Okay, seriously. Stop. Please, step back from that Barrons test prep book for a minute. Stop losing sleep over some tests that don’t matter as much as you think. What tests? You might be wondering. What tests? Why, AP exams, of course. I’m here to tell you why they don’t matter as much as you think they do in the long run, and why you really need to stop freaking out about them so much.
1. You don’t even know if your future college will accept them. Unless you’re a senior, you may not have any idea if the college you attend will even want to see your AP exam scores. They might not give you any credit, or they might only allow you to place into a higher level of the subject. This can be useful, but it’s certainly not the end-all-be-all of your college career.
2. Even if you don’t do well, taking an intro class again can be beneficial. I, for instance, took the AP Biology exam my sophomore year of high school and received a 4. I’ve since found out that my college only takes credit for a 5. When I saw that on their website, I was actually relieved. Why? Because I might want to major in biology, and I wouldn’t want the foundation of my degree to be based off of the superficial material that I crammed into my brain when I was 15 years old. So even if you do end up getting credit, it might be to your benefit to take the class again. And even if you don’t get credit, it’s no big deal.
3. Do you even need that class? I took AP Environmental Science because I want to minor in environmental science. For me, that credit will be useful. But I know TONS of kids who took APES and have no intention of ever taking another environmental science class. They literally do not need that credit for anything, but they wasted lots of time studying for it. Don’t be that kid.
4. You should (probably) already be well prepared. Actually though. Especially for foreign language classes and more conceptual AP’s, you should already have a good amount of knowledge stored up in your head. Of course, you might have a really bad teacher, and in that case you might need to study more. Or you might have played Words With Friends all year long, and then you’ll probably want to pull out that AP Government review book. But otherwise, it really shouldn’t be too bad.
5. Think about all those kids who don’t even care at all. Obviously, you care. Otherwise, I doubt that you would be reading this article right now. Remember that AP exams are graded on some sort of magic College Board curve. So if everyone else does terribly, you’re probably going to be all right. And every year, lots of people do terribly. Even if you think an exam is hard, I bet there are lots of other people who think that it was harder. By even cracking open a test prep book you are proving that you do care, and that you’re going to be okay.
6. AP scores are only a small factor in college admissions. It shows initiative that you even took AP classes to begin with. AP classes on a transcript show that you have already gone above and beyond to excel in your high school career. A couple of low scores are not going to ruin your chances of getting into your dream college; admissions readers know that sometimes kids have a bad day. If you did well in the class, they know that you’ve gone through a year of AP work, and they appreciate that.
Convinced? I hope so. Next May, go out and enjoy the sunshine a little bit, and don’t worry so much about your AP’s.