10 Benefits of Taking AP Classes in High School | Pros and Cons

You may be a parent or a student who has heard of Advanced Placement (AP) courses but may need help comprehending their significance or why you must consider enrolling in them. 

But taking AP classes has many advantages that can help your college application. Students who are up for the effort can benefit greatly from taking AP courses, which are demanding college-level classes they can take in high school.

Students can discover the ideal fit for their educational objectives among the various AP courses available to them.

Here are ten (10) benefits of AP classes that you should bear in mind if you’re wondering whether they’re worthwhile.

What Are AP Classes?

Students who take high school courses can receive college credit through the College Board’s AP program. Students can enroll in AP programs in 38 subject areas, including English, social science, math, and various languages. 

Also, students gain college credit by taking the appropriate AP exam for their topic after the school year. However, not all schools provide AP courses.

On a scale of 1 to 5, the College Board rates AP exams. A group of AP teachers and college academics who specialize in the subject area score these exams. Many universities give credit for scores of 3 or higher, which the College Board deems to be a passing grade.

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Why Should You Take AP Classes?

High school students enroll in AP courses for many reasons. First, students can save time and money by earning college credit for completing AP exams. Learners pay a single exam fee rather than the cost of a class’s college tuition. Similarly to this, after students enroll in college, AP credits enable them to forego introductory courses.

Lastly, these courses assist high school students in getting into selective schools. An AP course demonstrates to institutions that a candidate can finish college-level work.

What are the Benefits of Taking AP Classes in High School?

These are the ten (10) advantages of taking AP classes in high school.

1. College Credits

Earning college credits is one of the main benefits of completing AP courses. You can get college credit for the course and show that you can handle a difficult curriculum by getting a high score on an AP exam. 

This implies that you might skip foundational college classes and even graduate early, saving you time and money while you’re in school.

You can get a jump start on your academic career because many colleges and universities provide credit for AP courses due to their recognition of their difficulty.

2. College Admissions

Taking AP courses can help you make a great first impression on college admissions officers by demonstrating a commitment to your education and a desire to push yourself academically.

You can distinguish yourself from other college applicants by taking AP classes to show that you can manage a challenging curriculum.

It demonstrates that you can prosper in a demanding learning environment and be eager to push yourself academically.

3. Stand Out

When you can stand out, why choose to blend in? High AP exam scores can help you set yourself apart from other college hopefuls. It gives you a chance to highlight your academic prowess and get the attention of the admissions examiners. 

You may stand out from other students and present a strong case for admission to elite schools and universities by working hard to earn great AP exam results.

4. Course Rigor

The structure of AP courses is designed to mimic the rigor and standards of college-level work, giving you the chance to cultivate crucial study habits, time-management abilities, and the capacity to succeed in a rigorous academic setting. 

This degree of rigor in the classroom will better equip you for the difficulties of college and provide you with a competitive edge as you start your path through higher education.

5. Higher GPA

AP courses might raise your GPA since they carry a higher weight than typical high school courses. A higher GPA demonstrates your capacity to perform in difficult schoolwork, which can considerably increase your chances of admission to selective colleges or universities.

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6. Intellectual Challenge

You have the chance to improve your critical thinking abilities and obtain a deeper comprehension of the subject matter in AP courses, which are intellectually stimulating.

Your ability to think critically and solve issues will be tested, preparing you for the rigorous academic demands of college.

7. Time Management

Time management is essential when taking AP classes. You will gain vital skills that you can use in college and beyond, such as managing various assignments, tests, and projects.

You’ll be better prepared for success in your future academic and professional efforts if you develop good time management skills in high school.

8. Transferable Skills

The analytical, problem-solving, and critical thinking abilities you gain in AP courses are applicable to different academic and professional settings.

AP courses are an excellent investment in your future success since they prepare you for college-level coursework and give you abilities that will help you in both your academic and professional endeavors.

9. Potential Career Benefits

You can use AP courses to get ready for particular college majors and career prospects. For instance, taking AP classes in STEM fields can help you get a head start on a career in math, science, technology, or engineering. Likewise, AP classes in business, the social sciences, or other subjects might give you a sound basis for your future professional goals.

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10. Personal Growth

You can increase your self-assurance, independence, and intellectual curiosity by enrolling in AP classes. You will encounter hard material and learn to push your limits, both of which will make you a more well-rounded person.

What are the Financial Benefits of Taking AP Classes?

Students can save thousands of dollars on college tuition by enrolling in AP courses. An AP exam registration normally costs $95 for each test. You can frequently get three college credits if you get a three or higher on the test.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, In-state public institutions average $4,402 in tuition and fees every semester, whereas private universities charge close to $15,000 per semester.

