3 Things Students Should Know About AP Registration Changes

Tiffany Sorensen

The College Board, the not-for-profit organization that oversees the Advanced Placement program, recently announced its plans to alter AP registration policies. Since this decision directly affects students who are considering enrolling in AP courses, you must know exactly which changes will take place, as well as when.

Here are three to note:

-- AP exam registration will now take place in November.

-- Any changes to registration status after November 15 will incur a $40 fee.

-- All changes will take effect this fall.

[Read: How to Determine the Right Number of AP Classes to Take.]

AP exam registration will now take place in November. The AP exam registration deadline will soon be moved from the month of March to November 15. However, students will still sit for AP exams in May of each school year.

The new registration deadline implies that students must commit to taking AP exams sooner in the school year. If your high school does not require you to take the AP exam that corresponds to each course, you will have to make this decision for yourself before Thanksgiving break.

This may seem like insufficient time to gauge how you will perform on an AP exam in the spring. Note, though, that you will have likely already earned several grades that can partially help you reach a decision by this point.

[Read: How to Master AP Courses in High School.]

But why is the deadline being moved up? The College Board is moving its AP registration deadline to the fall because their data have shown that students who enroll in the fall generally perform better on end-of-year exams.

The November deadline also means that students will have less time to work out the financial details of the registration process. It currently costs $94.00 in the U.S. to take each AP exam. While financial assistance will still be available, the new deadline will require more upfront financial planning on the part of the student and his or her family.

Any changes to a student's registration status after November 15 will incur a $40.00 fee. Though the standard AP registration deadline will be November 15, students will still be able to register after this date. Students who register between November 16 and March must pay the usual charge of $94.00 per test, plus a $40.00 late registration fee.

The late registration fee is designed to encourage students to register by the November 15 deadline. According to the College Board, students who register in the fall have higher chances of earning a 3 or better on their AP exams. This score increase was especially noticeable for underrepresented minorities, low-income students and female STEM students.

[Read: How to Avoid 3 AP Test-Day Mistakes.]

The fee is also applicable to canceled exams, provided you are not transferring schools. Students who wish to cancel their registration after November 15 will receive their $94.00 back, but will be assessed a $40.00 fee.

All changes will take effect this fall. The changes to the College Board's AP registration policies will take effect at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. In other words, the March deadline still applies to this current academic year.

Adjustments to the registration deadline and fee schedule necessitate a bit more planning for high school students. First and foremost, students should discuss with their families how they will pay the testing fees. If family assistance is not possible, students should arrange a meeting with their guidance counselor to pursue other forms of support.

Since you will soon be committed to taking AP tests earlier, there is more reason to review class content regularly and to experiment with test-taking techniques as soon as possible. The sooner you figure out which methods work for you, the more time you will have to practice and perfect them to make an informed decision about exam registration.