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Seniors shouldn’t opt out of AP Exams

By Chloe ’12

It’s a new year, and change is all around us, at School and around the country. We have a revamped schedule to go with the new semester. The election approaches and citizens are Occupying cities around the globe. With this spirit in mind, I’ve heard a lot of talk about the AP college credit system and whether or not it works anymore. Even though it was original­ly set up as a way to gain college credit before entering your freshman year, it’s become more about having the difficult classes to boast about on your transcript. AP classes are practically a requirement for students who want to be taken seriously by top-level colleges. That being said, it may be a while before the system itself can be reformed or broken down. Some schools, such as Crossroads, have eliminated APs entirely, but I don’t see Marlborough doing that anytime soon. As a result, some have suggested a quick-fix: final AP exams should be optional, especially for seniors. I disagree with this solution.

Perhaps the AP system is broken and has strayed from its original intent. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone should jump ship. The rumblings I’ve heard about doing away with AP tests have certainly not been unwarranted; many of the top universities that so many of us apply to don’t even accept AP scores in exchange for class credit. While the thought that we could avoid the stress of studying for the APs in May is certainly a nice one, I just don’t get the point of avoiding the test alto­gether.

I’ll admit, bypassing the AP Euro exam would have saved me a lot of stress and hours of sleep last year, and it was surely an attractive option to me the night before the test. But by the time I got my results in the mail, I was happy with my scores and was not surprised I received the score that I did, because, gee, I don’t know, I had spent an entire year studying for the exam. When I hear that some seniors would choose to not take their APs, I want to know: would you spend a year training for a marathon, only to decide not to run it simply because you don’t think you’ll win? No. I think the same goes for AP tests. Why spend a year learning material for a class, which in theory is preparing you for the test, if you’re not go­ing to take the test? Seems like a waste of time to me.