Should you take the AP test if you don’t think you’ll do well?

Students often ask if they have to take the AP test when they finish the associated class.  They’re usually worried that they’re not going to score well and that a low score will hurt their chances of admission to college.

If you’re getting a C+ or worse in an AP class, it’s clear that this just isn’t your subject—I can’t see any reason to sit for the exam just to get documented proof in the form of a standardized test score.  Be proud that you at least jumped in and tried the class. 

But I almost always encourage students earning a B or higher in an AP class to sit for the exam.  If you don’t take the test, it’s hard for a college admissions officer not to wonder what stopped you.  The solid (or exceptional) grade you’ve earned now comes with a question mark.

If you have real concerns that your AP test score won’t reflect the good grade you’ve earned in the class, consider buying one of the College Board’s AP test prep books.  They’ve got copies of previously administered exams with complete answers and explanations.  Take one of the practice tests and see if your test concerns are legit before you sit the test out.