What are AP Classes? Why should you take them? (2023)

What are AP Classes? Why should you take them? (1)

If you've recently started high school or are about to start high school, you might be wondering, "What are AP classes?" You may have heard that they are very advanced or that you can earn college credit by passing AP exams.But how exactly do these classes work?

Continue reading our AP course guide and find out how these specialized courses can help you progress.

What is Advanced Positioning?

Advanced Placement is a program administered by the College Board (the creators of the SAT) that allows you to take special high school courses that earn you college credit and/or qualify you for more advanced classes when you graduate with college begin.

What are AP courses?They are designed to give you the experience of an introductory college class while you are still in high school.You can also earn college credit for the course if you pass the AP exam.

AP classes were created in the mid-1950s in response to the growing gap between high school (high school) and college. A pilot program in 1952 had 11 subjects, howeverAP was not officially published until the 1956 school year, when the College Board took over and named it the College Board Advanced Placement Program.

This program has expanded rapidly over the years.Nowadays,Approximately 2.8 million students take AP exams in 38 subjects each year.It's also much more common for students to take multiple AP classes during their high school careers.

What are AP Classes? Why should you take them? (2)

Well, stuff from an introductory class in college... you're not going to be in a classroom like this until college!

But what exactly are AP exams?An AP exam is basically a test of everything you learn in an AP course. Typically, you get college credits if you pass the exam.Delivered in May at the end of the year. (AP tests are scored between 1 and 5, with any score above 3 counting as a pass).

Although it is possible to skip the AP course and study independently for an AP exam, it is highly recommended that you take the appropriate course.AP classes are specifically designed to help students prepare for their AP exams.

Taking an AP course and passing the exam is a sign that you are capable of handling college-level work, which will greatly strengthen your college applications.

What are AP Classes? Why should you take them? (3)

Thinking about college applications?

If you're a freshman, sophomore, or junior worried about college admissions, our world-class admissions advisors can help.We know exactly what kind of students universities want to host and can make sure your profile shines.

Admission to preparatory schoolis the best admissions consultancy in the world. We've helped thousands of students get into theirsschools of choice, from state universities to the Ivy League.

Join our mentoring program today:

What are AP Classes? Why should you take them? (4)

Why take AP courses? 3 main benefits

Now that you know what AP courses are, why would you even consider taking them? Here are three potential benefits of taking AP courses.

#1: You can improve your college applications

Taking an AP course (or several!) is a great way to challenge yourself academically and show colleges that you take your education seriously. An AP grade on your transcript indicates a stronger academic background, especially with high passing scores of 4 and 5 on the exam.

In particular,Getting a 5 on an AP exam shows that you are more advanced in a subject than 80-90% of advanced studentsWhich looks very impressive for universities!

Because AP courses are challenging and require you to study for a comprehensive exam, they will provide you with skills that will help you in college classes. According to the University CouncilStudents who take AP exams get better grades in collegethan those with similar qualifications whoNOTake AP exams.

What are AP Classes? Why should you take them? (5)

They basically have a head start in college.

Many universities sayMake sure you have taken the most difficult courses available at your school. Oftentimes, taking AP courses is the best way to show you're academically challenging at your school.

For example,Yale stateson its admissions website: "We only hope that you will enjoy [AP] courses when your school offers them." In other words,if your school has AP courses and youNOWhen you pick them up, it might seem like you're not challenging yourself.

To give an example from the west coast,USC is easier: "Students should take Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes whenever possible and when offered by the secondary school."

Achieving a high score of 4 or 5 further demonstrates your academic potential to colleges.(By the way, if you're curious about a college's suggested tuition load, visit the admissions website for "Admissions Requirements for [School Name].")

#2: They can show their passion

Taking AP exams is alsoa way to demonstrate genuine academic interest in a particular subject. For example, if you are an aspiring engineer, taking AP Calculus and AP Physics and passing the exams will show the college admissions boards that you are serious about engineering and have the skills to pursue it.

On the other hand, ifAre you interested in political science or pre-legal professions?, AP US History, AP US Government, AP Statistics, and/or AP Economics would demonstrate strong preparation for these subjects.

