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Which test is which? A guide for parents of tweens and teens

Page 4 of 5

By GreatSchools Staff

Specialized standardized tests

AP exams

The College Board administers the Advanced Placement program in which students do college-level work in high school and have the opportunity to get college credit for it. If your student takes an AP course, his teacher will be using a lesson plan developed by College Board and in May will take the same three-hour test in that subject as other students across the nation.

What the results mean

Getting a 3 or above on the AP exams' five-point scale is like getting a C or better in a college course. But that doesn't necessarily mean a student will get college credit for getting a 3 or even a 4. As AP classes have become more popular, some college officials have questioned their rigor. Many are making it harder for students to get college credit.

Some research shows that AP classes are worth the extra work whether or not a student gets college credit: Students who get good grades on AP exams do better in college. But other researchers say the students who take AP exams would succeed in college anyway because they are motivated and academically prepared before they ever walk into an AP classroom.

Questions parents should ask

Ask your child's counselor how you can help him prepare for challenging classes, such as AP courses.

Comments from readers

"Hello my daughter is in 10th grade and struggles with testing in school, she does all her work, she says she studies, but the scores on her test don't show this at all. Please if you can give us some advise as to what we should do to help our daughter with testing skills we would appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thank you Brenda Stemwell"
"Thank you for a succinct an easy to understand explanation of the myriad tests facing my family. I feel more prepared to guide my two sons as we navigate public and private school requirements. My husband and I plan to put this information to good use. It is unfortunate that excellent educational options are difficult to access in DeKalb County GA. "