AP tests: worth it or not?
With the AP testing dates approaching, many students are left to decide which tests, if any, to take.
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With decisions about AP tests coming up, many students are left to debate whether or not to take the test or decide which tests they want to take.
Many AP students may feel as though the test is too expensive or simply not worth taking, but one former BHS student begs to differ. Jessica Laverriere, a 2015 BHS graduate, took four AP classes throughout her time in high school along with COT classes that gave her college credit.
“I took four AP classes during high school: APUSH, AP Composition, AP Calculus, and AP Statistics,” said Laverriere. “I got credit for all four of them along with credit from the COT classes I took; Accounting 1 and 2 and then Investing and Personal Finance.”
Laverriere surprised herself when she found out she could potentially graduate early because of all her college credit earned from AP tests.
“I came into college with twenty-one credits because of AP classes and the COT,” said Laverriere. “That’s just three classes (nine credits) short of a full year ahead. That made it extremely easy for me to make up those three classes and get further ahead.”
For Laverriere, graduating early became a close reality thanks to the extensive programs Bryant University offers.
“I didn’t realize how easy it would be until I realized with an internship and the sophomore international experience my school offers, I would only have to take six classes one semester here,” Laverriere said.
Senior Cassie Riley has been taking AP courses since her sophomore year, and she has chosen to not take some in the past for personal reasons.
“I’ve taken a total of seven classes and will have taken five tests in May,” said Riley. “I opted out of my world history [test] sophomore year because I wasn’t going to pass it, and it wasn’t a good choice for me to take the class. This year, I’m not taking the AP Lit test because I’d rather study and get two fives on my calculus and biology exams.”
Although Riley won’t be taking the AP Literature test, AP Literature teacher Sherri Brinkman- Young advises all AP students, especially seniors, to take as many tests as they can.
“I think a senior on the border should definitely take the test because it is a relatively safe environment in which to take a high-stress test,” said Brinkman-Young. “It’s not going to affect their college admission, and colleges don’t even get a copy of it if they don’t want to [send the scores].”
Brinkman-Young thinks that the test is good practice and a good investment considering how much money students could save by graduating early or saving on books.
“It’s better to take as many as you can for the practice and for the possibility that even though the cost is expensive, the savings is great,” said Brinkman-Young. “I know children of friends who have gotten through college in three or three and a half years. They saved tens of thousands of dollars, which makes the ninety dollars seem like an investment.”
On the other hand, Riley believes that no one should take a test that they know they won’t do well on, especially if they take more than one AP class. She opts for studying for a few tests she feels confident about rather than taking more than she can handle.
“[Taking AP tests] can save you a lot of money, but I don’t see the purpose in taking it if you know you’re going to fail,” said Riley. “I don’t really get why people will spend the money and then not study and blame their teacher. Lots of studying on my own is necessary.”
On the contrary, Brinkman-Young has had students in the past who have surprised themselves and ended up getting a score that they could use for college credit.
“I have had students in the past who have really surprised themselves and ended up getting threes and fours that they then utilized later,” Brinkman-Young said.
Like Laverriere, Riley plans on graduating early and going the extra mile to get her undergraduate degree in less than four years.
“I’d like to do my undergrad in three years, but I’ll probably have to take extra summer courses if I can,” Riley said.
Laverriere will be getting both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in four years, and it will save her a ton of money in student loans.
“I’ll be attending graduate school after [receiving my Bachelor’s Degree], so it lets me get both degrees in four years,” said Laverriere. “If you consider tuition, without considering my scholarship, Bryant costs over 50k a year, so people could save a lot of money by utilizing AP credits.”
Laverriere agrees with Brinkman-Young and advises all AP students to take the test in all their AP courses whether they want to graduate early or not.
“I would definitely tell them[AP students] to take the test. $60, $80, or whatever they are now is a fraction of what you could be saving,” said Laverriere. “Even if you don’t want to graduate early, being able to take one less class a semester or one more elective of something you like could help make college more of what you want it to be. “
As far as not doing well on the test goes, Laverriere thinks that it is very possible to surprise yourself as she did several times.
“There were multiple tests I took and didn’t think I would get the score I needed, but I ended up getting it,” said Laverriere. “Never count yourself out because the risk is definitely worth the possible reward.”