To Take or To Not Take – AP Testing

Enrollment in an AP course does not guarantee that a student will sit for the exam later this spring.

Sreeja Yellapragada, Staff Writer

After a year of rigor, tests, and maybe even some tears, some students in one or more of the many Advanced Placement classes North Allegheny offers choose to opt out of taking the three- to four-hour test that can determine if they can qualify to earn college credit for their hard work.

The Advanced Placement classes and tests offered by the College Board give students who crave academic rigor — or the way it looks on a transcript — the chance to get ahead on college credits and save some money down the road. The AP test can be immensely beneficial because the test has a price of $96 compared to the $200 or $300 price of a class in college. Therefore, scoring a 5, 4, and in some cases a 3 can give a student multiple credits that count towards their pursued degree. 

Nonetheless, completing the course and taking the test can be an incredibly difficult feat. Many students choose to drop some AP classes early in the year or later decide not to sign up for the test. Sometimes these decisions are followed by confused looks and condescending questions, but the thought process behind their choice is more than valid. 

NASH senior Aria Ogle decided to not take the AP French Exam this year.

“I will fail,” she said. “The language AP exams tend to be very very horrid, and I knew from the very beginning that I was not going to even attempt to put myself through so much mental labor.”

Ogle’s perspective on the test is not far off than what many other students feel. Especially for language classes, the amount of effort needed to pass the test is immense; however, after studying the language since 7th or 8th grade, some students want to finish their high school foreign language education. 

Some students feel the same way towards their AP English classes. Senior Tanya Gupta is in AP Literature and Composition this year but has no intention of taking the test. 

“Most colleges I’ve looked at accept Lit or Lang, so the credits are basically interchangeable,” she said. “Since I took the Lang AP test last year, there’s no benefit of stressing to take the Lit test this year.”

Other than not being given credit for the test, some students just do not have the mental stamina at this point in the year to study for such a long period of time.

“I am not taking the test because I am terrible at physics,” senior Anjali Bandi said. “I have taken AP Biology, AP Chemistry, and a lot of AP courses in math, but physics was nothing compared to them. It was a really hard class and I don’t have the motivation to study for this exam, especially being a second-semester senior. If I took this class last year, I think I may have had the will to challenge myself, but that is not the case this year,” 

However Gupta and Bandi say they still enjoys their AP classes, even in the absence of a seat at the exam.

“Physics is a bunch of equations and processes on the outside, but it really teaches you to apply everything to real-world problems. As a prospective science major, I definitely think I will have to visit this content again, and the introduction to these concepts helped,” Bandi said.