College Board Decision on AP Tests

Stephen Serrano, Section Editor

In high school especially during a student’s start as a freshman, AP (Advanced Placement) courses are offered fresh out of middle school. AP classes are designed by the College Board to challenge willing students who want to push themselves to a college level standard of learning– much more difficult than the traditional honors or college prep classes. Each year, the college board sets a curriculum for teachers to teach in hopes of preparing their students for the dreaded AP exam in May.


The AP exam consists of multiple choice questions as well as FRQs (Free Response Questions) based on the subject; Each AP course taken is different in content and it is up to the College Board teachers to decide whether or not a student has fully understood the information taught during the year. If a student passes with a 3 (the grading system is based from a 1-5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 being exceptional comprehension of the college level course), colleges can choose to give general education credits in the students first two year of college.


On top of taking AP classes for the college credit, APs may not be the best fit for a student’s schedule or situation in life. AP means hours of studying, reading, and writing for the sole purpose of preparing for the AP exam. At YLHS, students usually have until the first progress report to drop or switch out of AP courses because it may be too difficult or for other reasons like if the course is not interesting enough for the entire year.


While a student is enrolled in an AP course, they can choose to take the exam or not based on how they are doing in the class or if they do not feel prepared enough. Luckily, it has always been the College Board’s policy to sign up for AP exams in the late winter and early spring– just a few months before the exam date. Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, the College Board has made the executive decision for students to pay for the AP exam online and in November.


With only a few months of the class, a student may not grasp if they are ready enough to take the AP exam and thus creates more pressure earlier on in the school year. Some students are late to drop classes and are now expected to make the choice of taking the exam or not. In addition, some students ask their teachers if it is the best choice to take the exam after seeing personal growth or a different opinion in the student’s journey until the spring.


When Sarah Kim (11) found out that the AP exam sign ups were way earlier in the school year, she was “annoyed that students have to make such a huge decision so early on and it is extremely inconvenient for students to fill out a long process online instead of just paying a check at our finance office”. Even though it may seem more convenient having to pay for these test online, the change in sign ups for the AP exams are most definitely not favorable for the students or teachers at all. The College Board’s new policy may not be a great one, but there is still hope for them switching back to the original policy in the future.