Question for parents of Highschool AP students..
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 2/1/2013 by ANGELI in NSBR Board
 

ANGELI
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Posted: 2/1/2013 3:43:37 PM
What is the benefit of sitting for AP exams ?

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Posted: 2/1/2013 3:47:51 PM
Sometimes colleges will give college credit for courses if the student did well on the exam (usually a 4 or 5). That can help the student place into a higher class, graduate early, or even take a lighter course load for a semester or two. For the $85 per class, that can translate into a lot of tuition money.

My daughter's AP exams were not required, but did count as their final exam grade. If she didn't take the AP exam, she'd have to take a course final.

ETA: She's a freshman at Georgia Tech and got GT credit for calculus, physics, US history, and chemistry.

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Posted: 2/1/2013 3:50:24 PM
If the child gets a good score on the AP test, many (not all) colleges will give him/her credit for that course. For example, my son took AP Calculus, and got a 5 on the test. His university gave him 3 credits for the class (as though he'd taken it there) and moved him into Calc 2.


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Posted: 2/1/2013 4:02:58 PM
They're not optional at our school - you take the class, you sit for the test. They aren't used as finals because the scores come too late for the grades to be in.



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Posted: 2/1/2013 4:09:03 PM
Testing isn't optional for us, either. You take the class, you sit the test. But the school pays for the testing costs and offers study support for all AP classes.


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Posted: 2/1/2013 4:25:38 PM
Besides the credit, etc., after all that work, wouldn't you want to see how you measure up? It's like going to all the practices for a year then skipping the competition!


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Posted: 2/1/2013 4:31:30 PM
My 15 yr. old sophomore will take 3 AP classes next year.

I never heard the term "sit for the exam"? Does that just mean take the exam, or is there something they have to do along with taking the exam? (I keep picturing a child sitting in a seat but not doing anything (haha!).

How much do the exams costs? We thought if the test was expensive, we would see how her grades are and if the teacher recommends that she take the exam.

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Posted: 2/1/2013 4:44:38 PM
It's not an option for us at our school. I consider AP exams only one way to show colleges that my child did well. Nothing more. If they accept the credits, that's just icing.

The exam is less than $100. I think around $90ish?


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Posted: 2/1/2013 5:02:20 PM
I think the exams are 84 this year and I don't know of a HS where you do not have to sit for the exam if you take the AP class. I am sure it may happen, I am not aware of it, personally.

Our school system used to pay for them, then we had to pay 100% and then half and who knows what it will be next year. I won't have any kids in HS any longer and will be dancing and clapping too much to hear what is going on at the HS after that.



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Posted: 2/1/2013 5:22:29 PM

They aren't used as finals because the scores come too late for the grades to be in.
You know, that's true. I know if you didn't sit for the exam, you had to take a class final. You must not have had a HS graded final if you took the AP. Very few kids skipped the exam after taking the course -- there really wasn't a down side to it.

DD was debating whether to take the AP tests in statistics and german because the college didn't give credit for it. She went ahead and took them so she didn't have to take finals a month later.

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Posted: 2/1/2013 5:44:48 PM

I never heard the term "sit for the exam"?


Sitting for an exam just means taking the exam.

I think the exams are $85 each.


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Posted: 2/1/2013 5:59:06 PM
At my high school it is up to the teacher whether or not to mandate the test, and only one of them does. Our kids are offered dual credit in two AP classes and will almost always choose the "bird in the hand" rather than chancing the test. Some choose not to take the test because the college they want to attend will not offer credit, or they just don't feel confident enough in the material to want to skip the class if they do receive credit. My stepson, who received credit for his score in AP Calculus said that he struggled with his placement in calculus in college and wished that he had just started at the beginning.

My dd took several AP classes but I didn't make her test in any of them because she had dual credit in most of them and also took some online college classes her senior year. Also, I give the AP tests at my school so it would've been a pain to get someone else for that.

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Posted: 2/1/2013 6:12:07 PM
you can also take the tests without taking any class. my son's friend did this...got credit in three other areas than what he got at high school.

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Posted: 2/1/2013 6:49:40 PM
I will admit that I took 2 AP courses in high school and only took the exam in one class. I took the APUSH exam, but not the AP Lit exam because I knew my limits. I was really awful when it came to poetry.

I think if I had it to over again, I would take the exam just to see how I could do.

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Posted: 2/1/2013 9:13:04 PM
It isn't an option at our school. Students have to take it.

It is easy to look up what credit they give. Google ap credit and college name. Public schools are usually The most generous. One school ds is looking at only gives credit for ap Lang if you get a 5. Clearly they want their freshman to take an intro writing class.

Sometimes the college will only give you elective credit and sometimes it only counts for placement.

