Why You Should Try on Your AP Exams (Even though you’re a senior)


Everyone's favorite nonprofit, the college board!

Underclassmen, we’re not really talking to you. You are probably already planning on studying and doing well on your AP exams because you definitely still have some “skin in the game” as Mr. Johnston would say–you aren’t yet accepted into college and mentally checked out of high school. So try on your exams because it matters, good AP scores definitely look good on a college application.

Seniors, listen up! We are talking to you! We know you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you are almost done! But not so fast. You might think that there is no reason for you to study or even try on your exams, but that is honestly kind of crazy. If you are passing your classes, you’ve literally worked all year (well, hopefully) in order to take this test in May. You’ve had to write essays and do practice multiple choice tests and show up for class. If you don’t show up mentally (or physically) for your test in the next two weeks, all of that work will have been for nothing! In addition, AP exams also present an opportunity to get ahead of some college credits so you can save money or have more flexibility in your schedule (more on that later).

We are not saying you need to seriously hit the books by reading your entire textbook, creating 100,000 flashcards, watching every single CrashCourse, or studying your Barron’s book from start to finish, like you might have done in years past. But, maybe, make an effort to get some sleep the night before, eat breakfast the morning of, and get to school around 8… you won’t have to do it again! At the very least, even if you don’t study much in the weeks and days leading up to your exam, consider focusing just during the exam. Maybe don’t draw pictures on your free response page. I mean, you do have to sit there for upwards of two hours anyways, so might as well give the exam a shot.

Your rebellious refusal to even attempt the AP Exam isn’t nearly enough to spite the College Board ”

Also, your rebellious refusal to even attempt the AP Exam try isn’t nearly enough to spite the College Board. That gross monopoly will have to be taken down some other way. No offense, but you are quite literally a speck on the bottom of their shoe, the college board could not care less about your anger with the system.

It might be that your AP score doesn’t matter because you have already checked that you can’t get credit for it, or you can’t exempt 101-level courses with your score, or you need a 5 for your score to be helpful. That sucks, sorry. But most likely, you will be able to exempt easier courses and/or earn direct credit, all of which could help you have a more flexible schedule in college. This comes in handy for more than just graduating early, it’s also a lot easier to qualify to study abroad and have time for internships if you have extra credits. In addition, at least at many larger universities, the intro level class will probably be a lecture style class with maybe 400 other students. If you have credit for say Psych 101 or an intro level history class, you might be able to get into a more interesting, specific sophomore or junior level class.

So to sum it all up, even if you’re not really preparing in advance for your AP Exams, you owe it to yourself and your teachers to at least focus and try during the actual test. You might be surprised as to how much (or, unfortunately, how little) you know and you might even get some college credit. Also, on a different note, if you at least attempt to read the numerous passages and questions you will understand the multitude of memes which follow AP Exams. So that’s a plus. Best of luck!