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Do You Have to Take the AP Exam if You Take an AP Course?
If you struggled in an AP class, you may be wondering if you have to take the AP exam afterwards. Well, the short answer is, no. But before you make your decision, you should know that you don’t have much to lose in taking an AP exam. It may be worth taking the exam just to see how you do. To help you make your decision, we’ll go into the pros and cons of each choice in this article.
Also read: What happens if I fail an AP exam?
What happens if you don’t take the AP exam?
If you don’t take an exam, you usually won’t face any consequences. Some AP teachers offer extra credit to incentivize students to take the exam, so you may miss out on that. Make sure to check with your AP teacher as some schools might have a rule about taking the exam if you took the class.
Many students take AP courses without taking the exam for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the test was too expensive, or they couldn’t make the exam date. It could also be because none of their potential colleges accept AP credits.
Either way, colleges will not look down on you for abstaining from taking the exam. Since you won’t have any exam scores, nothing will be sent to your prospective colleges.
Possible advantages of taking the exam
Although there are no consequences from skipping the exam, you might be missing out on some opportunities. The first and most obvious advantage is the college credit.
Although many colleges are highly selective about AP results, or don’t accept them at all, some still will give you credit. This means that you could set yourself on a course to graduate early or make it easier for yourself down the line to double major or switch majors altogether.
Additionally, a strong AP score can make your college application more attractive. AP scores are far from the most important factor that colleges look at, but they can still speak to your ability to balance responsibilities and perform in class. You shouldn’t weigh this opportunity too heavily, but it is one to consider.
Good reasons not to take an AP exam
Now that you know the possible advantages of taking the exam, let’s go over reasons not to take it. As with most things, it comes down to a question of setting your priorities. In general, your grades are more important than your AP scores.
AP tests come around the beginning of May, which could be crunch time for some students. If your AP test falls on the weekend before a huge final or due date, and you don’t think you’ll pass the exam, it may be a better idea to spend your time studying for your final.
Additionally, the cost of AP exams may deter you from taking them. Especially if it seems unlikely that you’ll pass the test, it could make sense to skip out on it. If this is an issue, we recommend looking into reduced cost test vouchers. While these might not make them affordable for everyone, they might convince you to try the test out.
But remember, being scared of hurting your college chances should not be a reason to abstain from the exam! You don’t have to send your AP results to colleges if you choose not to.
As you begin to apply to colleges, make sure to check out our other resources! We can help you decide when to start applying to schools and how to pick a major. If you need help finding a financial safety school or figuring out when to take the SAT, we’ve got you. Good luck!
Don’t miss: Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool
Frequently asked questions about AP exams
Can I take an AP exam if I haven’t taken the class?
What happens if I fail an AP exam?
What’s a passing score on an AP exam?
Does your AP exam score affect your overall GPA?
Is the AP exam harder than the SAT/ACT?
Can I retake an AP exam?