As May 4 draws closer, so does panic and stress for many RHS students and teachers. This day kicks off two weeks of exams that many have been preparing for since September. As per Ridgewood High School policy, students in AP courses must register and take the end-of-year exams administered by College Board in order to receive full credit for the class. Each three hour exam is a culmination of information gathered from a yearlong college-level course and generally involves both multiple choice questions and free response sections. Students will receive scores ranging from 1 to 5 in early July.
While some students only take the exams due to school policy, others will take them to prove that they have the aptitude to achieve in a college environment and successfully battle the challenges high school presents. Many students regret the money their parents spend on the exam (around $90 each this year), as totals for these tests could range anywhere from just under a hundred dollars to almost a thousand dollars depending on the number of AP classes a student decides to take.
Besides the rigor of these types of classes, AP courses can be used for college credit; most colleges and universities in the U.S. offer college credit or advanced placement for qualifying scores. By taking advantage of AP credit, students can save money, pursue a second major, or even study abroad. Additionally, AP courses can serve as an introductory course for a student’s preferred college major, which means that the student can more quickly advance into a more challenging course, or open up time to take other electives of interest.
According to the College Board, research on the benefits of AP courses shows that AP students are more likely to perform well in college than non-AP students, and the odds of enrolling in a four year institution increased by 171 percent for students who took at least one AP Exam during high school. The AP research data shows several positive benefits that arise after AP students have gone off to college, and indicates that the the preparation these students receive can be used as tools for their academic and professional futures. If you are thinking about taking an AP course, keep in mind not only all the benefits that it can offer, but also whether or not you are truly willing to challenge yourself academically.
College policy for AP exams can be found here: CollegeBoard