FAQs about AP, PSAT, SAT & ACT

Should I take an Advanced Placement course?

You should take an AP course if you have a real interest in the subject and have proven yourself capable of handling the workload. Students who take an Advanced Placement course are encouraged to take the AP exam at the end of the school year. Students who earn a passing score (3, 4, or 5) on the AP exam will earn college credit for that subject.You can explore AP Courses and learn more about taking AP courses on the College Board website: https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/

Should only “Straight A” students take AP courses?

No. Any student who is academically ready for a challenge and is willing to put in the work should consider taking AP. Your counselor can help you decide if AP is right for you.

Can I take an AP Exam without having taken the AP class?

Yes—as long as you can find a school that will administer the exam. However, you will be much more likely to do well on an AP Exam if you take the related course.

What is the difference between taking an AP Course and an Honors Level Course?

One big difference is that AP courses prepare students to do well on the AP Exams, and getting a score of 3 or higher on an AP Exam could earn you college credit or advanced placement in college (you can skip intro-level courses). Honors classes don’t necessarily prepare students for AP Exams, and there is no way to earn college credit simply by taking an honors class. Honors class do demonstrate you are taking a course with academic rigor, however. Taking a rigorous schedule of classes with either Honors level or AP shows that you are challenging yourself throughout high school, and that looks great on your college applications.

Another difference is that every course with the "AP" label has been reviewed and approved by college faculty to make sure the course covers college-level content and skills and asks students to do college-level work.

What is the difference between AP Courses and Dual Enrollment?

AP courses are reviewed and approved by college faculty to make sure that every student who takes AP is being asked to do college-level work, no matter where they take it. AP Exams are a standard way to measure how well students have mastered the college-level subject matter. Colleges across the country know this, and many grant college credit or advanced placement to students with AP scores of 3 or higher.

Dual enrollment programs don't offer a standard way to measure whether students have mastered college-level work. Because of this, it's difficult for college admission officers to know the quality or difficulty level of any dual enrollment course.

Will it hurt my college applications if I don’t do well in an AP class/don’t earn a good score on the exam?

No. Just participating in an AP course challenges a student to do college-level work, and colleges like to see students challenge themselves. A large majority (85%) of selective colleges say that a student's AP experience has a positive impact on admission decisions. And because AP coursework is more challenging than standard coursework, most high schools consider a B in an AP course to be equal to an A in a standard course.

What is the school's CEEB code? 
The CEEB code is 053660.  It is used for the SAT, ACT, AP exams, NCAA, and college applications

Where can I check the AP credit policies of colleges?

What sets an AP Exam apart is that you could potentially earn university credit and/or advanced placement, which means you could skip an introductory-level university course or earn enough credits to start at a higher-level course for that subject. However, many students find that preparation for an AP Exam helps them once they’re at university, even if they don’t earn credit or placement. Visit the Credit and Placement page to understand the value of earning AP credit and/or placement.


Each college sets its own policies for awarding credit or advanced placement for AP exams, with most colleges accepting a minimum AP score of 3 or higher. Find a college's credit policy:


Can I drop an AP class once I have started it?

Students are able to request schedule changes the first two weeks following the beginning of a semester. After you have been in an AP class for two weeks, we will give consideration if the change is an academic class LEVEL change or if you are struggling academically.  However, parent contact will be made, your parent and AP teacher must approve the change in writing, and AP courses will not be dropped without administrative approval.

How do I register for my AP Classes on College Board, and how do I pay for the exams?

You’ll need to join your class section online in order to register for the exam. Your school’s AP coordinator will order your exam materials and all fees will be collected through VVHS’s Webstore. The deadline to register for exams is in late October or early November.

How to register for your AP Classes on College Board:


  1. Be sure you’ve joined your class section online on College Board. Sign in to College Board’s “My AP” at https://myap.collegeboard.org/login with your College Board account and make sure you’ve joined your class section. If you haven’t, you’ll need to follow the steps to join your section online. Your AP teacher will give you a special “Join Code” to join your class.
  2. Register—or confirm your existing registration—in My AP.
  3. If your school requires you to indicate your exam registration, you'll see a Register button in your class section view in My AP after you join your class sections. Clicking this button will let your coordinator know that you plan to take the exam, and they will order it for you. If you don’t see that button, it means you’ve already been automatically registered for the exam.
  4. The AP coordinator will communicate with you about paying exam fees on the VVHS Webstore.

You cannot pay for your exam on the College Board website.

PLEASE NOTE: If you’d like to register for an exam after November, your order may be subject to a late fee. You’ll need to ask your AP coordinator to update your registration. If your class doesn’t start until the spring or you’ve transferred to a new school after the exam ordering deadline, don’t worry—your coordinator will be able to order your exam, and you won’t be charged a late order fee.

What is the PSAT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) and when is it given?
The PSAT/NMSQT is a school-based test and it is given in October. The PSAT/NMSQT serve several purposes. It provides practice for the SAT; acts as the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program (11th graders only); and offers insight through comprehensive reports into a student's readiness for college.  When students take the PSAT/NMSQT, they are asked if they would like certain information sent to colleges, universities, and scholarship programs that are requested through College Board.  It is recommended to be taken during 10th grade but is open to all.

How many times should I take the SAT?
The majority of colleges and universities take the best verbal and best math scores from all the times each student takes the SAT.  Both junior and senior SAT scores may be submitted. Your school counselors recommend that students take the SAT twice, once in the spring of 11th grade and again in October of 12th grade.

Should I take the ACT?
The ACT assessment is designed to measure high school students’ college readiness and is made up of multiple-choice tests that cover four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. 
Check with our “College & Career” counselor Mrs. Lillard to find out more about  SAT & ACT dates, registration, and fee waivers.



  • Tests College Readiness
  • Three parts: Math, Reading & Writing (optional essay)
  • No penalty for guessing on questions
  • Only needed for admission to University
  •  Register at www.collegeboard.org
  • If you already took the SAT in 11th grade at VVHS for free on campus, your Fee Waiver is already stored in your College Board Account. When you register again for the SAT, you will find that you do not have to pay again, as you are already identified as a student with a Fee Waiver. If you are taking it for the first time, contact Mrs. Lillard, our College & Career Counselor to find out about your Fee Waiver eligibility.
  • Learn more at sat.org/fee-waivers


  • Tests College Readiness
  • Recommended you test in the Spring of your Junior year
  • Four parts: Math, English, Reading & Science (writing part is optional – check to see if the colleges you are applying to require the writing portion)
  • No points deducted for wrong answers
  • Only needed for admission to University
  • Register at www.actstudent.org
  • See Mrs. Lillard, our College & Career Counselor to find out about your Fee Waiver eligibility.


Early Assessment Program

  • Used by Universities and Community Colleges to determine English/Math level
  • Taken in Spring of your Junior Year
  • Earn Exemption from remedial college courses