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AP exams are still seven months away. Students are still learning to navigate their AP classes. Even so, College Board moved the window for registration from February to the end of October 21 to November 1–and this new registration window is causing considerable stress for Schaumburg students.
College Board spokeswoman Amanda Ingersoll said, “More than half of all AP schools offer some form of fall registration. And, in these schools, students are more engaged and less likely to give up — and as a result they’re more likely to earn a score that will translate to college credit.”
The logic behind her statement is simple. If students are registered for the exam, they are more likely to stay focused and put in the necessary effort. Essentially, students have something to inspire learning and have something to lose if they don’t learn necessary skills and information.
The College Board obviously has the best intentions for the students, but the earlier registration times for AP exams presents a number of problems for prospective test takers.
Pushing up the deadline increases the stress of paying exam fees and possible cancellation fees. Taking an AP exam in itself is quite expensive—an average of $94 for most tests and an even greater amount for courses such as AP Seminar and AP Research.
Under the new system, if a student has a change of heart after registering for an AP Exam, the cancellation fee for these exams is $40. The fee in previous years was $15. Couple this with the fact that test registration fees now coincide with college application fees, many students are required to pay over $1000. This combination raises concerns, especially for low-income students taking AP classes.
“Registering and paying for exams at the same time as early action college application deadlines was just a lot of money,” Cedric Mathew stated. “For six and exams and four applications, I had to pay over $800.
Concerns over registration present issues over more than money. Students are now forced to decide much sooner if they will be taking an end-of-course exam. It creates pressure and a sense of urgency for the student who might not even be sure if they would like to continue the class they are enrolled in through the second semester. Registering prior to fully understanding course curricula and exam expectations requires a leap of faith, not an educated decision.
“Last year when we were registering, we had already finished most course material, so we were more aware of how we were going to do, ” Sophomore Kate McKinney said.
AP students can hope for a change in the registration for future exams, but College Board show no signs of accommodating student demands.