Late AP Testing: What to Do if You Change Your Mind

During the 2021-2022 school year, the official deadline for students to register for Advanced Placement exams is Nov. 15. But what happens if you change your mind and decide to test after the official deadline has passed?

The good news is that registering late for an end-of-year AP test is often still possible, but there are certain considerations to keep in mind.

Your High School’s Deadline for Registration

Many high schools establish their own deadlines for late AP exam registration. It is important to note that institution-specific deadlines will always come before rather than after the College Board’s deadline, with some schools ending registration as soon as early October.

[READ: Should Gap Year Students Take AP Exams?]

Also, be aware that the College Board, which administers the AP program, has no say in this matter. It is the decision of each high school whether to impose a separate cut-off date, which is put in place to facilitate administrative tasks.

Before doing anything else, find out whether your school has its own late registration deadline for AP tests so that you don’t put in undue work only to get a firm “no” answer at the end.

The College Board’s Late Order Fee

As a courtesy, the College Board allows students to register for AP exams between Nov. 16, 2021, and March 15, 2022. However, when doing so, students must pay a $40 late fee per exam in addition to the standard fee of $94 per exam. Those who transfer to a new school during this period or are taking courses that start after Nov. 15 are exempt from the late fee.

[Read: 3 Ways to Succeed in Your AP Class.]

If the late fee would pose an undue burden for you or your family, registering late may be ill-advised.

On the other hand, if you could earn a high enough score on an AP exam to get college credit, it may be worth borrowing the money or coming up with it by other means. After all, the cost of tuition for a semester-long course in college will far exceed $40.

The late registration fee is designed to encourage students to register for exams in a timely fashion. According to College Board statistics, students who register in the fall have higher chances of earning a 3 or better on their AP exams. This is especially noticeable for underrepresented minorities, low-income students and female STEM students who register for AP tests prior to the late registration period.

This finding begs the question that every student should contemplate before registering late: “Do I have a strong chance of earning a 3 or better on this exam?” If the answer is likely no, a score of 1 or 2 won’t be eligible for college credit, so it is probably best to sit this exam out, save the fee and put your time toward activities that give you a better shot at success.

[Read: What to Weigh Before Dropping an AP Class]

The Reasons for Your Change of Heart

To determine whether you would be registering late for the right reasons, here are some additional questions you should ask yourself:

— Have I thought long and hard about this decision, or would it be more of an impulse?

— Would I be taking the end-of-year test because it is what most people do or because it is expected of me, or is it something I really want to do and think I should do?

— Realistically, would I be able to dedicate the resources, enthusiasm, concentration, etc., needed to excel on the exam given the remaining time until test day?

When considering whether to register for an AP test after the November deadline has passed, first consider administrative issues such as deadlines and late fees. Then , if late registration is still an option, be honest with yourself about your reasons for taking the exam and likelihood of success.

More from U.S. News

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