An Argument For Taking Regents or Advanced Placement Exams, Not Both

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Johan Wichterle

Kyle Catry ’20 (left) works diligently with his partners on an A.P. Physics lab assignment, which will help to prepare him for both the Advanced Placement exam and the Regents exam in this subject area.

Diligent students sit in silence in the Bronx Science library. Textbooks in hand, they are running on a few hours of sleep, as they face a difficult task before them: standardized testing day. 

For many students, taking standardized tests is a yearly ritual, as students in Advanced Placement classes are tasked with the challenge of taking their Advanced Placement tests, along with their corresponding Regents exam in the same subjects, during the months of May and June each year.

With so many students across the nation stressing over their potential college options, Advanced Placement class participation rate has skyrocketed in recent years, as colleges like to see these challenging A.P. classes on students’ transcripts.

For one student, Kyle Catry ’20, the long path to these A.P. and Regents exams has proven to be challenging. Because his schedule consists of four Advanced Placement courses, the pressure is on for him to maintain high grades in theses A.P. classes as well as in the rest of his classes. Like many students, he is reminded by his guidance counselor, teachers, and fellow classmates that junior year is an essential one for college applications. “Taking both the A.P. and Regents tests for all of these subjects adds unnecessary stress,” Catry said.        

With so many students across the nation stressing over their potential college options, Advanced Placement class participation rate has skyrocketed in recent years, as colleges like to see these challenging A.P. classes on students’ transcripts. The completion of Regents examinations in New York State has remained high, as passing Regents Exams is a requirement for high school graduation in New York State. Currently, students in A.P. classes still need to take Regents exams in the same subject as well. 

While the New York State Education Department (NYSED) has made it possible to substitute high school students’ Regents exam requirements for Advanced Placement or SAT(2) subject testing, the process is not easy. For most subjects, there is a required score of over 500 on the SAT(2) subject tests and around a 3 or 4 on the Advanced Placement tests that a students needs to get, in order to substitute either test for the Regents testing in the same subject.

This substitution process becomes even more arduous in some subjects, such as in U.S. History, as “students must complete a multi-source, in-depth research project that demonstrates the ability to use primary and secondary sources,” as stated by the NYSED on their requirements for department-approved alternative examinations web page.

Many people would say that this whole testing issue is just something students have to go through, but one could make a strong argument that taking both of these tests is unnecessary and that a better system could be devised for allowing one test to serve as an indicator of knowledge learned in a given subject area.

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