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When is it crucial for you to take the AP exam?

neptunaneptuna 429 replies21 threads Member
I'm feeling a bit guilty about having to make my parents pay for my three AP exams in May. It got me thinking about when it's strongly recommended that you take an AP exam for a certain class. For example, I'm planning to major in mathematics, a STEM subject, but I'm still taking the exam for APUSH, a humanities subject. Do colleges care whether or not you take exams for AP classes unrelated to your major? Will it affect your chances of getting it at all?
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Replies to: When is it crucial for you to take the AP exam?

  • halcyonheatherhalcyonheather 8774 replies212 threads Senior Member
    Have you discussed this with your parents? Are you eligible for fee waivers? Which exams would you be taking?

    I've never read any commentary from admissions counselors on this subject, but this is the closest thing I can find right now ("Ask the Dean" question on CC):
    If you take an AP course, be sure to take the test too. Some students mistakenly think that just taking the course will attract positive attention to their records. To the contrary, if a student takes an AP and then does not take the AP test, it will attract negative attention to his or her record because the college will have no way of knowing how well the student mastered the course material.
    Since you're a prospective math major, you'll probably apply to arts and sciences colleges at universities (as opposed to, say, engineering schools), and they generally won't care very much about your intended major because they know it's subject to change.
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  • readingclaygirlreadingclaygirl 2212 replies2 threads Senior Member
    I know at my school you have to. So before you decide check to see what your school's policy is
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  • neptunaneptuna 429 replies21 threads Member
    AP exams are optional at my school. I will be taking the APUSH, AP Macro, and AP Micro exams. I'm sure I'm eligible for the fee waiver, and I already have $90 saved up, so it won't be a *huge* deal. I would consider not taking an exam if it'd be more or less completely useless, but I see now that they are pretty important regardless of major. Thanks for the help!
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  • InigoMontoyaInigoMontoya 1699 replies7 threads Senior Member
    The real impact of AP scores is not during the admission process. Sure it looks good, but during admission scores are self-reported. When it's really important is once you've decided on a school. Each school sets it's own rules, but high enough scores on AP tests may get you out of classes. So yeah, you're going to major in STEM - but will getting a high grade on APUSH (and that's usually a 4 or even 5) get you out of a core requirement? Then it's well worth the AP test fee. Some kids can graduate early using AP credits, others combine summer and AP credits to graduate early and save costs.

    Some schools will not let you place out of classes in your major regardless of your AP score, so that's also something to consider.

    Overall, it does look better to take the test. Not all classes labeled "AP" are truly taught at an AP level.
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  • HamlonHamlon 1120 replies40 threads Senior Member
    Does your school automatically opt-in for a $30 fee waiver? I think it would be helpful to ask the guidance counselors and know want other fee waivers you qualify for. My school has little scholarships that they give to kids regardless of if they use free/reduced lunch. It wouldn't hurt to ask. Last year, the kids in AVID had all their AP exams paid in full. Some states even pay for exams if they are in STEM subjects.
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  • TorveauxTorveaux 1451 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @InigoMontoya is right. S1 got 55 college credits due to AP scores. Every college has its own rules and they may not all make sense. A school may give credit for a 3 on one test and a 4 on another where a different school may have the two targets switched. I have seen schools offer credit for anything from a 2 up to a 5.

    The savings on tuition more than offsets the cost of the test. Even if the classes opted out are effectively 'electives' they can improve your class standing so you can register earlier. That can also save money as you are less likely to miss out on major-required courses that can sometimes mean additional semesters if you miss a sequence.
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  • annanaannana 432 replies33 threads Member
    AP exams seem very expensive, but in reality are much less expensive than the alternative(assuming you pass). I'm not sure what school you are planning on attending, but most schools accept 4 or 5 for credit in a course that usually costs 1000-5000 dollars(depends) and that is certainly attainable if you put work into preparing and already have a solid understanding of the material. Even if you are doing a STEM degree, humanities electives are part of the curriculum so taking APUSH could allow you to opt out of them.
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