Tips from an Irvine AP Tutor: What to do if AP Exams Were a Bust
AP exams are brutal, period. Students in these classes will have challenging tests all year long but the exam in May is really something else. Not to mention that students are likely also taking other standardized exams in the spring. For some students (perhaps more than one would think) AP exams are a bust. A score of “2” is not the end of the world but it is something to be worked around – if you haven’t taken your AP tests yet, score high with the help of an Irvine AP tutor. Many students forget to brainstorm but it is actually one of the best skills a college prep student can have. A little outside-the-box thinking can turn a rather sour situation into something sweet. However, before getting started, students should consider what their goals are and ask themselves the following questions.
Do I primarily want college credit for these courses?
Am I primarily taking AP classes for college admissions purposes?
1 – College Credit
Students taking AP courses for college credit only should think about the pros and cons. College level Calculus is probably easier when taken by a college student than a high school student. It can also be taken over the summer or at a community college. Spending a full year on an overly difficult course, only to find out a student received a score of “1” is very frustrating. If the course is too difficult now, it might be better to take it later on. Studious high school students should definitely give AP classes a shot but, if they received less than a 3 on multiple AP exams last spring, they should think about alternate options.
Other ways students can receive college credit:
- Take an AP class in a subject they feel confident they can ace
- Take classes at a community college over the summer
- Take the CLEP exams
- Take the AP exam without taking the class
Students can work with a tutor to take CLEP exams or AP exams without taking a class. Of course, these tests are still hard (harder without having taken the course), but the College Board offers more AP exams than most high schools offer. For instance, if a student is a studio art aficionado they can take this exam after working with test prep materials and a tutor. If they tank the exam, they don’t have to send their score along to the admissions department.
2 – College Admissions
Many students take AP classes simply to get in to college and view the college credit as an afterthought. For students using their AP exam scores as a way to stay competitive with their peers, there are plenty of alternatives. This is not to say that high school students shouldn’t try to ace those AP exams, but if they’ve had multiple “1” and “2” scores, it’s time to search for alternatives.
- Work with an Irvine private AP test tutor to trouble shoot what went wrong the first time around
- Choose an AP class that they feel entirely confident they can score a “3” or above
- Look for other ways to keep an academic edge over the competition (SAT subject tests, SAT/ACT scores, honors classes, International Baccalaureate etc…)
At the end of the day, it is just really difficult to compete with the thousands of students who are applying for the same spots at their dream university. AP classes are an important part of the college application process these days but, if it truly isn’t working out, the low scores could potentially do more harm than good. Students in this position are encouraged to work with their educational consultant to brainstorm for helpful alternatives.
Are you taking your AP tests this year? Score high with the help of one of our experienced Irvine AP tutors. Call us today for details.