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Posted: 2/1/2013 9:16:52 PM
Between my 24 AP exam credits (6 passing exams times 4 credits each) and my 20 foreign language credits (retroactive when I passed the 5th semester class as a freshman), I was able to graduate college in three years. I was summa cum laude but had brought so many credits I didn't get to wear the honors cords because I hadn't earned enough credits at the college!

I guess that means the benefit, at least for me, was about $10,000 (half a year's tuition).

The only cautionary tale I have is that I got a 5 on AP Bio. They gave me 4 credits for a general science class but I still had to take bio or an equivalent (something with a lab component) because they couldn't be sure I'd gotten lab experience with the class. (I mean, never mind that we went to Northwestern and played around with DNA, but whatever.)

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Posted: 2/2/2013 12:23:01 AM
"It isn't an option at our school. Students have to take it. "

How can the make the kids? Those tests cost. Does the school pay for them. I know several kids in AP classes that may not be able to test due to the fees


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Posted: 2/2/2013 12:58:00 AM
our schools have funds to pay for ap exams for low income students. money doesn't hold them back.

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Posted: 2/2/2013 2:03:30 AM
The 2013 exams will be $89 each. Some schools pay; some schools don't. My kid is taking Physics C this year, and the test is subscored into two tests (Mechanics and Electricity/Magnetism), so he'll have to pay $178 for that one exam! Calc BC is subscored, too, but that one will be the regular fee.

The testing fees stack up, but if the student does well on the exams, there is the potential of significant savings on future college tuition. I read a statistic that over 90% of four-year universities offer credit for AP exams. The required score for credit varies from institution to institution, and not all courses are eligible. A 3 is generally the minimum score for credit, but some schools require a 4 or 5. With a lot of subjects, credit will depend on the score. A 5 on the AP Spanish Lang test, for example, might earn 12 credits; 8 credits for a 4; and 4 credits for a score of 3. Yes, some highly-ranked schools accept AP credits--Princeton, Stanford, and MIT all award credit for AP exams.

Kids who take a lot of AP classes usually find that they can't use all of their credits, but the AP experience, in my opinion, still has value. A kid who takes Human Geo in 9th grade, then WHAP (World History AP), APUSH (AP US History), and European History could end up with 21 college credits in history, but engineer majors don't need that many history credits or even that many elective credits. A history major, conversely, would not need all of the credits he could amass with AP Bio, Chem, and Physics.

When my kid was looking at colleges, he made a spreadsheet with the AP credits each institution would accept. While it was not the primary factor in choosing a school, it did play a role. The generous AP policies at some of the schools would cut a year or more off of his schooling or open up opportunities for double majors and/or a five-year plan for a Masters degree.

Concurrent-enrollment courses can also be a good thing. The credits are generally easy to transfer, especially to other state schools, but we have found that they are not nearly as rigorous as AP classes. AP scores are pretty objective where an A in a concurrent-enrollment course can be very subjective.

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Posted: 2/2/2013 2:44:35 AM
Our school does not require you to take the test. It is $89 and they have some scholarships available. We start tests this month though. I thought that was a bit early.



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Posted: 2/2/2013 6:09:48 AM


our schools have funds to pay for ap exams for low income students. money doesn't hold them back.



Yep. They'll cover it if you need. My district is pretty wealthy - I'd be surprised if they had to do that all that much.



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Posted: 2/2/2013 6:17:55 AM
My kids' school also requires all AP students to take the exam. I think those classes don't have a separate final exam. Not sure though, I guess I should ask dd. lol.

And, the school pays for everyone's exams.




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Posted: 2/2/2013 10:51:10 AM
You didn't have to take the exam at DS's school, and that's because the school didn't pick up the cost. They are expensive. Around $90 each. That's a significant chunk of change if your kid has 2 or 3 AP classes.


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Posted: 2/2/2013 12:00:21 PM
I teach AP English Language and Comp. I have nothing to add beyond what good advice people have already given, but I wanted to address this:


We start tests this month though. I thought that was a bit early.


It is early. The AP tests aren't offered until May. Everyone takes them the same day around the world for test security reasons. Signups should be starting soon, though.

Good luck to everyone with children (and students) taking tests!


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Posted: 2/2/2013 12:52:28 PM
My DD is in an accelerated academic program at her school so the AP classes are required. She has 4 this year (she is a junior). They are required to take the AP exams (which we do not pay for ourselves) and they do not count for her final exams.

The advantages? She can potentially earn college credit for work she is doing now. But I think there is an advantage just in her learning the rigor and pace of the course in preparation for college. I tell her that if she gets the college credit too, that is just a nice bonus.

