“Something to also keep in mind is that colleges look for students that push themselves.”
You may have heard that AP classes are “college classes” being taught in high school. This is why you can get free college credit for taking them. So how do you get that credit?
To qualify for college credit, you must take the National Exam corresponding to your class. Most colleges ask for a score of 3 (out of 5) or above to qualify for credit, which can save you time and money.
Wait, an exam? That’s right, you have to take a *dun dun dun* STANDARDIZED TEST. Yes, another test to take on top of the many you already have to.
The AP National Exams are created by the CollegeBoard. They use your scores (if you want them to, you made the choice on Bubbling Day) to help you connect to interested colleges in the U.S. and around the world and qualify you for credit for the work you already did by taking an AP class. These tests are designed to test your proficiency in key concepts and curriculum, which can be applied to college classes, and thus give you credit for completing them. Credit acceptance rules will vary by college, so if you have a college in mind, you should research these rules on their website.
In early May, the majority of students will travel by bus either in the morning or midday to start their tests at either 8 AM or noon at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.
AP Tests, like subjects in school, vary from one another. In general, expect what you would from any standardized test or final exam, and for more details consult a teacher who teaches the AP class. Aloha offers over 20 AP classes ranging from AP Environmental Science to AP Studio Art. The number of credits you can earn from these classes also varies, but most are worth a freshman or entry level class amount of credits, allowing you to advance into a higher level class when entering college.
“Wait, why is it free?” Well, you have to pay to take the test to qualify for credit. Each AP class costs $63 to register for the exam. If you get a 3 or higher, then you can qualify for credit in most colleges.
“$63? Isn’t that a lot to pay to get college credit?” Even a community college like PCC costs $97 dollars PER credit, which means even if you only get one credit for taking the class, you are still saving money. Universities are even more costly; PSU charges over $150 dollars per credit hour. So if an AP class can give you 4 college credits (the average amount), that means you can save upwards of $600. Not only that, but students who qualify for free or reduced lunch can take these tests free of charge.
“What if I fail the test? That’s a waste of money!” Well, you only spent $63 on failing it now instead of $600 to fail the test in college! Not only that, but you already took the class, so taking it again in college should be at best a good refresher on the topic, and at worst a $600 lecture hall where you already know what you need to know.
Something to also keep in mind is that colleges look for students that push themselves. That includes taking AP classes in high school and taking the national exam. Even if you don’t pass the exams, many colleges want to see that you at least tried it, so don’t be afraid to send your scores even if you aren’t confident you’ll pass!
“So how can I prepare for the AP Exams?” I’m sure you have heard this before but study OFTEN and EARLY, you can’t cram the entire textbook in your brain overnight and ace a test on the following morning. The classic way to study for the AP Exams is to get a study book (Barrons and The Princeton Review are trusted brands). Older editions of the books are usually under $20, and new editions can be found at almost every bookstore. You can also find these at the school library, but there is not enough for everyone to have a copy so be quick! Speaking of libraries, local public libraries like the Beaverton City Library also have these kinds of books you can check out to use. Your teacher is also probably going to have after school study sessions you can attend. Another good way to study is to do it with friends. Get together at home or the library and compare notes, quiz each other, discuss what you already know and go from there. Talking about what you know can help remind you of what you DON’T know. This can be dangerous though, make sure you’re actually STUDYING instead of hanging out. Save the party for when you finish the testing! The College Board has a list of the learning targets that will be tested on the exam, so if you have no clue what to study, it would be a good place to start.
Speaking of which: Do you know when your exam is? You probably only have a few days left to study so it’s time to hit the books!