College Board changes AP Exam registration

Sign-up dates and late fees have changed for the 2019-2020 school year


These are some of the many AP courses offered at VHHS.

This August, AP Students were notified of several changes made to the registration process for AP Exams. They include an advance in the registration date, as well as an additional fee for alterations to registration status.

These changes were met with varied reactions. Some faculty members praised the changes, while others proposed they may even be detrimental to students’ achievement. 

For students, these changes bring the registration date up by about four months, forcing them to commit to a decision by Nov. 15 at the very latest. Should the student later decide to back out of taking the exam, they will incur a $40 cancellation fee. 

Ben Santos (12) was highly skeptical of these changes, especially the new cancellation fee. 

“I don’t think it’s fair to the students,” Santos remarked. “It seems like the College Board is trying to take our money.”

Some AP teachers thought otherwise, stressing the importance of commitment for students. Mr. Isabelli, an AP Lang teacher at VHHS, was a strong proponent of these changes, citing how if students plan on taking the exam earlier it may motivate them more during the year. 

“I think there are many pros to it,” Isabelli said. “You know, first of all, it does commit the students who are taking the test and taking the class. So as a result of that, I think most kids will be more committed and try a lot harder now that we’ve already signed up for the test as a result… I think it’s a good thing.” 

Another aspect of this issue was the potential effects on students who are new to taking AP Exams. According to Ms. Dircks, seasoned AP students enter the class prepared to take the exam. Newer students, however, may decide later on during the course, after gauging how prepared they feel they are. 

Dircks also highlighted some issues which second-semester seniors also could potentially face from these changes. After students commit to a college, they may find that specific institutions will not accept that AP score for college credit, removing a big incentive for taking the AP Exam. Specific classes like AP Macroeconomics face this issue, since both AP Micro and Macro are needed to receive credit, and VHHS doesn’t offer Micro.

“Many students in AP Macro who are second-semester seniors, once they actually get into college, which they’ll know in the springtime, they realize that they can’t get AP Macro credit,” Dircks explained. “Especially for business majors, many of them need AP Micro and macro together. And we don’t teach the AP Micro. So them taking AP Macro really doesn’t give them any credit.”

After viewing VHHS’s AP results in July, it will be possible to determine what effect these changes will have. 

Sanjana Anand, Gerda Nye, and Carter Sherwin contributed to this report.