LHS Sees Rise in Number of AP Test Takers


Above is the number of students taking AP tests at LHS

Kyle Laska, News Editor

Libertyville High School prides itself in the number of students participating in AP classes and tests.

Since 2011, Libertyville has seen a steady rise of students taking AP exams. In 2011, 504 students participated in AP exams. The number rose to 578 students taking an exam in 2012 and rose again, to 628, in 2013. This past school year saw 650 students register to take an AP test. This comes out to about 33% of the approximately 2,000 students at the school who took AP tests last year. The numbers have been rising, but not as drastically as they did a few years ago.

Mr. Ray Albin, assistant principal, oversees mostly everything when it comes to AP testing. As the AP coordinator for the building, Mr. Albin must certify to the College Board that LHS AP teachers are teaching in an approved AP way. As far as why more students may want to take the test, Mr. Albin offered his guess.

“I think that as students are progressing through the curriculum, they are wanting to challenge themselves. Our students know, sometimes a little earlier, what they want to do in the future and therefore they want to get ahead. They use AP courses to do what they’re interested in and to maximize their potential interests,” stated Mr. Albin. “Not to mention financials; financially it’s a relief. Students have the option of a $91 test at the end of the year. The tests count as college credit which can, in the end, can save you 2, 3, 4,000 dollars. For paying $91, this is a tremendous value.”

Although the number of students taking AP tests is increasing, the numbers are actually pretty consistent. It may seem that more classes are filling up, and that students are having a tougher time getting into AP or Honors-level classes, but the fact is that the levels are set the previous year, based on how many students are interested in taking such classes, according to Mr. Albin.

“We section our numbers from where student levels were at last spring. If the numbers indicate that we need to section our levels off at 10 students, then we section it off at 10. We section appropriately, we section what we can, but that doesn’t leave a lot of room for people switching classes,” said Mr. Albin.

According to Mr. Albin, that is why it is so important that students know what they want to take the next year before they see their counselors for their appointments. The school does not set extra seats aside for students who may want to switch in the class, which is why many students have had trouble switching into classes they may have wanted to take.

However, students are always able to take AP tests, regardless of whether they are in the class. Students are able to attend study sessions and become prepared for the tests ahead of time. For senior Ankur Rastogi, AP tests are a way of life. Rastogi currently has a schedule full of AP classes, 5 this semester, and will surely be taking the exams when they approach. As far as why he challenges himself, Rastogi praised the school.

“I’m someone who likes a challenge.  There’s a lot of high schools out there that don’t have anything near the range or quality of AP classes LHS has to offer, and I think that if we have the chance to take them, we should.  That’s my philosophy on AP classes: I’m lucky enough to go to a quality high school with quality teachers, and it’d be a missed chance if I didn’t participate in some of the best LHS has to offer. Opportunity is a product of circumstance and chance; what we choose to do with that opportunity, however, is what makes all the difference,” stated Rastogi.

As far as how teachers handle studying and preparation, Rastogi was nothing but supportive.

“We get regular updates in the spring, our teachers continuously remind us, and actual registration has an entire hour dedicated to it in a one-hour before-school session during the spring.  As far as everyone getting a chance to take them, I know quite a few people who were able to take AP exams for subjects that were either not taught (either at the AP level or not at all) only because the school offered them (e.g. AP World History).  They do a solid job,” said Rastogi.