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Are AP Classes Worth It?

AP stands for Advanced Placement, and these courses are generally considered to be at the “college level.” The point in taking an AP class is to get college credit for the class after taking the AP exam at the end of the year. Are you up for the challenge, or is it just not worth it to you?
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 In an AP class you will generally receive less worksheets or busy work (depends on the teacher,) and will spend more time taking notes in class and doing independent studying and/or taking notes from a textbook at home. AP courses require a different level of commitment from a regular course, or even Honors/Gifted courses. Teachers will expect you to be able to hold yourself accountable and put in the work on your own. AP material is generally not something you can just read over the night before a test and get an A. During my junior year, I had to spend hours reading and rewriting notes for my AP U.S. History class, and still often only got B’s on the tests. While your in-class workload and test difficulty depend on your teacher, the AP exam at the end of the year is the same for everyone taking that class. AP exams are usually in the beginning of May, last around 4 hours, have multiple choice and free-response/essay portions, and cover all of the material from the entire year. Scores from these exams are released in July and are on a scale of 1-5. 3 is considered passing, but many schools require at least a 4 to get credit, and sometimes only a 5 is accepted. You can usually find a list of all the courses and corresponding scores accepted by a school on their website. AP exam time becomes very stressful, especially when you are taking more than 1 or 2 exams. If you have been studying hard and doing well all year, your studying will be less stressful and you will likely do better, but in general you will have to spend what feels like an endless amount of hours studying in the weeks before the AP exams, and you still may not receive a passing score. If you think you might want to take an AP course, consider whether you have the time/dedication to put in the work required to succeed. Also, AP exams cost money, and while you might qualify for a fee waiver, you don’t want to be paying around 90 dollars for each exam if you aren’t going to pass. One last thing to consider, is the type of school you are applying to. If you plan to go to a local or community college, AP classes are not of as much important as if you were applying to one of the best schools in your state, or even the nation. If you have decided you’d definitely like to try an AP course, at most schools you’ll need to speak to a teacher to get a recommendation to move up into an AP course if you’ve never taken one before. If you would like to get college credits while in high school, but don’t like the idea of an AP class, you should consider speaking to a counselor about Dual Enrollment. Not every school offers this, but your school might. With Dual Enrollment, you can spend part of your day or even your whole school day at a local (usually community) college taking courses that get you both high school and college credits at the same time. You just have to pass the class to get credit, and do not have to take an AP exam. However, this works best if you are planning to attend a school in state. Some colleges would prefer that you just take AP classes, especially if you want to go to a more rigorous out of state school. Check with schools you are considering applying to before you start Dual Enrollment, because not all credits may transfer over, while all credits will count if you get an adequate score on an AP exam. If you are willing to commit and have the available time, AP classes are a great idea and look really good to colleges. Also, AP students get their own set of AP stress-related memes to enjoy 🙂 . Totally worth it, right?

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