AP Exams Are Back In Person

Students will take AP Exams in person again this year, unlike last year when the tests were administered remotely.

College Board

Students will take AP Exams in person again this year, unlike last year when the tests were administered remotely.

Chinel Okoye, Staff Writer

   The College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) exams have been around for longer than you think. These exams became popularized in the mid 1950’s when the College Board decided to publicize the test and release it to high school and college students. These exams are offered within the United States at the culmination of a year-long AP course. Courses range anywhere from English to advanced biology, with a wide selection for many students to choose from.

   In the midst of the Cold War, American policymakers started to fear that high school in the U.S. wasn’t adequately preparing students for college and for life after college. In response to this, the Ford Foundation created the Fund for the Advancement of Education (FAE) in 1951, according to Prep Scholar. The FAE began initial investigations with university students that included examining the records of graduates from elite preparatory schools. These schools included Yale, Princeton and Harvard. Records showed that most students were repeating things that they learned in high school. This resulted in a suggestion that more advanced high school students should be allowed “advanced placement” in college coursework based on exam results. 

   Another parallel FAE project was also working on implementing introductory college level curricula into high schools. With the help of both studies, 27 schools began to administer the first AP exams in 1954, and with outstanding performances, 10 national exams were released in 1956.

   The fees for AP exams have changed tremendously since the first tests were released in the 1950’s. Back then, tests were offered at the small fee of $10. Since then, prices have increased to anywhere from $90 to over $120 per exam. In 2015, the price for each exam rose to $91, but financial aid was made available to students for a 26-28% discount.   This year, most AP exams are $96. For exams everywhere else–typically centers outside of the U.S.–the price for each exam is $126. For AP Capstone exams–AP Seminar and Research–each exam is $144. If you are eligible, the College Board offers a reduction of $34 per exam. The usual submission date to sign up for the test is mid November. Late fees after the submission deadline are $40 for each exam. Late testing fees are applicable for alternate exams for late testing. In certain counties, financial aid is also made available to students who are eligible, which decrease the price of the test, in addition to the $34 that the College Board takes off. 

   DHS’s college expert and advisor Nicole Burkhalter talked briefly about the exams and how things such as the price have changed over the years. 

   “I think the AP exams are worth it if the student is going to put in 100% into the class and into studying for the exam because if you take the exam and get a 4 or a 5, or even a 3, some schools will accept it as college credit,” Burkhalter said. 

   Traditionally, AP Exams have been administered in person and on paper, but since last year students have the option of taking exams digitally and remotely.   

   Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the way that AP exams are given has changed drastically from being proctored in person to proctored online, and in person again. One of the biggest changes from being proctored in person to online was the way the test was administered. On the digital version for the 2020 and 2021 exams, students weren’t allowed to go back and forth between questions, making it more difficult for students. On the other hand, taking the test on paper in person allows students to go back and forth between questions as they pleased. 

   “I think that this class’ generation is still very accustomed to taking [AP] exams in person, so taking it at home, in your house or in your room online, I don’t think that’s a good testing environment, and many weren’t used to it,” Burkhalter said. “A lot of students also have access to cheating when the test is online.” 

   Though there have been many changes such as the price, there have been some things that remained the same for AP exams, such as scoring. Scores range from 1-5, with a 5 being the highest score. 

   Some of the most popular top 100 schools that accept AP exam scores, including the University of Maryland, Colorado State University, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tulane, University of Alabama, University of Los Angeles, University of Miami, Virginia Tech, Boston University and more.