Students begin signup process for AP, IB testing

High stakes tests raise students’ stress levels


Johanna Kaplan

Photo illustration by Johanna Kaplan. For reduced prices on AP tests, students must sign up by Oct. 21. To sign up for an IB test, students must fill out a google form by Oct. 21 as well.

Johanna Kaplan

Though Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate testing won’t actually occur until May 2021, registration has already begun according to test coordinator, Jami LaPray. 

The signup process for Advanced Placement (AP) testing is two steps: registration through the College Board and payment through Total Registration. This must be completed by Oct. 21 for early pricing.

For International Baccalaureate (IB) testing, students must fill out a google form by October 21 and pay at the Smart School website

According to AP and IB psychology teacher Greg Goddard, the two types of tests differ on a fundamental level — each highlights specific skills.

“IB tests tend to emphasize a lot of critical thinking and oftentimes, that comes out in the form of written responses,” Goddard said. “AP tends to be more like a factual base with a multiple-choice section where you need to identify the right answer.” 

Testing coordinator, Jamie LaPray, mentioned that the testing process itself ignites stress for many students. Given all the different challenges during testing, it can be a very intimidating process. 

“People get really anxious about them because they’re pretty high stakes (as) it’ll save you a lot of money on college if you do well,” LaPray said.

Senior Liz Madigan said she is worried because this upcoming test will be her first IB test. 

“I’m a bit nervous because I’ve never taken an IB test before,” Madigan said. “I was supposed to, but it got canceled, so I’m going into four tests that I’ve never taken before and hoping they go okay.” 

Stress plays a big role in a student’s test performance, according to Goddard, as working under pressure can undermine any chance of success while test taking. 

“We know that anxiety can cause you to underperform,” Goddard said. “It’s not a good reflection of their knowledge of that topic, it’s more just a reflection of how they’re responding to the pressure of having to show all that they know in one particular test setting on one particular day.” 

Goddard said he encourages students to prepare for tests, but remember they do not define a student’s ability.

“This is one test on one day; it does not reflect who you necessarily are as a student,” Goddard said.