College Board is Changing, and Not for the Better


Molly Duke, Editor-In-Chief

In the previous issue of The Chronicle, staff member Bailey Flanagan discussed the toxic nature of Advanced Placement (AP). Whether it be the sleepless nights, the pressure to perform, or the cheating that goes on behind the backs of teachers, it’s no secret that the monster of AP is imperfect. However, there’s one aspect of AP that hasn’t been discussed yet: AP Exams.

If you’re enrolled in an AP course, you’re aware of the new deadlines this year. AP Exam registration was required by November 4th, while in previous years the deadline was around January. The change led to a lot of confusion among students, and not a lot of answers were given. To justify the new deadline, College Board boasted of an increase in scores through their pilot program, specifically the scores of those “underrepresented in AP.” 

Despite the positive claims College Board announced, many students, including myself, feel unprepared to commit to an exam so early in the school year. Students have been in classes for less than two months at the time of registration, barely a quarter of the way into the school year. Students are expected to gauge whether or not they’re good at the material, and whether or not they should commit $98 to an exam. Olathe North is typically recognized as being less financially able than other schools, so to require registration months in advance is already putting students at a disadvantage.

Something commonly glossed over when students enroll for AP Exams is what they actually contain. You might be taking the Calculus BC exam, but the test combines Calculus AB and Calculus BC. So, your two semesters of a class may not even compare to the amount of content you’re expected to know in the exam. Many students who are enrolled in these intensive courses are also taking multiple AP Exams. Junior Sarah Montes is taking four AP Exams this year.

“I think AP Exams are useful to the extent that they show what we learn from class, but they’re stressful to the students because they expect us to learn several college level courses depending upon what AP Exams we’re taking,” Montes commented.

Some students at Olathe North have claimed the new deadline is just a “money-grab”, an attempt by the college board to secure more money from students. That being said, it is important to recognize the fact that the College Board declares themselves as a non-profit organization. However, the College Board seems to be a very profitable non-profit. With an annual revenue of over 750 million dollars, it’s hard to see how the College Board manages to get away with their “non-profit” claim. The deficit between revenue and money spent has a gaping hole in it, so where is that extra money going besides in their pockets? 

The College Board has repeatedly shown that it cares more about it’s monetary gain than the student it’s services go to. From rising costs of AP exams, reduced decision time on exams, and overall leaving students unprepared for the weight of the exam, many students, including myself, are slowly finding themselves less willing to sign up for AP Exams.

Even if you score well on an AP Exam, you run the risk of not being able to use those credits towards your college career. Many colleges discourage students from taking AP exams that directly correlate with their major, as they prefer students to take those courses during college so they can be taught in the style of future courses. Additionally, this information is hard to access until you’ve enrolled in college, so the odds of not being able to use the college credit you paid hundreds of dollars for are higher than you’d probably like to hear. So why are students still signing up for every AP Exam they can get their hands on?

It’s easy to try and deny the influence the College Board has on our society, but the more you look into it, the more the issue reveals itself. Personally, I took AP classes to have the prestigious “AP” on my transcript, and to earn college credit for high school courses. However, one of the things the college board doesn’t like to mention is the schools that don’t accept AP Exam credit. Many students who strive to do well in schools and strive to be the top of the class want to apply to upper level colleges and Ivy League. Additionally, colleges such as Harvard and Yale tend to only accept scores of 5, which is extremely hard to achieve. In the end, students will pay $98 to try and get a score less than 20% of students achieve.

Overall, you can argue that there are pros and cons to the AP Exam. It may save you money in the long run, but between early registration and high Ivy-League standards it’s more of a gamble than anything. So before you fork out that $392, think about whether or not it’s worth it.