AP Testing Time and Next Year’s Course Selections
Shortly AP testing weeks will begin. Those who are sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be taking tests. Some in IB Programs will also start testing a few weeks later. Most schools will have review days for these tests. Most public schools require the students to sign up and pay for the test, which means that not all students who take AP courses need take the AP Tests. However, most private schools automatically register the students in the classes for the test, so there is no escaping it.
Do not go into these tests without review! It is stupid to throw away an opportunity to get a good score and place out of a college course. When your AP scores are released, even after you graduate, you release them to the colleges. If you are applying in the fall, and you have scores of 4 or 5 on your tests, you release them along with your standardized test scores to the colleges you are applying to, and if you are a graduated senior about to head off to college, you release your scores of 4 or 5 when you are notified they are ready (typically early July) and send off to the college you are going in the fall, which might allow you to place out of classes.
Placing out of classes is up to the individual college, but many schools offer up to 30 credit hours for successful AP Course completion with a test score of 5. However, there are a number of schools that will not give any course credit for the AP course and test at all. Some will allow you to have the credits for a test score of 5, only on a core required course, but will not allow you to place out of classes. This means you will still be required to take the hours you are credited; this is because the college does not want to lose out on full tuition for four years. However, you might be surprised to see how many really good schools offer up to one full year if you have the right core AP courses to qualify to place out of requirements. I had one student you got 5’s on seven cores and quite difficult core AP Courses. She got one full year off of her college degree requirements. If you are looking for a way to save on the college cost, having good AP scores and grades can do just that!
Review for these tests rigorously. Please just drop any optional social activities and start studying now. I prefer a few different prep books for AP review. I like Princeton Review books for Math, Physics, Chemistry, and US History. The study guides in the prep books are really very good, and the practice tests are helpful as well.
For those who are aiming to apply to any schools that require SAT Subject Tests, NOW is the time to review for those as well. If you have not registered for any, do so now for May or June. Some Subject Tests go well with certain Aps. For example US History is very well matched to the AP course as is AP Biology is matched well with Subject Test….but others are not. Honors Chemistry and Honors Physics are better matched to the Subject Tests. The Math and Literature Subject tests are not matched to any AP, so you can prep and study for those regardless of your AP tests. Language Subject tests are really left to those who have fluency. The reason is that for the Subject Tests, the score is not as important in admission as the percentile. And in the Language tests, unless you can score 800, your percentile will be low. You do not want to submit these tests to elite schools if your percentile in any of the tests is below the 80th. Unless you are being recruited specifically to a prestigious school that requires these tests, if you are being recruited, often these test scores are heavily weighted so you can bypass the restrictions during admissions.
For those who have applying for next year’s courses, you must inquire if you can qualify to take an AP. Many schools use PSAT scores and GPA to “invite” only specific students into the AP classes or the IB program. This is difficult, because these courses represent true academic rigor and challenge to a potential college admissions officer. Those students who are willing to rise to the academic challenge and take a rigorous course are thought of more highly and given extra consideration. Not all Aps are the same, however. The core courses are the ones looked upon most favorably. What are the cores? Basically your five required subjects: English, History, Science, Language, and Math. Some AP Courses are weighted differently by a college-Psychology, for example, is considered to be a History.
Not all high schools offer all AP courses.
There are 18 or more now. Many are electives, such as AP Art. You can only take what your school offers. Some schools do not offer an AP course, but allow some students to sign up for the AP exam based on their own school offerings. This is helpful for the opportunity to place out of a college class or at least gain some credit. However, if you are choosing next year’s courses now, see if you can get into an AP or two. You should not do this if you are not doing well though. Getting a poor grade in an AP is not advisable, but if you can work and produce a strong B, it is thought to be better than a straight A in an easy course. Unsure about your potential schedule for next year? Need some advice on Subject Matter tests? Contact Us!