AP exams can be used to reduce cost of college education

Cameron Morelli, Editor-in-Chief

When spring comes around, many Bear Creek students enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) courses experience stress and anxiety as they frantically study for their AP exams in the hopes of earning college credit. For some students, finding a way to pay for these exams can be just as stressful as preparing for the exam itself.

Each exam now costs $91—a two dollar increase from last year’s cost—and for those who plan to take multiple exams, the overall cost can be a bit overwhelming.

Many students are unable to afford to pay to take all of the exams they would like to and are forced by their parents to choose one or two exams that they believe will yield the highest scores.

Bear Creek students that qualify for and participate in the Free or Reduced Price Lunch Program, however, are granted a fee waiver that requires them to pay just $5 for each AP exam, a savings of $86 per exam.

Although the $5 fee allows those who would not otherwise be able to afford the exam fees to take these exams, some students take advantage of this reduced cost and don’t feel as much pressure to do well on the exam as those who pay the full price.

“The fact that I only had to pay $5 kind of didn’t motivate me to study as hard,” senior Salvador Andrade admitted. “That was also the incentive why I took some of the tests that I knew I was not going to pass.”

Many students who must pay the full price feel as though they are under pressure from their parents to pass the exams since they are paying a considerable amount of money to take the exam, while students who are granted the fee waiver don’t feel this pressure since they only had to pay $5.

Senior Erinn Liong, who took five AP exams during her junior year, believes that the relatively large amount of money her parents had to pay for the exams motivated her to study and pass the exams.

“I felt more pressure to study for and pass the exams because I had to pay the full price for them,” senior Erinn Liong said. “I didn’t want the almost $500 that my parents paid to go to waste.”

Liong admits that the high prices she paid for the exams made studying and taking the exams seem more serious and important.

“If I only had to pay $5, there would be less pressure,” Liong said. “I would have had less to lose.”

Depending on the university, passing an AP exam with a 3 or better can earn one 3-8 college credits. This means that, by taking and passing AP exams, students save about $760 to $2028 per exam, depending on the cost per unit at their chosen college.

Although the price of $91 per exam may seem expensive, students should remember that if they pass the exam with a score of 3 or better, they will be saving thousands of dollars that they would have had to pay for college courses.