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Understanding AP Exams Amidst Return of Standardized Testing

In a surprising turn of events, Dartmouth College made headlines this week by announcing the reinstatement of its requirement for applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. And prestigious institutions such as MIT and Georgetown are also following a similar trend.

Adding to the conversation, Yale University recently announced its “Test-Flexible Policy” for applicants starting in fall 2025. Under this policy, applicants can choose to submit scores from a variety of standardized tests, including the ACT, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and SAT.

While some applauded the elimination of standardized testing requirements during the COVID-19 epidemic peak, critics claim that SAT/ACT mandates aggravate disparities, benefiting the privileged, whilst advocates believe that scores provide vital insights, assisting complete admissions procedures.

However, you must grasp the essentials of APs, including what they entail and how they function.

Charushilla Narula, Founder Director & Key Mentor at University Connection, and an advocate for streamlining the path for students pursuing admission to their desired colleges, emphasizes that:

“The SAT exam has been used to evaluate academic readiness for the longest time. The idea that top universities are choosing to bring it back into the application assessment pool seems like a sign; it’s only a matter of time when most universities reinstate its importance in the application matrix.”

While you might be wondering, “What exactly are APs?”, “How do I join this AP party?”, and “Why should I give them?”, rest assured, we’ve got you covered. 🙂

Let’s Understand APs: What Are They?

Advanced Placement courses are college-level classes offered in high school. Developed by the College Board, these courses cover a wide range of subjects, from mathematics and science to the humanities and languages. Most AP courses have an end-of-year exam, but a few courses have different ways to assess what you’ve learned—for example, AP Art and Design students submit a portfolio of work for scoring.

Why Should You Give Them?

  1. AP courses showcase college preparedness fostering critical thinking, effective time management, and subject mastery—essential for collegiate success.
  2. Unlike standard high school classes, AP courses delve deeper into the depth of learning, fostering a comprehensive understanding and valuable insights beyond classroom confines.
  3. Provides a Competitive Edge and sets students apart, demonstrating readiness for college-level work and enhancing appeal to prospective institutions.
  4. AP courses offer the opportunity to earn college credit, potentially bypassing introductory courses and reducing the time and financial burdens associated with higher education.
  5. Beyond academics, AP courses promote personal growth, resilience, and confidence, equipping students with essential life skills for success beyond the classroom.

Here’s the scoop on AP Exam Registration:

Registration for the 2024 AP Exams began on September 13, 2023. If you missed the initial deadline, fret not, as you still have the opportunity to register with a penalty. Some test centers may even offer a second registration window from December through mid-March 2024, albeit with additional fees.

But Wait, There’s More!

AP exams are held in May each year, so plan accordingly. You can’t retake an exam in the same year, but hey, there’s always next year. 

In conclusion, while the debate over standardized testing continues, the recent moves by Dartmouth, MIT, Georgetown, and Yale underscore the ongoing importance of standardized tests in the college admissions process. 

As students adjust to these changes, understanding standardized examinations is critical, as these tests define their academic experiences, providing not only credits or impressing admissions authorities, but also representing the joy of learning, challenging boundaries, and embracing unlimited possibilities.

With that, here’s an exclusive tip from UC just for you!

Use SAT prep as one more way to get prepared for college, especially in the US. Don’t discard the exam before at least giving a diagnostic.

So get ready for an unforgettable journey. We’re here to assist you every step of the way. Connect with UC Orange Counselors for extra guidance and support along your journey! 🙂

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