Advanced mistakes

Advanced mistakes

Roxana Wiswell

AP students’ blunders interfere with test registration

They tell us the deadline is absolute. The form says “NO REFUNDS WILL BE MADE,” and that the last day to sign up is March 4. But what happens to those students who don’t sign up for AP testing exactly the way they should? Junior Benjamin Yang and senior Srishti Agrawal are two students who found out.

AP tests with similar names. Alternative copy by Roxana Wiswell.“I thought I was signing up for the right test because I had heard that [AP English Literature and Composition] was the right one–but it wasn’t,” Yang said.

As a student in American Literature Honors, he meant to take the AP English Language and Composition test. The test names are only different by one word, which makes registration confusing for many students even though teachers stress that signing up for the correct test is crucial. A mistake would mean signing up for a test that is very different from the one the student prepared for, which is also a problem with some other similarly-named pairs of tests. But it’s not a fatal mistake—if caught in time.

“Before the tests are ordered, it’s an easy fix—we just switch our numbers,” said AP Secretary Deb Mandac.

This was true until April 13, when the school placed its order. After that, swaps could be made with a $13 additional fee. For students who forgot to sign up for AP tests in the first place, their last chance was the April 13 date.

As Agrawal found out, missing that date puts a student in a tough spot. A busy senior and out of town the week before, she didn’t realize it was time to submit forms and payment in March. By mid-April, when she discovered the problem, MVHS’ registration had closed. Some other districts had later deadlines for signing up, so by calling other schools, she was able to sign up through Gunn HS for AP English Literature and Composition and AP Statistics. But since the AP Government and Politics test wasn’t offered at Gunn HS, Agrawal will not be taking it, though she would have if she had registered in time to take the test at MVHS. Agrawal doesn’t blame MVHS for having an exception-free deadline.

“[MVHS] has so many kids that if they allowed late registration, everyone would put it off and try to sign up late,” Agrawal said.

Mandac confirms this, adding that MVHS students are “notorious” for doing everything at the last minute. According to Mandac, 50 percent of students sign up for AP testing in the last two days of the many-week window, 35 percent on the very last day.

Yang’s fix was much easier than Agrawal’s. When he went to speak to the office, he found that he didn’t have to pay even though the date had passed. It turned out that a senior in AP English had made the reverse of Yang’s blunder, and the two were able to exchange tests within the number of tests ordered by the school. Mandac stresses, however, that this sort of switching can only be done through the office in advance.

“If they come in and let us know, it’s fine,” Mandac said.

However, it unarguably creates more work for administration when students don’t sign up correctly and by the deadline. Although Yang’s testing woes worked out, he recommends avoiding the hassle.

“Make sure you double-check,” Yang said. “Make sure you check with your English teacher.”