To test or not to test: that is your question

Jacqueline Rayfield, Opinion Editor

For students taking AP classes, this is a time of year filled with stress for the upcoming tests. But with the pressure from administration to sign up to take the tests, many students don’t think about the fact that taking the AP test might not be the best choice for them.

The general consensus among teachers seems to be that all students should take the AP tests. While this is true in some cases, students should ultimately be able to decide whether taking the test is right for them.

It’s true that many colleges will give credit to students who score a three or above on an AP test. If a student is even considering applying to these schools, then taking the AP test makes complete sense. This student would be saving money and gaining a leg up on other incoming freshmen in college. For this reason, many juniors should take the tests since they may not know where they will be applying in the fall.

However, for students who know that the colleges they want to apply to don’t accept AP credit, paying the $95 for a test doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. This is, of course, much less than a $1,300 UW course, but if the student is going to a different college that won’t accept the credit, they shouldn’t have to pay for both. Even without taking the AP test, having an AP class on your transcript can help you to be more competitive in the college application process, and for seniors who have already committed to a school that doesn’t give AP credit, just taking the class is probably the best option.

Other AP tests are simply unrealistic to take after a high school course. The AP French test, for example, is based on the 300 level of college French and would be difficult for even AP French 5 students to pass based on our schedule.

In these two cases, taking AP tests doesn’t make much sense. So should administrators really be pressuring us as students to take tests that may not help us in the future? We all have enough on our plates with class work and outside activities, without adding this additional stress.

Some teachers even have class points that are attached to the test. Others simply won’t take no for an answer when students don’t want to take the test. While it’s nice that these teachers want students to get college credit, it should ultimately be up to the student whether they will be taking it.

This is not to say that administrators and teachers shouldn’t tell us about the AP tests and how to sign up for them. We should be given the information on these tests. But we should also be given the choice of whether or not to take them.