Does it Make Sense to Buy AP Tests Early?


Fall is the perfect time for becoming familiar with your classes, not paying for AP tests. That should be reserved for second semester when you are able to make a more informed decision.

If this is your first year of taking an AP test, then I am sorry because you missed out on experiencing the right time to purchase exams. This year everyone had to pay for exams by Nov. 8 when no one was ready to do so, which only led to more stress for AP students. But, don’t worry. You can always order after this date when you are actually prepared to do so for a small fee of $40. No big deal right?

After all, you don’t really know what you are signing up for because you are yet to experience the class to its full extent. You also don’t even know half of the material that you need to cover. With this little amount of information, no way are you ready to decide whether to take the AP exam or not.

Imagine you are only able to take one exam. Do you take language arts or history one? You have always done well in history so might as well try the AP US history exam. Half way through the year, you suddenly can no longer recall who George Washington was but you know how to write perfect essays. Unfortunately, you can not change your mind because of this new system and if you decided to no longer take the history exam, it looks like you will simply be paying additional money.

Or what about this? Early in the year, you have no idea why you even signed up for a certain class because you don’t even know what you are supposed to be learning. If you are completely lost, then you are likely to assume that you won’t pass the AP test. Naturally, if you are at that point then you probably don’t want to waste $94 only to spend a few hours taking a test that will not earn you college credit. However, around December it starts to finally make sense, and by February, this class is one of the easiest for you. Well, here is the problem, you already decided not to purchase the exam when it was time to do so.

College Board believes that paying for AP tests sooner will “motivate” students to perform better in their classes in order to prepare for the exam. This is a nice thought, but honestly, are you really going to be more motivated than before to do better now that you are paying money up front? I am willing to bet that most of you said “no.” This is likely because one of the previously mentioned scenarios or procrastination is your best friend.

Either way, paying for AP tests sooner doesn’t seem to have that desired “motivating” effect. Typically, paying for AP exams serves as a reminder that the test is coming soon. That is probably a more motivating factor when it comes to studying.