Should Students Taking AP Classes Sign Up for the AP Test?

Conifer faces low signup rates for end of year AP tests


Riley Hyatt

The AP U.S History class has a heavy workload that includes historical excerpts, document analysis, and Cornell notes.

As students finally get into the school routine the intensity of high school is coming back as a fresh reminder of school before COVID. 

With the AP exam registration deadline coming soon on November 15, some AP students are still debating whether or not to sign up.  The AP test is completely optional, and it is not required of students taking AP courses.  Many benefits come from taking an advanced course, but the test earns college credit for students who receive a passing score on it.  

The AP exam provides more flexibility in college and could provide more room for other classes,” Counselor, Justin Neuenschwander, said.

According to Neuenschwander, the number of AP students signing up for the AP exam has been dropping over the past couple of years.  This could be because of the school struggles many students faced during COVID.  Along with a starting cost of $96, the stress of a college-level class and a college-level test is pushing away possible AP students.

“Some people might not take the test because it’s a lot of stress.  Some people just aren’t as good at taking tests and working at a higher level,” sophomore, Harley Morrow, said.

The interactive and mentally stimulating environment that the advanced classes provide will prepare students for after high school even if they don’t take the test.  However, the AP test will advance academic skills, impress college admissions officers, and could even boost the chances for college-specific merit aid.  You can find more information about these exams on AP Central, and learn how to register here

“The AP exam is a way to simulate the pressure of college finals while having relatively low stakes.  You feel the tension, you feel the pressure, you feel the stress, your brain turns to mush by the end of it, but if you score low, it doesn’t matter,” AP teacher, Dawn Benish, said.

The AP exam provides good closure at the end of the year, and it gives students a goal to work towards.  In AP U.S. History, the class prepares all year.  They focus on different sections of the test such as the style of writing, multiple-choice questions, and meaningful content that will directly benefit students. Though the workload is hard, Benish claims that anyone can learn how to be successful in an AP class.

“Anybody can learn if they’re willing to put in the work, and that’s really the difference: the workload,” Benish said.