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AP tests: What Are They and Why Do We Take Them?

Updated: Dec 9, 2021

by Chelsea Plunkett


Advanced Placement test enrollment is open, and teachers are encouraging their students to sign up. AP tests are college-level tests that are taken after a student completes an AP course. These


tests might offer a select amount of college credit to the recipient if they score well. However, college credit isn't the only perk of these tests.


"Students can also benefit from taking AP exams to show they took rigorous and challenging courses in high school. This can help strengthen their college applications. Taking the AP exam shows that they are able to put into practice the material from that course," Belen Ramirez, a teacher at Point Loma High School, explained.


Students agree that AP tests offer great opportunities after high school.


Lucia Caputo, a junior at Point Loma High School, plans on taking the AP English Language test, the AP U.S. History test, the AP Spanish Language test, and the AP Biology test. "You don't really get the full value of the class if you don't take the test," Caputo said when asked about why she is choosing to take them.


But the AP tests can be challenging, and they require months of preparation and studying. Because of this, teachers work hard every day to make sure their students are prepared for the tests.


"Most teachers use practice exams and practice activities. Many teachers break the exam down and focus on each section and what is expected of students in each section of the exam. I like to use AP exam prep books and activities to give my students as many opportunities as possible to do AP exam activities," Ramirez said.


"I'm doing the work my teachers assign and using the provided resources on College Board," Caputo said. "Closer to the AP tests, I'll do study groups with friends."


Overall, many people agree that the AP tests are worth it if the student has actual motivation and academic passions for the class.


"If you feel like you can be successful in an AP class, then go for it," Caputo said. "But if you're doing it because other people around you are taking it or you think that's what's expected of you, that's not worth it, and you're not going to end up learning anything."


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