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OPINION: Should AP testing be mandatory?

The+top+score+of+5+on+the+AP+psychology+exam.+%28Provided+by+Luci+DiBonaventura%29
The top score of 5 on the AP psychology exam. (Provided by Luci DiBonaventura)

As a requirement for taking the AP classes at Strath Haven High School, students must take the AP tests in May. The Advancement Placement Exam Registration clearly states, “Taking an AP Exam is a mandatory requirement of enrollment in an AP Course.” 

This requirement leaves some students frustrated with the policy. It costs a student $98 per exam and leaves many stressed as they have a semester’s worth of material to review in a week. 

“AP tests are somewhat pointless,” junior Ella DiBonaventura said. “I’m currently taking three and I know there are some I am going to do poorly on after taking the course. I feel like there’s no point in paying $98 when most colleges will only accept certain AP scores. Even though I can afford the fee I still feel like it’s $98 down the drain.” 

Many colleges will only accept scores of 4 or 5 for college credit or to place out of course requirements, according to The Princeton Review.  It’s worth noting that College Board offers an AP Credit Policy Search, which can help students research what AP credits might be accepted at colleges they are considering.

Strath Haven’s average AP scores averaged below 4 in 20 out of 29 offered subjects, according to the 2023-2024 school profile. This means that many students paid for AP tests, but did not earn college credit or placement due to scores lower than college requirements. 

“I’ve taken AP tests before and I do not think it should be required,” junior Zoe Likely said. “AP testing puts a lot of pressure on students especially because all the tests are in May. If they allow the option of having students take some of their AP tests their first semester, it will remove stress as they don’t have to cram in a ton of reviews. I also just feel like if you’re already in college and they don’t accept AP scores I don’t see a point in students taking the test.” 

However, there are benefits to making AP tests mandatory. Some students feel that mandatory AP tests help students prepare for college.

Senior Francesca Clark feels like having AP tests helps students prepare for college testing. 

“I don’t see a point in why you would take the course but not the AP test,” Clark said. “The tests are a good way to understand what you know throughout the course and receive credit for it in colleges. Every school also has a program to help kids who can’t afford it and it’s just a good way to prepare for college testing.” 

AP US History teacher Tom Babcock expresses the benefits of both sides. 

“There are two schools of thought here,” said Babcock. “Number one is you’re teaching many skills and you want everyone on board with getting ready for that test. That being said, I understand the opposite of wanting to increase the amount of kids who want to take the class as a challenge and not for the test.”

While AP tests expose students to college testing and allow them to submit their scores for college credits, it also leaves some students feeling pressured as they have to review months’ worth of material in one week.

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About the Contributor
Luci DiBonaventura '25
Luci DiBonaventura '25, Detours Editor
Luci is a junior and this is her third year writing for Panther Press. In her free time she enjoys painting, playing piano and dancing.
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