Advanced Placement, Advanced Registration


Michael Ho

Tejpal (Phillip) Ramdas ’19 reads the Advanced Placement Bulletin packet for more information on the upcoming A.P. exams.

The time of year has come: Advanced Placement registration, the warning to students that the formidable A.P. exams are drawing near.

However, starting with the 2019-2020 academic year, this will not be the case as the Advanced Placement test registration has been moved ahead five months, from March 2020 to the start of the school year, November 15th, 2019. Instead of having nearly the whole school year to determine whether or not they will take any A.P. exams, students instead will be required to decide within a few months into the new school year.

The College Board has provided many reasons for this drastic change. In a self-run pilot study, moving the registration deadline to the start of the A.P. course benefits both students and teachers. It found that students are more likely to get above a three on the A.P. test and teachers see better engagement if the student registers for the exam early. In addition, the College Board ran a pilot program which revealed to them that a greater number of low-income and minority students registered for A.P. exams if they were asked to do so earlier in the academic year, an important initiative for the College Board.

“I don’t begrudge any students who decides not to take it if they know that their college would definitely not give them credit,” said Mr. Noody.

Despite having positive results, moving the registration is not especially welcomed by many students. For example, seniors typically wait until after they receive their college acceptance letters to register, as they prefer to know what exams their college accepts. This will be a challenge since in November they will not yet know what colleges they have been accepted into.

“The change to register for A.P. exams in the beginning of the school year is unwise,” said Samiu Cheng ’20. “Many students may not decide to take the A.P. exam so early, and the exams are not cheap.” Cheng encapsulates the opinions of many students who feel that they need to be prepared before they even consider spending over ninety dollars for the test.

“The first problem that will be immediately clear to all of the seniors is that not all colleges accept all A.P. credits,” said Will Chen ’19. “Certain colleges may have restrictions on what course credits they accept and how those credits allow one to advance in their classes.”

Students are not the only ones speaking out against this move. Mr. Noody, an A.P. Economics teacher said, “While it might make economic sense for the College Board to move up the registration as it would result in more fees being collected upfront, I don’t think it is necessarily in the best interest of senior students. While the vast majority of my students take the A.P. exam and do well, I don’t begrudge any students who decides not to take it if they know that their college would definitely not give them credit.”

With the new registration, there are also new fees. There will be an additional fee of forty-dollars for each exam that is registered past the fall deadline. Additionally, there will be another forty-dollar fee for a test that is ordered but not taken. Students taking classes such as A.P. Physics C and A.P. Economics will have to pay twice if they wish to cancel their tests. The A.P. Physics C is a combination of A.P. Physics C: Mechanics and A.P. Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism. In A.P. Economics, students are taking both A.P. Microeconomics and A.P. Macroeconomics. These fees are used as deterrents by the College Board to ensure that students commit to the course and the exam. The only fee that remains unchanged is the base fee of ninety-four dollars per test.

Students will have to wait until next year to see if this change has a positive effect on their A.P. scores, as the College Board has argued in their justification for this move in the change of date of A.P. Exam registration.