have much to lose by taking the AP test.”
Sharon Cohen (‘18) is currently enrolled in AP Statistics and AP U.S. History. Although she is aware that the AP tests don’t affect college admission, she’s still taking both AP exams. She reasons, “Because after studying for them for a whole year and if there’s a possibility of my scores counting as credits in college, it’s worth it.”
As someone who is also enrolled in APUSH, I understand Sharon’s stress surrounding the subject. APUSH teacher, Mr. Kollin, always says, “Expect that my tests will be harder than the AP exam. You’re welcome.” Even if that statement proves to be true, after serious consideration, I’m happy that I didn’t signed up for the AP test.
Jane Wang (‘19) plans to take the AP test in Art History, her favorite class. “Because I’ve learned so much the whole course, and put so much effort into learning all the pieces, taking the AP test is worth it,” Jane explains. “I know that the AP test has no weight in college admission, but I don’t think I’ll need this class to count as a credit, unless an art course is required in my college.” Wang is taking the AP purely out of passion for the subject. “I’m always going to remember the history and importance of my favorite art pieces.”
From these students we can learn one thing: do not take an AP class for its appearance on your transcript, take it because you’re genuinely interested and prepared to prove yourself to the College Board. No matter what you decide, good luck to everyone these next two weeks!