In high school ('93-'97), I took every AP class I could (CS, English, Chemistry, History, etc). Each class had about 20 to 30 people in it, and I don't think a single one of us took the AP exam. AP wasn't so much about being able to take an exam to get college credit, but was more about being challenged. For me, I specifically did it to better prepare me for college. And honestly, it made college easier, and I did better overall than I would have otherwise.