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Posted: 2/2/2013 12:52:46 PM

Yes, some highly-ranked schools accept AP credits--Princeton, Stanford, and MIT all award credit for AP exams.


This is not true. Ivy League colleges do not give any college credit for taking AP courses in high school and testing a 4 or 5 on those AP exams. They may have you test out of the introductory class at their school to move up but you still have to take the classes at their college for the college credit. They will not give college credit for the requirements at the college. My son is in an ivy league college and we also visited others, Princeton being one, that was the same as the others. But if you don't take AP courses and test well on them in high school,(if they are offered at your high school) you would not even be considered for acceptance at Ivy league schools.


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Posted: 2/2/2013 12:59:01 PM

I think the exams are 84 this year and I don't know of a HS where you do not have to sit for the exam if you take the AP class. I am sure it may happen, I am not aware of it, personally.



It is optional at our school. I think it would be impossible here for a public school to force the kids to take a test that costs that much, even though our district is fairly well off. OLder DS took two AP classes and didn't test for either of them. They wouldn't have helped enough. Younger DS only took one (APUSH) and did well enough to start off with 6 credits.

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Posted: 2/2/2013 1:00:12 PM
Jennifer-you're right, my mistake. Registration starts this month. I had initially heard it was May so I don't know how I got my dates confused.



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Posted: 2/2/2013 1:39:57 PM
As others have said, it's great to be able to get college credit &/or placement after taking AP exams. Both of my daughters have benefitted from this. While taking the exam is not required, our school district weights the grade in the AP class ONLY if the student takes the AP exam. Otherwise, it's just a regular grade.

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Posted: 2/2/2013 1:54:04 PM

This is not true. Ivy League colleges do not give any college credit for taking AP courses in high school and testing a 4 or 5 on those AP exams. They may have you test out of the introductory class at their school to move up but you still have to take the classes at their college for the college credit. They will not give college credit for the requirements at the college. My son is in an ivy league college and we also visited others, Princeton being one, that was the same as the others.

Yes, the three colleges I listed offer CREDIT for AP exams, assuming the students do well enough. At Princeton, a student cannot retake Princeton's version of a course and then expect to receive credit for both the AP exam and course. Here is its website:

PRINCETON

And websites for Stanford and MIT:

STANFORD
MIT

Because I am a dork, and because I like original sources, I looked up the policies at all 8 Ivy League schools. Here's what I found:

Brown offers credit for a limited number of AP tests, but a student must still complete a certain number of credits at Brown for graduation; the AP credits are noted on the student's transcript. While this does not necessarily speed up graduation, it opens up opportunities for more advanced coursework and/or double majors.

BROWN

Here's Columbia's policy for awarding credit:

COLUMBIA

And the requisites for credit at Cornell:

CORNELL

AP credit at Penn:

PENN

And Yale:

YALE

Dartmouth will no longer accept AP credits starting with the class of 2018, but students entering in the Fall of 2013 are still eligible to receive credit for AP exams. Even after Dartmouth's policy change, three-quarters of Ivy League schools will grant credit for AP courses.

DARTMOUTH

Harvard does not accept AP credit or any credits from a student's high-school course work, even if those credits were issued from a four-year university.

HARVARD

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Posted: 2/2/2013 2:09:04 PM
That requirement at Princeton is very open to interpretation. Be very careful trying to use AP class credit at these particular colleges. They will NOT count toward college credit if you go on to medical school, law school, etc. You must take the classes as an undergradute that those schools. If you just go to get out with a four year degree and say you graduated, apparently Princeton does that. Different for sure. Most Ivy league schools do not accept your AP high school class toward their college degree. (We looked into this aspect of schools in this caliber, my son goes to one)


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Posted: 2/2/2013 2:12:27 PM
But I forgot to say. I do appreciate you looking up the specifics. I forgot about lots of those schools. Interesting read though. You can find it difficult to make it work at those schools though, if you plan to go on. My son would not be accepted to most medical schools in the US if he did not take the introductory courses at his particular college, and not his high school. He would not limit himself so early on in the game and re taking some of these has given him the advantage of a 4.0 for his first semester of freshman year. That's a plus!


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Posted: 2/2/2013 2:29:05 PM
My DDs' HS does not require that kids take the AP test. One year the school paid for half of the testing fee (full price for those that met income guidelines). The next year they got a grant and paid for all the tests. The school also paid part of the ACT tests that year. Not sure what they are doing this year.

One of my girls took 1 AP class (Euro) and the other took 5 plus one CIS class.my youngest didn't take the test. She struggled some and didn't feel ready to take it. Oldest got credit for 4 classes at her university. She had to get a 4 or 5 to receive credit. One class didn't count due to not getting 4 or above. The school did not give her credit for AP Lang but instead gave her credit for her CIS English class. This is her 2nd semester in college and she is a sophomore. With the courses she took this fall, most of her general Ed requirements are complete. She only has 3 left. With careful planning, she can graduate in 3.5 years. Her school with room & board is $46K per year. She gets a but more than half in scholarships. She could either save us $12K or be able to double major.


