AP Exams

Jacob Brotman-Krass, Chief Layout Artist

Standardized testing comes in many forms; the Standard of Learning tests that students in Virginia take for different core subjects from elementary school through high school, the SAT which high schoolers across the country take to show colleges their “worth” as a student, and finally AP exams. Compared to the SOLs, AP exams are exponentially more rigorous. Compared to the SATs, AP exams are much more focused on higher level thinking in one subject as opposed to three or four. It’s no surprise that students are stressed out for these exams, and for good reason.
AP exams play an important role for high school students for multiple reasons. AP exams provide another way for colleges to judge their applicants. For a college specializing in engineering, a score of four or five on math and science AP exams could greatly improve an applicant’s chances at acceptance into the college. For a college specializing in humanities, a four or a five on English and foreign language exams could have a similar effect. It’s difficult to judge the effect AP scores have on a college resume, but if nothing else, a high score shows a student’s capability to handle and master college level courses.
Also, more importantly for many students, a good score on an AP exam will usually result in college credit for that class. If money is an issue (with the immense price of college these days, money is an issue for most students), college credit means that is one more class that does not need to be paid for and taken in college. Whether the AP class is in a subject of interest or not, most colleges have a core curriculum which very likely requires the credits for that class.
While AP exams are stressful, a degree of confidence should be had going into the exam. A 37% is a 3 (generally thought of as the passing grade for most colleges), and if the required amount of work is done throughout the year, this score will be easily achievable. Also, thanks to the vast number of students who have already taken each AP course, it is not difficult to find good study material online. Despite the stakes, your best shot at getting a good score will be to relax and have faith in your year-long study of the subject.