New AP payment policies create stress

By Anna Kronthal, Opinions Editor

Advanced Placement exams have their obvious stressors: allocating enough time to study and retain a year’s worth of information, taking practice tests, mentally preparing for a multiple hour exam and now, mandatory payments required seven months in advance.

The pressure of AP tests has always hit students early, with some beginning their exam preparations a month or two before May. This year, however, the preparations began in October. WCHS administration pushing forward the deadlines meant that Oct. 18th was the last day for students to register for their exam on myAP. If they were registered as “undecided” on this date, no exam was ordered for them. 

While pushing up the deadline may have seemed beneficial to administration, who could submit their exam requests nice and early, students were left having to decide which tests they were taking only a month after the first day of school. 

Exam fees can be expensive, especially for students who are taking multiple exams, and WCHS’s “AP culture” means that a large portion of the student body fits into this category. Realistically, many students base their decision of whether or not to take a test on their performance and understanding in their class. After a month of school, it’s hard to tell where you stand. For students that do not have money to throw away on tests that they might not end up taking, this deadline presents itself as a major obstacle.

Consequently, the last day for payment without incurring the 40 dollar late fee was Nov. 11. While students have the option to only submit a deposit by this date, the cost for the deposit is also 40 dollars, per exam. If they choose that taking the test is not in their best interest and want to cancel their test, there is a cancellation fee as well– 40 dollars.

This is a test, not a purchase. The administration is taking advantage of the fact that they know that some students will inevitably end up paying late and cancelling their tests. While the fees themselves may be unavoidable, rushing students into payment is in fact avoidable. 

While pushing back the deadline would help all students, it is especially necessary for seniors, who by Nov. 11 will not know which college they will be attending. Different universities accept different tests; there are many AP tests that some colleges will not take any credit for at all. If the deadline was pushed back, students could take the tests that will help them in their future schooling and choose to opt out of the ones that they know for sure will not benefit them. There is no point in forcing students to pay for and take a test when it will end up doing nothing to help them down the road. The whole point of the test is to learn something in high school that will allow you to place out of a class in the future.

Ultimately, the most stressful thing about AP testing should be the hours spent studying– not the payment transaction. Moving up the deadline this year caused unnecessary friction between students and administration and resulted in many students paying for tests that, come May of 2020, they might not end up even taking. It would save students stress, time and money to move the deadline for AP payments back. The costs of a slightly less early exam booklet order pales in comparison to the costs of leaving the deadline to sign up for AP tests as it is– barely before the school year has started.