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Cracking the AP exams

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The month of May is extremely ironic. Outside, the warm weather provides the opportunity for a new summer wardrobe, to lie out and soak in a new summer glow, or even to go out on a romantic park stroll. However, on the inside, almost 900 students are in their rooms muddling through the dark night studying for the over 2,000 AP exams they will take.

Those 900 students take an average of 2-3 exam each, which means on average, a student is shelling out $174- $261 for the rigor and time commitment of an AP curriculum that may or may not result in college credit.

Assistant Principal William Walsh says, “I think students take AP exams as a show of accomplishment as well as to earn college credit. We have bright students who do extraordinarily well.” This two fold purpose proves to be true for many students.

Justin Betancourt, junior, shares the same perspective. “I take AP classes because, even though they are such a time commitment, they will help save money moving into college. I can save so much money by taking classes this early on in the game. AP classes were created for this very reason, but the fact that more and more colleges are not accepting AP credit makes it much less advantageous to take AP classes for the college credit. But I also take AP classes to challenge myself; they give a lot more purpose in going to school every day.”

College credit for AP exams is far from guaranteed. Many colleges are denying college credit because they don’t believe the AP classes offered in high school are of the same caliber that their university offers. Loyola and U of I will not accept biology or chemistry credits, and Augustana College will not accept any English credits.

Sarah Ibrahim, senior, plans on attending Washington University in the fall. “WashU won’t accept my AP Language and Composition credit, and mostly will only accept 5s” Ibrahim said.

“I would still take the AP Language class because it’s the only higher level option available to students, but I would definitely not take the AP test. I’m not planning to take the Spanish AP test because it won’t help me in any way,” Ibrahim said.

Because AP college credit is increasingly hard to come by, students should think twice about outlaying all that time and money it takes to complete an AP class, and guidance counselors should be sure to tell their students what schools do and don’t take AP credit so that students can make the most informed decision they can. We know that AP numbers are important; those numbers are what got us that great rating in Newsweek magazine. But, in the end, are all those classes and tests and outlay of cash what’s best for us, the students?

 

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Cracking the AP exams