AP tests provide substantial benefits

With AP tests already underway, interested students need to turn in registration as soon as possible.

Erica Swanson, Staff Reporter

Awaiting students in May is the chance to use those sharpened number two pencils, sit for a test and earn some college credit. Advanced Placement (AP) tests are an exam given by the College Board and recognized by many colleges. If students earn a high enough score, a 3 at most state institutes, they can receive college credit.

For students planning to sit for the exam, registration has already begun, and the official deadline was yesterday. However, interested students, who have not signed up should stop by guidance and see Dr. Joyce Gang, the counselor who coordinates AP registration, immediately.

“Students enrolled in AP classes and online courses should sign up to take the test in their subjects,” Dr. Gang said.  “Students who are very knowledgeable about and have studied a subject with the help of an AP teacher and other outside resources are also welcome to test.

Dr. Gang believes that taking the AP test has many benefits besides the obvious college credit available to students earned in high school.

“AP tests serve several purposes,” Dr. Gang said. “For many students, it is an economical way to earn college credit without paying the full price. This frees students up to advance or take additional courses. The exams also expose students to college level assessments and prepare them for those challenges. Even if students doesn’t earn a high enough score to receive credit, they enter college with a greater background and better foundation for the classes they will be taking. Colleges also seek students who have taken the challenge of increased rigor during high school.”

The AP test also serves as a final for students. Not only does it exempt students from having to sit for the final one of the last three days of school, but it also shows what a student has learned in the course in a comparable way to students from all over the nation.

“The tests also provide feedback to students about how well they have mastered very difficult material and how well they are prepared to enter college classes,” Dr. Gang said. “The tests are the end product that show how students have learned to think analytically and synthesize material, state a position and defend it  and express themselves articulately.”

Beyond the benefits for the individual students, the AP tests make FHC a better school, according to Dr. Gang.

“Students attempting AP classes develop strong rigor within our student body and allow our staff to continue to stretch themselves in their specific content areas,” Dr. Gang said.

Preparation for the AP test is available for students who wish to study beyond the classroom. It is not required, but greatly recommended by teachers and counselors like Dr. Gang.

“There are many extra resources students can use for additional study,” Dr. Gang said. “The AP/Collegeboard websites provide information on test formats and released test items. Review books that expose students to the material and sample questions are also available. Most of the teachers make their students aware of or actually provide them with extra study materials.”

If money is an issue, there is financial aid available to students who wish to seek it.

“Federal government aid through the College Board and the State of Missouri is available to students who qualify, and some of the financial aid comes from a small part of the registration fee that is earmarked for the school for test administration,” Dr. Gang said.