With AP exams, you may obtain a semester’s worth of college credit for about $380, which is a huge saving over the price of obtaining 12 credits at a four-year institution.

What Are the Easiest AP Classes?

All AP courses demand college-level work from high school students, but some AP courses are more challenging than others.

They report high pass rates and a significant proportion of students earning a perfect five on the exam for the easiest AP courses. Calculus, physics, and computer science are the AP exams with the highest average scores.

The pass percentage for AP language examinations is often high as well, with Chinese (89.9%), Japanese (89.9%), and Spanish (88.7%) being among the most popular.

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What Are the Hardest AP Classes?

Although every student excels in various areas, there are some AP exams where the majority of test takers still need to achieve a passing score.

English literature (49.7%), environmental science (49.2%), and human geography (49.1%) are the AP exams with the lowest pass percentages. More students pass the statistics (59.7%) and computer science (69.6%) courses than English literature.

How Many AP Classes Should You Take?

There isn’t a magic number that all students should adhere to when deciding how many AP courses to enroll in, which is unfortunate. First, think about why you are taking AP classes to determine how many of them you need.

High school students enroll in AP programs to distinguish themselves on college applications and to receive college credits.

Taking classes in a variety of disciplines will help you develop a well-rounded application if you’re primarily taking AP classes to impress colleges. 

Focusing your education on a particular subject, such as your intended college major, might also be beneficial. It makes sense to stretch out your AP coursework over multiple years using this method.

Packaging your calendar during your final year can make more sense if you’re mostly taking AP subjects for college credits. You won’t receive your AP exam results by the deadlines for college applications, but you can still earn credits toward your degree.

Colleges frequently look at the number of AP classes on a transcript when evaluating applications. They anticipate seeing more AP classes at schools that are more competitive. 

This is so that AP classes can show how prepared a high school student is for college. Although some want up to eight lessons, most people aim for an average of five.

The optimal moment to enroll in AP classes is still being determined; it depends on the courses your school provides. In your sophomore year, PrepScholar advises taking 1-3 AP classes; in your junior year, 2-4 AP classes; and in your senior year, 3-5 AP classes.

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Can You Take an Exam if You Didn’t Take an AP Class?

Yes. High school students can register for AP tests even if they do not take an AP course on that subject. With this choice, kids who attend schools without AP courses can still get college credit. Test takers in this circumstance can obtain college credit, but the AP exam won’t show up on their high school transcripts.

Do You Have to Take an Exam if You Take an AP Class?

No, AP students are not required to take the final test at the end of the course. Some students could enroll in AP courses for the increased intellectual challenge rather than intending to pass the exam.

Are There AP Alternatives?

Many states provide alternatives to the AP. In certain jurisdictions, for instance, the Running Start program enables high school students to obtain college credit by enrolling in college classes at nearby community colleges.

The Running Start program was first implemented in Washington State and currently runs in Hawaii, Montana, Illinois, and New Hampshire. The dual-credit classes award college credits while also counting toward high school graduation requirements.

To take an AP exam, keep in mind that you do not need to register for an official AP course. Even if their schools don’t offer AP programs on that topic, students can take an AP exam and get credits for passing grades.

Lastly, high school students can still stand out in their college applications without receiving AP credit. Even if a high school internship or apprenticeship does not result in college credit, it might still be beneficial for the application process.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Format of the Tests?

The format changes based on the topic. Students typically complete a written section and a multiple-choice section. A test-taker has three options for the written section: writing an essay, solving a problem, or finishing a spoken exam.

What Is the Scale for Scoring?

The scale for AP exam scores is 1 to 5. Most universities, but not all, grant credit to students who get a passing score of three or above. Verify the precise AP score criteria with your potential institutions by contacting them.

How much time are the tests?

Most AP tests last two to three hours.

What Time Are AP Exams?

The College Board gives AP tests in 38 topics during the first two weeks of May each year.

Are AP Exams Available Online?

Yes. Online AP exam taking is an option. Due to COVID-19, all AP exams switched to an online format in 2020. As this may change in the future, current students interested in taking AP coursework online for college credit should speak with their school counselors.

If your AP test score was low, may you retake it?

Yes. If a student has a poor score on an AP exam, they may retake it. However, you will have to wait since the College Board only offers the AP tests once a year.

Conclusion 

Taking AP classes in high school can help you gain college credit in addition to your diploma and lower your undergraduate tuition costs. The 38 subjects covered on the AP exams are covered in the classes that prepare students to take them. If they pass these exams, students can gain college credit.

The benefits of taking AP classes, the hardest and easiest AP courses, and how much money you can save by taking AP tests have all been covered in this article.

References 

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