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Posted: 2/2/2013 2:32:06 PM
I taught AP Chemistry for several years, the test with the highest number of participants (at that time) and the lowest pass rate. It was a fun class to teach!

The true value of AP classes is students become accustomed to academic rigor in High School. The curriculum is guided by the College Board, and in lab classes there are suggested labs.

In general the research has shown taking an AP course will improve the chance that a student with graduate from college.

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Posted: 2/2/2013 3:26:20 PM
I had someone tell me recently that her college DD's thought AP was harder than college.



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Posted: 2/3/2013 12:15:16 AM
Before you drop the $$ on the exams, find out the % of students from your school getting 4s or 5s. You will be shocked by the number. Also, colleges look at rigor, but basic merit awards are calculated on an unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT scores, and class rank. That's it, simple math.
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Posted: 2/3/2013 12:24:13 AM
My son is a 9 months post college grad. In his junior and senior years of high school he took and passed with 5's 11 AP classes. His university accepted all of the test scores, which allowed him the opportunity to take a number of "elective" courses in college. He took most, of not all of them, as English courses. He didn't have to take a single math class in college. As good as he was in math in high school, he hated the subject!


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Posted: 2/3/2013 1:41:29 AM
I took AP classes in high school and never took the exams (I've always been a horrible test taker)

Those ap classes were so much harder than any college class I ever took in 4 years of undergrad and 2 years of grad school.


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Posted: 2/3/2013 10:15:16 AM
At my kids' HS, the AP test is mandatory for almost all of the AP courses. There are a few exceptions, including AP language classes. My D was required to take the test for every AP class she took, and the school does NOT pay the testing fee. The AP exam was not the final for the class, because the scores don't come back in time, so there was always either a separate final or a final project. If a student didn't take the AP exam, they didn't get the GPA weighting for the course (an extra 0.5).

If that wasn't enough reason, college credit is. The school my D attends gave her credit for all of her AP courses. Colleges vary on what they'll accept. Some don't accept any AP credit, others require differing scores. My D had 4's and 5's and I think her college required 3's in some courses and 4's in others (although they did discourage kids from using 3's in some courses). We were confident that D would score well on the AP tests because over 90% of the kids who take AP exams at her HS pass them, and over 70% pass with 4's and 5's.

Between AP credit, a couple community college summer courses and some CLEP credit, my D started college with 45 credits (and she has friends who started with even more). This allows her to double major, add a minor and possibly get her masters within her 4 years at her university. Well worth the testing fee and a few hours of testing anxiety.

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Posted: 2/3/2013 4:05:23 PM
I was happy to pay the $$ for my 20yo dd's exams when she was in h.s.

She took english, chem, and world history. Less to do in college!

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Posted: 2/3/2013 5:01:02 PM
Ok, this meme of AP classes being harder than college classes -

Not all college classes are equal.

I have AP students taking classes at County. They say their AP classes are harder than their CC classes. Good.

Are AP classes harder than at a Ivy or "public-Ivy"? Nope.


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Posted: 2/3/2013 5:18:36 PM
Dissenting opinion here.

My daughter AP'd out of some college English and History courses, among them the required frosh composition class. Pesonally, I thought her writing was not at a level that warranted skipping the ONLY required writing class in college, so I encouraged her to take it anyway, but her adviser talked her out of it.

Now I read some stuff she writes and wistfully think, "Oh, if only she hadn't scored well on that AP test..."


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Posted: 2/3/2013 6:38:43 PM

There was a thread not that long ago about this.

What it did for my DD, is allow her to dual major & still finish in 4 years. She's a Biomedical Engineer. Pre-Med student, having many of the basic courses out of the way has really helped her.

My guess is she will go on to medical school, so she won't be finished in 4 years anyway, but it's opened things up for her.


My absolute best advice, look at the colleges your child is interested in & see what scores they accept to give credit. That can really help make the decision to take the tests. A lot of the upper colleges will only award credit for 5's on the test.

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Posted: 2/3/2013 8:01:26 PM

if you don't take AP courses and test well on them in high school,(if they are offered at your high school) you would not even be considered for acceptance at Ivy league schools.
This. Without AP's and high AP test scores you can forget going to a top tier college.

They recommend that you retake math or anything that builds on itself. My son had 5s in Calculus and had taken calc 3 but when he hit a patch that he hadn't had in high school he had to drop calc 2 and take calc 1.


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