Time to Register for AP Exams!!

Our school will register students for AP exams during the week of February 27-March 2. Efforts to encourage students to register though actually got started some time ago. Perhaps some of our strategies will be helpful to you as well.
• From the beginning of the year, our teachers set a strong expectation that every student taking an AP class will take the exam in May. We cannot compel them to take the exam since they have to pay for it, but we can certainly make it clear that is our expectation.
• The exam cost has increased this year. We had thought students might have to pay $87 this year compared to $57 last year, but our administration has agreed to subsidize the cost so that students will only have to pay $67 (unless they qualify for free/reduced lunch.) We have been telling the students to expect a price increase since January and emailing parents to make sure they were aware of the increase.
• We are heavily promoting participation in free/reduced lunch program as a way to reduce the cost of the exam. Many of our students bring lunch from home, but the AP fee waivers are just one of the benefits of the free/reduced lunch program that benefit our college bound low income students.
• Speaking of promotion, we have posters up in all AP classrooms and around the school advertising both the value and the cost of the AP exam. One poster has a simple bar graph showing the cost of an AP exam versus the cost of the average college course in Texas. We also have posters of some of our graduates holding up signs showing how much college credit they earned last year based on their AP scores.
• We have had segments on our P-TV video announcements and articles in the school newspaper about the AP exam cost and the benefits of exam participation to students.
• Our counseling department (who actually register the students for the exams) is very flexible about working with students who have difficulty paying by the deadline. They will take a postdated check and wait until the next payday before depositing it.
• The counseling department will be sending out an updated spreadsheet showing who has registered every day of registration week so that teachers can check it and encourage students who have not registered to do so.
• Next week my AP Ambassadors will wear their t-shirts and get up in their classes to encourage their classmates to take the exams. They will do so again during the actual registration week.
• We will post a giant paper “thermometer” in the student center to track the number of exams registered for each day. Our goal is to break the 1000 mark by the end of the week. We will also deliver daily updates in the morning announcements.
• Our English teachers (more students take AP English exams than any other subject) are giving their mock exam on February 25 and will use the results to show students how close they are to a recommended score and what areas they need to focus on in order to get there. Mock exams for every other subject will follow in the coming weeks.
• Many of the AP teachers have already started conducting after school extra credit AP review sessions. I have been meeting with students either Tuesday afternoons or Wednesday mornings and have had about 50 students turn out each week. The students know they will be well-prepared by the time the exams roll around.
• Students at one of our other district high schools are holding their own fundraisers to supplement the district contribution to exam cost.
With the increased cost of the exam, we worry that participation will decline, but we are doing everything we can to help students see that the exam cost pales in comparison to paying for a college class. Just the cost of some textbooks is way more than the cost of the AP exam! In March, I will let you know if our efforts paid off. If you have other ideas, please leave a comment.

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