2019 AP changes: Why the pros outweigh the cons


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New changes to the AP test hope to prepare students and alleviate some testing-taking stress.

Kenneth Castro, Staff Writer

Whether you take an AP course for the GPA bonus, the chance to earn some college credit, or the experience of being in a college-level environment, some significant changes have made landfall in the program starting this fall.

The most immediate and noticeable change is the required online registration during fall semester for the AP courses you are taking on the College Board website using a classroom code which automatically signs you up for the respective test. The streamlined ordering process gives students peace of mind knowing that they are correctly signed up for their exam and won’t have to worry about meeting nerve-racking, last-minute deadlines.

Critics of some of the new changes say that the required registration in the fall puts too much stress on students by not allowing them enough time to prepare and comprehend the difficulty of the material. Although this may be true to an extent, students who take a reasonable number of AP classes and who have good time management skills will not find their school year overwhelming.

Tacked onto the early enrollment, College Board has also introduced a $40 late fee and cancellation fee that has been castigated as a considerable hassle for low-income families. However, most students know taking an AP course will entail taking a grueling exam, so having an early commitment drives students to give it everything they have.

Enrolling in the College Board website with the required classroom code also allows you access to AP Classroom — a shiny new resource that allows students to receive customized assignments, gain personalized feedback, and find out what skills they should focus on. Students are free to obtain answers with justifications after completing assignments or customized suggestions from their teachers. Extra help comes in the form of course overviews that let you see what content is in your course and how much that content will actually be present on the AP exam. 

This is a very welcome addition that will benefit any student willing to use the program to its fullest. Yet even this supplement has been scrutinized as part of a larger problem with AP courses by shifting the focal point to passing the AP Exam itself rather than actually learning a lesson. 

Despite the drawbacks, the new 2019 changes to AP will make students reconsider if they can commit to one or more very demanding classes, but now gives them more tools to tackle their courses.