With the end of 2018 and the new year already underway, students will be preparing in the next few months to sign up to take the Advanced Placement Tests for this year’s classes and to decide which Advanced Placement classes they will take next year as part of their class selection and registration. So let's figure out: what are Advanced Placement Classes? And why are they an important and integral part of a student's academic profile?
Advanced Placement Classes are generally going to be some of the most rigorous and difficult course students can take at the high school level. These are courses that are intended to be the equivalent of a first year college course on the same topic. These classes serve as a way to demonstrate that a student is already prepared to deal with the rigor that is inherent in many college level courses and can also demonstrate a student's interest in a specific field or major.
As a bonus, like some Honors classes, for student that do well in such AP classes, their weighted GPA can get a significant boost, treating AP classes with A's as being worth 5 in weighted GPA calculations (normally, an A is worth 4 in weighted GPA calculations).
As such, it is crucial that students carefully consider which AP classes to take and whether or not they can do well in such classes, as doing poorly in an AP class reflects
poorly on a student's abilities in the subject
their own judgement in determining what are their academic limits, and
their ability to balance the many activities high school students usually have on their plate as part of presenting a cohesive student profile.
Structure of the AP Exams
The Advanced Placement exams are typically taken after completion of an Advanced Placement course (exceptions apply). Generally, high schools require students who have taken an Advanced Placement course to also take the Advanced Placement exam for the course. They serve as a way to demonstrate a student's understanding of the material and for some colleges and universities, the exam score can earn student college credit, allowing for the fulfillment of some prerequisites and making it possible for a student to move to more advanced courses a bit earlier.
YOU DO THE AP CLASS, YOU DO THE AP TEST
Depending on the college or university, an AP Exam score of 3, 4, or 5 is worth some college credit. Different colleges and universities may offer differing amounts of credit, so it is important to double check with the college or university to verify whether or not your scores on specific Advanced Placement Exams will give you college credit or not. However, it is strongly recommended that students taking an Advanced Placement test aim to get a 4 or 5 to maximize the odds that schools they apply may give college credit and/or prerequisite fulfillment.
One of the exceptions to taking the Advanced Placement exam after taking the Advanced Placement course is the possibility of self-studying for an AP exam and take the exam without taking the Advanced Placement course. This is generally ONLY advised for students that are self-motivated and extremely self-disciplined and highly recommended for AP courses that are not offered at a student's local high school, which students have an interest in.