AP Courses: Making the Commitment

Advanced Placement, or AP courses, offer college-level curriculum to high school students with the opportunity to master specific subject-related skills and earn college credits at thousands of universities. AP classes are no walk in the park, but with some real commitment, you can be successful in both the course and the corresponding exam.

It is right for you?

When deciding whether a certain AP course is right for you, think about what subjects interest you most and whether you are willing to challenge yourself within this particular subject. Talk with an advisor or the teacher before enrolling to determine whether you’re ready for college-level work. AP courses are taught by high school teachers using the AP Course Descriptions, which provides a significant source of information about the course content and goals, as well as sample exam questions.

Despite the more rigorous coursework, there are many benefits to enrolling in an AP class. The fact that you’ve taken on the challenge of an advanced course and scored highly already shows colleges and universities that you have what it takes to succeed in the undergrad environment.

AP Credit can also help you decide on a major earlier on in the college process which will help you graduate on time and allows you to gain an advantage over your peers. Additionally, in the incredibly competitive college admissions process, certain colleges look favorably on or require AP courses and credit when they consider applications.

If you score highly on your AP exam, you may be able to bypass college introductory classes and enroll in higher level courses. Given the cost of college credits, success on AP exams could save you a good deal of money on tuition.

The AP Exam

After completing a year of an AP course, you have the chance to demonstrate what you have learned and how well you’ve mastered the content and skills of a particular course by taking a standardized exam. Students throughout the nation take their AP exams in May, and each exam varies depending on the subject. There are over 30 AP exams for a variety of subjects from Chemistry and Statistics to European History and Chinese Language and Culture. Exams are scored on a scale from 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest score.

If you feel comfortable enough with the subject matter, you can also sit for the AP exam without having taken the course. If you are considering this option, talk with the AP coordinator or advisor for your high school.

Find colleges and universities that offer credit or placement for AP scores. Different universities have varying policies on AP credit, so be sure to check the college’s website for the most up-to-date AP credit policy information.

If you plan to apply to specific universities, be sure to look at what AP courses, if any, they require in order to factor this into your long-term admissions plan.

For more information on Advanced Placement classes or to get help preparing for an AP exam, contact Aureus Prep.

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