AP registration moves up to Sept 27 from February

September 22, 2019 — by Edwin Chen and Michael Wong

Starting this year, the College Board has moved its AP registration deadline to Sept. 27, far earlier than the previous early-February deadline. Those who fail to sign up by or cancel a test after Nov. 15, the waitlist deadline, will pay a $40 fee.

Complaints about the aggressive nature of College Board’s move have mounted. Many students are concerned that they are being forced to make an early and possibly uninformed decision about testing.

“This is clearly a money grab by the College Board,” junior Nirmik Tambe said. 

Tambe is enrolled in AP US History and AP Calculus AB and plans on taking both tests. So far, he finds both classes manageable.  

For its part, College Board has justified the earlier deadline with its since-deleted findings that students who commit to the test earlier are more successful. (Another interpretation of the data showed that more students failed as a result of the earlier registration.)

Junior Akshar Sarvesh says he understands this change, though it has little impact on his decision to take the tests.

“Personally, it doesn’t affect me because I don’t take any AP classes without the expectation that I’m going to take the test,” he said.

Sarvesh thinks the College Board’s decision will force students to start studying earlier and perhaps be more successful.

But Tambe suspects the earlier commitment time will lead to problems.

“Last year, I was hesitant about taking the AP Computer Science test,” Tambe said. “Around February, I felt like I was struggling with the content of the class.”

Tambe ultimately decided to take the AP test. He may not have done so if he had based his decision on how he was doing early in the year. 

“The content of the class varied in difficulty in September compared to February,” Tambe said. “I didn’t know what to expect in my ability to know the material that would be taught throughout the year, so making a decision in September would have been too early.”

Other students like junior Andrew Xiao are facing the dilemma of whether to take the AP test in difficult classes like Calculus AB. He wishes he had more time to grow comfortable with the subject and make an informed decision.

In the meantime, school officials are trying to help students navigate this change.

“The new timeline is out of our control, so we’re going to do our best to support students with the new process,” assistant principal Brian Safine said. “We realize that an accelerated timeline would make students commit earlier than they need to and it may create some more uncertainty in their minds.”