AP Exam Purchases: is it a worthwhile investment?


Jessica Rios

Student trying to decide whether or not to purchase the AP Exam.

Jessica Rios, Staff Writer

Advanced Placement (AP) exams are now on sale and students are deciding whether to purchase them for their respective AP courses. Some believe taking the exam is a worthy investment since you can earn college credit if you pass with a 3 or higher and save a lot of money as opposed to taking the course in college. Others believe it’s not worth the time, effort, and money as the system is unfair. 

The deadline to purchase AP exams is November 6th. It is imperative that those wishing to purchase an exam do not procrastinate, as after November 6 there will be a late fee of $40, thus making it a whopping $137 to purchase an exam. Whilst still early in the school year, as soon as the second semester starts, the countdown to May commences and students begin to stress. 

“If they’re going to college, I recommend it so you can get college credit and finish college faster. But if you’re not going to go to college, there’s really no need to purchase AP exams,” junior Angel Cesma said.

Taking AP classes not only prepares students effectively for the exam in May, but also exposes them with early knowledge and experience of college-level courses. By taking the exam, students become well-equipped with the expectations and feeling of how it’s like to take a midterm in college. Regardless if students choose to go to a 4-year university, community college, or trade school, the effort put in for an exam will shape students academically and strengthen their character. 

“We put so much effort into it and it is worth it to take the exam to see if we really understand the content of the courses,” junior Yuki Liu said.

Yet, the most prevalent criticisms of AP exams is that it’s a money-making scheme or it’s too expensive and should be more affordable. 

“It’s a lot of work. And I think that students should focus more on their extracurricular activities rather than school so much,” junior William Swasey said.

It’s a universal experience that students are often overwhelmed by workload and how time-consuming AP classes are alongside their extracurricular activities. Some just rather focus on their passions than academics. In addition, not all colleges accept credits earned from the exam, and prestigious universities often require higher scores to even gain credit. As a result of this dilemma, some students deem it unjust that exam takers put in so much effort and end up not receiving the score they wanted.

Junior Angelina Hernandez previously took AP European History and believes that while the AP European History teacher Mr. Donovan prepared her well, the results of the exam were costly among many students, including herself.

“Some people may not be as fortunate enough to pay for the AP Euro exam. Since I paid for it late, I had to pay $120 for the one test. And I can’t imagine the kids who are now taking five or six AP classes pay like $90 for each of the classes. That’s ridiculous,” said Hernandez. 

Students in the past have paid over $500 for multiple AP exams, a financial burden that many students and families can’t withstand. Fortunately, the District has accommodated these issues through fee reductions for those who qualify. 

If you are planning to attend a 4-year university after high school and have an idea of where you want to apply, search to see what scores they will accept for college credit. Otherwise, purchasing an exam may seem more like a gamble than an investment. Ultimately, it is recommended to take AP courses to build the confidence to tackle exams in college as well as gain prior knowledge.