AP Exams

The below thoughts are based on the collective wisdom and experience of some Tech parents, as well as information gleaned from the College Board website.  The guide contains opinions and subjective statements from parents and is not produced by the school.  Some material may also be out of date.  If you think information is incorrect, please let us know: papresident@bths.edu 

 

How does my student register for AP exams?

For 2019, registration and payment info is expected to be distributed by email in Feb 2019.

Are fee waivers available?

Fee waivers are available for families who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.  Families who have not yet completed the form can do so at https://www.myschoolapps.com/ and then speak to the College Office.

 

Whom should I contact if I have questions about registration?

Please contact Mr. Palmer, Assistant Principal of Testing.

 

When are the AP exams?

See the May 2019 exam exam schedule

 

Are AP exams mandatory?

Policy for APs in May 2019:  

  • Students in an AP class are strongly encouraged to take the AP Exam.

  • If a student in an AP class does not take the AP Exam, then on the student's transcript, the class will no longer carry the "AP" designation and the grade will not carry a 1.10 weighting when calculating the student's overall GPA.

  • Example for a student taking AP US History who gets an 80% grade in the course:

    • If the student takes the AP exam, then the student's transcript will say "AP US History," the course grade will be 80%, but when calculating GPA, the course grade will count as 80% * 1.10 = 88%.

    • If the student does not take the AP exam, then the student's transcript will say just "US History," the course grade will be 80%, and when calculating GPA, the course grade will count as just 80%.

  • Of course students should try to get a 3, 4, or 5 on the AP Exam, but note that the AP Exam score doesn't impact the course grade.

Are AP exam scores factored into grades? 

AP scores are not a factor in the class grade.  Exam grades aren't released until well after report cards come out.

 

However, if a student does not take the AP exam, there is an impact on the transcript designation and GPA -- see above.

 

When will I receive the AP scores?

Your student will be able to access her score on the College Board's website at some point in July.

 

Are AP scores reported to colleges or stated on the high school transcript? 

AP scores are not stated on the high school transcript.  Students can choose to report an AP score to colleges, but the College Board will only send a score report if the student makes the request.

 

Do colleges require AP scores?

Many colleges encourage applicants to self-report their scores on their applications, and there is a section on the Common App to do so.  The PA is not aware of any colleges that require students to report scores.  A college admissions officer might (or might not) notice if a student took an AP class, but didn't self-report an AP score.

 

If your student earns a high score, then he should strongly consider self-reporting the score to colleges.  AP exams are scored out of 5.  A high score is generally considered to be a 4 or 5.  If a student gets a 2 or 3, should he self-report it on the Common App?  Good question -- ask your guidance counselor.

 

If a student wants to use an AP course for credit or placement at a college, she has the College Board send a score report after deciding to attend that college.  The PA is not aware of any colleges that require official College Board score reports for AP exams as part of the application process -- AP exam scores are typically self-reported on applications.

 

How are AP scores used by colleges? 

Many colleges give credit and/or placement for an AP score of 4 or 5, and sometimes for a 3.  Credit means the student receives college credit for the course, which means the student can potentially save money on tuition.  Placement means that the student can be placed in a higher level course, but does not receive college credit.  Every college has its own policies, and often those policies differ for each AP exam.  If you google the name of the college and "AP credit," you can often find the college's policy.

For example:

Stony Brook's AP policy

Binghamton's AP policy

Hunter College's AP policy

Baruch College's AP policy

Cornell's AP policy

MIT's AP policy

Yale's AP policy

University of Chicago's AP policy

Stanford's AP Policy

Very roughly and anecdotally, more selective schools seem less likely to give credit or placement, though of course you won't know what school your student will be attending until spring of 12th grade.

Should my student take the AP? 

Other than the cost, there isn't really any downside to taking an AP exam -- the exam score doesn't count towards the course grade and doesn't have to be reported to colleges.

The cost is significant, and rose substantially in recent years.  Each family should of course make its own decision, but for families who aren't sure, the PA suggests considering the following:

1.  Is the student likely to get at least a 3, maybe a 4?  The student can take a practice exam from an AP test prep book to get a sense and also ask the student's teacher for thoughts.

2.  Is the student likely to apply to schools that grant credit, e.g. SUNYs, CUNYs, and all but the most selective private colleges?

3.  Is the AP subject likely related to the student's possible college major?  For example, a student thinking of majoring in a STEM field will very likely need calculus, and many schools give credit for a 4 or 5 in calculus.  A student might not want to have to take calculus again in college because he is lacking an AP test score.

While the exam cost is significant, it is likely much less than the cost of a college course.  CUNY is probably among the least expensive, where courses work out to $600 or more each (e.g. BMCC is $2,400 per semester, while Brooklyn College is $3,365).  Courses at private colleges or out-of-state public colleges are of course multiples of these amounts.  Even for students who anticipate receiving an Excelsior or other scholarship, AP credits could also reduce the living costs of college.  For example, a student who has accumulated enough credit could graduate early, saving a semester or more of room and board and also income from entering the workforce a semester earlier.

How should my student study for APs?  

A thorough review of coursework for the year is good preparation.  There are test prep books and practice tests available from many publishers (Princeton Review, Barron's, Kaplan, 5 Steps to a 5 etc.) on Amazon and in bookstores like Barnes & Noble (founded by a Tech alum).  Your student may be able to buy last year's prep books used from older friends.  Many libraries also have prep books.

 

Students should consider going to tutoring if they have questions.  Every department offers tutoring.  See the tutoring schedule.

 

Spring break in April might be a good opportunity to study.

What is a good score?

A "good score" depends on the student and the exam.  As mentioned above, many colleges give credit and/or placement for a 4 or 5, and sometimes for a 3.  Some AP exams are more difficult than others.  You can see the historical distribution of scores for all test takers and for Tech students.

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