Advanced Placement

Deciding Whether to Commit to AP Exams Senior Year?

Senior year is one that you’ll remember forever. It’s full of schoolwork, social events, celebrations, and planning for life after graduation. You’ve worked hard and are eager to start your future. That may mean you’re preparing for college.

If you’re applying to college in the fall, you may find out about admissions as soon as December and will likely commit to a school by mid-spring. It can be challenging to keep your focus on finishing high school, while actively planning your next steps.

While every student and situation is different, there are some common reasons why seniors may question whether to commit this fall to taking their AP Exam(s) in the spring:


1. I’m too busy.

Senior year can be very, very busy. Life in college and beyond can be just as busy, so learning how to manage your time is key. Stay on top of coursework by making a plan and using free resources in AP Classroom. The best ways to prepare for an AP Exam are participating in your AP classes and completing all assignments from your teacher. Taking AP Exams now can give you more time later. If you earn credit, you’ll have flexibility to change majors, pursue a second degree, study abroad, seek internships, or even graduate college early.  


2. My AP classes aren’t relevant to my intended college major.

While a course may not be directly tied to your major, there are still good reasons to take your exams.  Earning credit or advancement placement may let you skip introductory courses or required general education courses, giving you time to focus on your major and courses that interest you, sooner.


3. The college I’m attending doesn’t grant credit for particular AP Exams.

While most schools do grant credit, advanced placement, or both for AP Exams, schools’ policies are all a bit different. Use our AP Credit Policy Search tool to determine what scores your school will accept for individual courses.

Beyond earning credit, taking your AP Exam can help you feel more prepared as you begin your college experience. Research shows that students who take AP courses and exams have better college outcomes than their peers.


4. I’m not sure I’ll score high enough to earn credit.

Two out of three AP students start college with some AP credit. No matter your score, preparing for and taking your AP Exam sharpens the skills you need to transition from high school to college.  A recent survey showed that 90% of college freshman who earned a 2 said they are doing well or very well in college courses that cover similar content.  

Still not sure? Review these other reasons to commit.