With exams looming, students weigh AP/IB options

  Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate testing weighs on students year-round, but with the May test dates quickly approaching, Granite Bay High students are busier than ever.

  Senior Tanvi Yadlapalli has taken many AP tests in preparation for college.

  “My sophomore year, I took AP Euro,” Yadlapalli said. “My junior year I took AP Chem, Calc, Spanish, Lang, and Psych. Senior year I took AP Lit, Gov, Micro, Macro, Human Geo, Bio, Stats and AP Physics.

   “I took a lot of science and math APs since I’m on the pre-med pathway for college.”

  Yadlapalli sees AP classes as a good way to prepare for the academic rigor of college.

  “Now that I’ve finished the college application process, I definitely do see the benefits of taking AP and IB classes,” Yadlapalli said. “You also get to skip courses and save a ton of money in college. By taking just five AP tests last year, I get to skip general chem, math, and English courses at the college I’m planning on attending.”

  Barron’s and Princeton Review test-prep books are common books used by students to study for AP tests.

  “They give you practice that’s equally and sometimes even more difficult than the actual AP test,” Yadlapalli said.

  Senior Cayla Quinn is one of six GBHS students currently enrolled in the IB Diploma program.

  “I’m in six or seven IB classes, so I’ll be taking (about) 13 IB tests,” Quinn said. “The only AP class I’ve ever taken was AP Euro. My classes sophomore year were all kind of pre-requisites for the IB diploma program, like AP Euro, Honors chem, and Honors pre-Calc.”

  Quinn said preparing for IB tests naturally comes with the classes.

Now that I’ve finished the college application process, I definitely do see the benefits of taking AP and IB classes. You also get to skip courses and save a ton of money in college.

— Tanvi Yadlapalli

  “IB is super cool because I’ve been with most of my teachers for at least a year – most of them two years,” Quinn said. “There’s a lot of review embedded into the curriculum, which is super cool because it makes everything feel a lot more seamless and a lot less stressful.”

  AP course enrollment seems to increase every year as college admissions gets tougher and tougher.

  “As a sophomore, half of my classes were (weighted) and all of my junior and senior classes are weighted, so they’re all AP or IB,” junior Elise Bushnell said. “I choose AP classes because those are the subjects that interest me, and I think they better prepare me for college as opposed to CP classes.”

  AP tests cost $94 each, a figure  that pales in comparison with the $1,000-plus college course passing the test could replace. This attracts many AP students looking to either lighten their college course load or graduate early in hopes of saving money on their education.

  “AP exams aren’t often taken lightly given the expense and the difficulty,” senior and IB diploma candidate Malina Desai said. “I took four AP exams last year and will take four this year. I mostly just attended a few study sessions for last year’s exams, but this year I’m choosing to self-learn two courses, so I bought myself AP study guides.”

  Students say the college admissions process has given them some insight into the benefits and drawbacks of AP.

  “I would say that students should not get caught up in the number of exams they take,” Desai said. “After experiencing the college admissions process, I really think working on the essays and making real contributions to your intended field of study like doing research and being proactive in what you do will help you prepare for your adult life.”