Are Advanced Placement tests worth the time? (YES)

Gina Wu, Editor in Chief

Since The College Board was founded in 1899, the non-profit organization has witnessed a great expansion in its loyal fanbase for its unique offering of standardized tests, including the Advanced Placement (AP) tests, which are notorious for their high price and the immense amount of stress associated with them.

But if AP tests are as dreadful as they sound, why do millions of American high schoolers continue to choose to take them?

Behind all the horror, there are plenty of benefits to taking AP exams.

Depending on the university that students are attending, AP scores of three or higher might qualify them for college credit. This means that not only can an incoming college freshman have the ability to skip introductory courses, they can also save money and invest more time in upper-level classes. 

Additionally, students who receive satisfactory scores are rewarded accordingly. Scholarship opportunities may become available for these students.

Besides practical benefits, AP tests give students a goal to work toward during the school year. The desire to score well on the national exam provides students with the motivation to perform to the best of their ability throughout the year.

A high score on an AP test validates the student’s knowledge in a certain course. For classes that are abnormally structured, earning a five on the AP exam can show that the student fully understands the course but was unable to succeed in the class for reasons beyond their control.
  On the contrary, receiving a high letter grade in a course but failing the corresponding national exam may demonstrate that students are not fully prepared to skip a similar class in college. This often provides students with an accurate reflection of their true skills and prevents inappropriate class placement in college. In the long run, these two reasons can save a student from severely struggling or potentially failing a college class, which comes with much greater academic and monetary consequences.

AP exams establish a system of comparison between different schools in the nation. Without standardized testing, there is not a baseline measurement for how well content should be mastered and the American education system will crumble under further corruption.

An AP class can be a challenge, but that’s where half of the fun lies. Taking a class in something that genuinely interests students can be extremely rewarding for them. 

Besides, some of the best bonding times come from a common struggle over AP test preparation – friendships stem from unexpected places.

If students know what pathway they want to follow in the future, taking an AP test related to their future major is a good way to dip their toes into the water and see whether they are willing to pursue a career and take at least four more years of similarly long and brutal exams in the area.

Beyond everything previously mentioned, there is no greater feeling than the satisfaction that arrives after finishing an AP test and immediately forgetting all the content information. 

Afterall, although AP exams can be quite expensive and stressful, enrollment in an AP class and the ability to take the corresponding national test are rewarding. 

When dwelling in agony during AP season, students should still remember to be grateful for these opportunities and take full advantage of them by pouring in their best efforts.