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Take the AP test accommodated or not?

For those of you who don't know, AP stands for Advanced Placement, and it's a kind of test that you can take to get college credit, which means you don't have to pay for some college classes. It's timed and it usually includes a multiple choice section and an essay section.

I got it suggested to me that I could take it with accomodations after a small meltdown in my English class during a timed multiple choice practice. Because of my IEP (Individualized Education Plan) I would qualify for extended time or possibly even untimed, I don't know the exact details. I'm not sure what to think. Let's say I choose to take it unaccommodated.

My big fear leading up to the test would be that I would time panic, especially on the essays, and I would start crying or stimming and become unable to focus on the rest of the test. I'm scared I could have another half-hour full-on meltdown and bomb the test because of it. Or I simply cannot do what is asked in the essay question if it is timed, because on the AP test you have to do stuff like "Analyze a bunch of reading passages then pull important information then write a properly structured essay that hits several key points and all in a set amount of time".

There was a time in English class last year when I got to the essay question on a quiz, completely shut down, and turned in that part blank and excused myself to run up and down the stairs as a cooldown. It would be nice to have that safety net. But let's say I take it accommodated and finish within the time constraints. Haven't I proved I didn't really need it. Or let's say I get everything right, perfect score, etc., and I use it in college. I feel I would not feel worthy of it, that a real 100% would have had to be from a real testing session.

Conversely, if I fail, haven't I failed even with a free boost? Then there's a part of me that thinks I'll do fine and that I'm blowing this way out of proportion. I've always done well on standardized testing before. But the AP test is different for two reasons. Number 1, it's the first test with an essay (multiple essays actually). All other standardized testing stuff I've done so far was purely multiple choice, which I'm really good at. I can memorize information easily, which is pretty much what you need for multiple choice.

Essays are different skill sets. But are they? I don't know. This is also the most high-stakes test I've ever taken. There is real money on the line here, and not a small amount either. It really matters, and that's why I'm panicking a bit. I know it's not for 7 months, but I want to start thinking about this now.

I want to hear from others who have taken it, both accommodated and unaccommodated.
I also just wanted to put this in writing. I hope you all have some thoughts.

Neonatal RRT

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
From an educator's perspective here:

I know for a fact that test anxiety is a very real thing,...even at low levels, it affects the test taker,...and often is the cause of those "stupid mistakes". You know the answer, but in the moment, your brain was not in a relaxed mode and you misread something. It's not uncommon for 25% of wrong answers are due to this.

Now, there are tests,...and there are tests that really mean something,...effecting your future, affecting your ability to afford a higher education (determining whether or not a scholarship is granted). AP exams, SATs, MCATs,...whatever,...big tests that mean something. The scores you get,...the reviewers ARE NOT going to take into perspective an anxiety condition. Frankly, if they did,...I can see where biases might still negatively affect their decision making.

My recommendation, if you are offered the opportunity to take important tests with accommodations,...do it.


A psychologist said so
V.I.P Member
I agree with what @Neonatal RRT wrote. You should take the test with accommodations.

While I haven't taken exactly this type of test (not from the US), I know well and understand the feeling of anxiety you speak of when it comes to written tests. That can be especially intimidating if the question is a large part of the total test, or it feels particularly important. I always overthink things, want to be precise and do things "right" and so often run out of time and need to finish in a scramble. I am undiagnosed and so didn't get any assistance, but I really could have used some extra time as I was the only student to stay for the whole 3 hours in almost every course during my undergraduate studies.

As things look to me, if you don't take the AP test, you'll need to do a finals test anyways at the end of the semesters, so you aren't getting out of anything by skipping it. Based on the fact that you are considering taking it, I also presume that you have a good handle on the syllabus. I also don't see any reason not for accepting the extra help. Face it, you do overthink things more than most other students, and you do get more anxious than them in stressful circumstances. The extra time is not there to give you an advantage over the other students, it is there to level the playing field so that your grades aren't affected in a negative way due to your neurology, even though you understand the material perfectly well. It would be unfair towards you if you refuse the help due to some misplaced sense of honor.

I completely understand being stressed out and nervous regarding the test, and I also get your overthinking reaction regarding the uncertainty inherent in taking it. Please don't feel silly for asking for help here. I think most of us understand how you feel/think. I wish you the best. It might not work for you, but I always have a small ritual for when I take large tests. It might not work the same for you, but it helps me calm down. In my case, I only bring strictly necessary items to the room. I don't even bring a pencil case or my keys so as not to get distracted, and the day or morning before, I do a practice test at a completely empty desk to get my body used to the feeling. I often sprint there as well to let off some excess energy, though I can see that making your anxiety worse.


V.I.P Member
Those were very well-structured and valid arguments for taking the accommodations. I think that you should take the accommodations whenever you can. I am autistic, and I have three autistic daughters. It was, or would have been very helpful to have had them. Any time I am writing an essay I get bogged down by having to get my words and structure exactly how I want them because I want the reader to have the clarity that comes from the precision of getting it right. That takes a lot more time than being able to dash off an answer like a neurotypical person can. Don't worry about it ahead of time because that will waste your energy that you need to use to study the material. Definitely take the accommodations. (-:


Hopefully Human
V.I.P Member
You are getting some great advice here, and I don’t especially have anything to add as far as advice go.

Just one positive observation that some others have noticed too - your articulate expression of the arguments here are such a great strength for you to notice and be aware of.

These types of tests are an example of a very specific and narrow measurement of intelligence and worth. Learning to manage your anxiety is a massively important life skill and applying that learning here will likely be helpful to you. There’s so much to learn in life beyond what the tests ask us to show that we know.

I just wanted to encourage you to believe in yourself, keep using us and the wise autists here as a second opinion to your sound thinking.

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