Students Pass AP Exams without Taking Corresponding Classes

by Leah Peloff ’18

In hopes of getting into the college one prefers, students are encouraged to do everything they can to build the best possible resume. This usually comes hand in hand with a schedule full of AP courses and hours upon hours of homework. The stress of taking a rigorous course load, maintaining good grades, and receiving college credit on the AP exams can be overwhelming. Some students, however, have found somewhat of a loophole in managing this AP stress: taking the exam without taking the class.

Junior Megan Kendall decided to go down this path by signing up for the AP Language and Composition exam, but opting out of the year-long class. “My siblings did this and were able to pass the exam, so it seemed feasible,” explained Kendall. “Also it was a lot better for me because I have a lot less stress and still can get the college credit.” Less AP classes means a lower weighted GPA though, right? Not necessarily. “It doesn’t affect my weighted GPA because I’m still taking Honors English and will get the weighted point for that,” said Kendall. Despite not having taken the exam yet, Kendall is so far very pleased with her choice.

Similarly, juniors Nick Mittu and Safwan Alan have taken the AP Computer Science exam without the class, both scoring a 4 or 5. Mittu took the exam when he was an 8th grader, so he did not have the choice of taking the class, but explained how he was already well-versed on the subject. “You must be prepared to do a lot of studying, but it makes it much easier if you really enjoy the subject … Yes, I am happy with my choice. It has opened up other opportunities for me such as an internship,” said Mittu. If there is a subject that one naturally excels at, both Mittu and Kendall strongly recommend preparing for the exam independently and opening up one’s schedule for either further learning opportunities or a less stressful course load.

After deciding to take this path, however, how might a student go about signing up for the exam? According to Counselor Kelly Singleton, “students do not need special permission to do this. They can complete the registration just like students who are enrolled in the class.” Therefore, anyone can attempt any exam as long as they are willing to put up the $98 application fee.

Although this strategy might not work for everybody or for every AP subject, Kendall, Mittu, and Alan all feel they have enough knowledge in a field of study to pass the exam and receive exemption from entry-level college courses.