Are AP tests worth taking?


AP classes, what makes them so important for high school students to take; College credit. AP classes give a student college credit if they take the AP exam. With a cost around $97-$127 per test it can be intimidating and even impossible to take the test. Fast paced courses, like AP, can be very difficult for some students to maintain with other classes. Especially other AP classes. 

Taking more than one AP class (layering) is very common amongst high school students. However, when a student layers their AP classes they are also layering their AP tests (if they are able to take them). This can increase the cost significantly. From an original cost starting at $97 for an exam at a U.S school, and $127 anywhere else. Students will need to pay this price as soon as they can because, if a payment is made past the payment due date a $225 late fee will be given to the student. (College Board

The College board does provide a $35 fee reduction for students who are in need of financial aid. Making the test now costs $62 which is still very expensive. (College Board). Many students have questions about whether these expensive tests are worth the cost. 

Students do not need to take the AP exams unless they want college credit. It will not affect any student if they take an AP course but won’t take the AP exam. Colleges like to see that AP classes have been taken. If a student does take an AP test and fails they also have the choice to not send their score to their colleges. 

However, the student should explain why they did not take any AP tests or have not sent in any test scores, otherwise the college admission will assume that the student did not do very well. It is much better to explain to colleges why you have not submitted scores than to have them assume one thing. (College Confidential)

Scores are also not required depending on how strong of an applicant a student is for the schools that they are applying to. If a student is applying to a school with a 3.5 GPA and the college wants a 3.2 and above; chances are the student will most likely get into the school. GPA is not the only factor to consider when applying for colleges. 

Many prestigious engineering colleges will have their students take the college’s harder classes like calculus, even physics. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign requires their engineering students to take their calculus classes no matter their AP test score. Making students question whether it is worth spending money to take the AP Calculus test if they are planning on being an engineer. 

However Truckee High does have an online option at Sierra Community College for you to actually get college credit if you get a grade of a C- and above. Sierra College offers courses ranging from Spanish to an EMT course, where you learn about EMTs and how that job profession works. All of these courses cost no money besides a possible textbook that a student can find for cheap on amazon.

In addition to being free, Sierra College classes will give both college and high school credit. Which is great for students as an alternative to getting college credit.

 AP is a very rewarding class for many students to take, with the challenges and rigorous material that is involved can help a student further their academic career. However, online or in person classes at Sierra College can be just as challenging and rewarding, coming with no cost to the student. 

 Students at Truckee High have the choice to take AP classes and tests as well as Sierra College classes. Whether a student chooses to take an AP test or an online college course, both can provide the student with opportunities to succeed. 

Ultimately, AP tests can be worth the cost, but if a student is simply looking for college credit rather than a hard class on their transcript Sierra College offers them a cheaper option.