High School Students Take AP Tests

Students took the AP exams during the first two weeks of May.

Written by TRACY CHEN / Published May 20, 2011

A good deal of high school students would eventually take Advanced Placement classes and then deal with the notorious AP tests that swing by in early May.

The Advanced Placement courses are high school classes of the college-level that prepare students for the AP test that comes in May. By receiving an adequate score on the test, it is possible to “skip” or exempt the class in college, as the credit would have already been earned. As a college-level course, grade point-wise, the class is ranked the same as an honors course in calculating the grade-point average (GPA).

“AP tests are [relatively] easy,” Senior Alan Zhu said. “However, there is a lot to relearn, which usually involves cramming.”

The AP test is cumulative and based on a very strict set of standards that are to be studied. AP classes offered focus not on the class in a high-school perspective, but more so on preparation for the test. As such, the majority of work is done independently, studying from textbooks and prep books.

Although there are 34 AP tests that can be taken, ranging from Chinese Language and Culture to Statistics, most schools only offer a portion of the preparatory classes, as AP teachers are required to be certified by the College Board, the maker of the tests and also the company that offers the SAT.

Nation-wide, the AP tests began on May 2, ending on the 13, with two exams offered each day, in the morning and the afternoon, averaging about 4 hours in duration. The scores are calculated out of 5 points, with scores of 3 and higher qualifying for potential AP credit.

Colleges and universities today look for AP scores when reviewing college admissions applications. Although not all schools accept AP credit, the presence of a qualified score bears heavily on the decision of admission, other than GPA and SAT score.

“These tests help determine what college you get into,” Szu Tseng said. “Sometimes, you might get into a really good college just because the number of AP tests you take and pass.”


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