SimThey expect to be a premed, majoring in AP Chemistry, AP Biology, and/or AP Calculus indicate that you have the necessary skills and experience to deal with difficult situations.Pre-Med Classes as a College Student.

Looking for help studying for the AP exam?

Our one-on-one online AP tutoring services can help you prepare for your AP exams. Connect with a top teacher who has scored high on the exam you are studying for!

What are AP Classes? Why should you take them? (6)

#3: They could give you college credits

Some colleges award credit for AP classes.This allows you to complete your studies in the shortest possible time and save money!

For example,At Harvard, you can apply for Advanced Standingif you have completed a year of college courses with AP exams. Also the University of MichiganGrants students new course credits and higher class placements for AP exams.

However, some colleges use scores to place students in higher classes, butDon't allow these credits to meet graduation requirements, so you can't graduate early. Likewise, other schools may allow you to earn college credit but have limitations on the AP exams they accept.

For example, Stanford University accepts AP credits for many AP courses in science, language arts, and math.but no history or English courses..

Washington University in St. Louis grants some AP test pointsHowever, you cannot use these credits to meet general education requirements:

"A maximum of 15 credit units for pre-enrolment can be credited towards a college degree. These units will count towards the degree but do not meet general educational requirements."

Despite all that, the boost in more advanced courses can help you get through a major course faster and allow you to take more advanced and interesting courses as a freshman.Even if you don't get credit for your AP scores, AP courses can still help you.

If you are curious about a university's AP policy,the College Board has a databaseYou can use to look up each school's policy.

What are AP Classes? Why should you take them? (7)

The fewer years you spend in college, the less you have to spend!

How to register for AP courses and exams

You can apply for an AP course through the normal high school registration process. keep this in mindSome schools have prerequisite courses that you must takeBeforeYou can sign up for an AP class. If you have any questions about this, contact your advisor.

You register through your school for the AP tests, which take timea designated AP coordinator(often a mentor) to help with the process. If you are homeschooled or want to take an AP exam for a class your school does not offer,Contact your local school's AP coordinator.

AP test cost$94 each.Some schools offer scholarships andThe College Board has financial supportin the form of a $32 fee reduction.

Remember when you pass the AP exam,You can exchange your score for college credits once you get through college. While that $94 fee is exorbitant, it's a steal compared to the cost of attending the same class for a semester in college!

that follow?

Now that you know about AP courses, which ones should you take? Check overourfull list of AP exams. Also,Learn more about the duration of AP testsand how to deal with exam fatigue.

Also studying for the SAT?Learn to strengthen yoursreading,mathematics, Ofwritten notesand become indispensableSAT test tips.

Are you preparing for the ACT instead?Check overour definitive ACT study guide, OfGet expert advice on how to write a great essay for ACT writing section.

Would you like to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?We've written a guide for each test with the 5 best strategies to use to stand a chance of improving your score. Download now for free:

What are AP Classes? Why should you take them? (8)

What are AP Classes? Why should you take them? (9)

Do you have friends who also need help preparing for the test?Share this article!

What are AP Classes? Why should you take them? (10)

Halle Edwards

About the author

Halle Edwards graduated from Stanford University with honors. In high school, he achieved 99th percentile scores on the ACT and 99th percentile scores on the SAT subject tests. He also took nine AP courses and got a perfect 5 on seven AP exams. As a graduate of a large public secondary school that claims to have largely addressed the college entrance process, I am passionate about helping secondary school students from diverse backgrounds impart the knowledge they need to successfully enter higher education.

Get free guides to improve your SAT/ACT


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Annamae Dooley

Last Updated: 01/01/2024

Views: 6673

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (65 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Annamae Dooley

Birthday: 2001-07-26

Address: 9687 Tambra Meadow, Bradleyhaven, TN 53219

Phone: +9316045904039

Job: Future Coordinator

Hobby: Archery, Couponing, Poi, Kite flying, Knitting, Rappelling, Baseball

Introduction: My name is Annamae Dooley, I am a witty, quaint, lovely, clever, rich, sparkling, powerful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.