AP aptitude

Vanessa Lopez, Editor

Untitled drawingThe academic year has an extra pay off for some Ontario High School students. While they cram information, they are also preparing for one test at the end of the year: the Advanced Placement test.

There is but one chance to prove that one is proficient at a subject–one day out of 365 for that specific subject. Though no one requires it, it is a quintessential examination of your performance on the subject. Nonetheless, the AP tests provided by College Board are placed upon a pedestal by teachers, students and even colleges. The pay-off appears great until one analyzes its pros and cons.

The test requires a fee of $82–already narrowed down from $91 by the district–for this 2015 school year. There is also a fee waiver available for those who qualify for free or reduced lunch at school, settling the price to $62. All AP-testing OHS students were fortunate enough to pay $30 for the past years with an administrative agreement through our former principal, Mr.Wilborn. The question now is whether this higher price will induce our current administration to help by subsidizing the cost of the tests this year.

Coupled with the highly subjective acceptance of AP scores from colleges and passing considered a minimum score of three out of a possible five, one can only imagine what use these tests will bring, as most post-secondary schools require you to take the class again regardless, such as Brown University. Is it not a matter of support for students that they be eased of the fee’s burden?

Sabri Ben-Achour says in her Marketplace article, “More high school students than ever are taking Advanced Placement courses.” The great rush to take these tests are therefore creating mounds of competitors for college admission, to which the next argument lies.

Colleges are just simply becoming more “picky” about AP scores; a 3 just will not do anymore, as most institutions feel a high school course is not the equivalent to the standards in college.

The test, not surprisingly, requires a great amount of preparation and studying, which an AP review book ranging from $20-$40 may provide. Multiply that by the number of subjects you will test in and you may have a triple-digit investment in AP tests and review books. Each subject also ranges in difficulty and yet none guarantee a passing score.

That said, there are reasons for and against this year’s AP test cost increase. However, while in the short run, you may find the odds against you, the test provides an investment in the long run. Taking an AP class and its test encourages students to buy review books, which are drastically cheaper than college textbooks, and to invest time from the relatively free schedule highs school allows in comparison to college life. While some colleges may disregard your test score, test preparation and initiative are shown by taking both the class and the AP test. Looking at it from this perspective, the AP test may not seem as such a strain for students.