Are AP tests worth it?

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Cartoon Courtesy of Catherine Lin

The clock ticks by, signaling the passing of each second. Lead is breaking every time the pencil scratches on the paper. A voice calls. Time’s up. Now, was that an AP exam just taken or the final?

These two tests are known to have two different purposes. An AP exam earns the credits of certain classes in college, while the final determines the grade of a class for the semester. The AP exam seems to be helpful, and it does exempt  students from final exams, but it costs money. At the moment, the price for an AP exam is $98. In previous years, it was approximately $70. The final exam, at the very least, is free.

The AP exam would benefit those planning on going to universities the most. Depending on the school and degree a student is aiming for, the higher the degree (masters, doctorate, etc.), the more it costs to take a class. While an AP exam is cheap and would clear those credits, for students who are not going to a university right after high school, it is more affordable and easier to just take the class when they go to whatever college they wish.

The reason why is, while it is possible for those in general classes to take the AP exam, it would be replacing the final with a different, potentially more difficult, test. It is earlier than the final, but it is, nonetheless, a test.

According to College Board, California is number six on its top ten list of states in 2013 with students who passed the AP exam and graduated public school. 26.9 percent of students who take the AP exam passed in 2013. However, that also means that 73.1 percent did not pass. This means they spent almost $100 on an exam they did not even pass.

At the end of the day, the decision falls to the student as to which test he or she wants to take. For an AP student who is planning on attending university after high school, the AP exams might be a better option. However, for the average student who wishes to attend community college or otherwise, the AP exam does not seem to be worth the $98.