Taking AP Classes: Pros and Cons

AP – if you live somewhere that doesn’t offer it – stands for Advanced Placement.

Essentially, high schools across America (and some international schools/testing centers) offer “college level” courses in replacement of high school ones (of the same course, so AP World History vs Honors or regular World History).

The course is taught according to College Board standards by an AP certified teacher. The courses have a weighted GPA (basically extra points on your final grade because the classes are hard) and at the end of the year, in May, you must take the dreaded AP test.

The tests can take about 4 hours, encompassing the entire course and are scored on a 1-5 scale. 5 being the highest, 3 being the minimum passing rate. Depending on your score, you can get college credits – free, meaning you can graduate faster, and pay less because you don’t need to pay for prerequisite courses because you’ll start college with the credit already.

If you’re smart/stubborn enough, it can be really good.

It is also STRESSFUL AS HELL.

So, AP classes Pros and Cons. Let’s discuss!


Pros:

A higher weighted GPA – Grade Point Average – (AP adds two points, so a 2.0 in an AP class is “weighted” into your GPA as a 4.0, etc.)

Looks great for colleges, even if you don’t do great on the exam.

Chance for college credit (if you pass the exam, and if the college you’re applying to accepts the specific credit).

Gives you an advantage for when you have the take the same or a similar course in college, having been exposed to the material.


Cons:

Again, STRESSFUl – Its called Advanced Placement for a reason, and its a much harder, more rigorous course load than virtually another program except maybe IB or Dual Enrollment (depending on school, AP can actually be harder).

More homework.

The stress of an all encompassing 3-4 hour test in May looming over your head.

Most top schools will not accept the credit at all or unless you get a 5 (varies).


In Conclusion:

If your school offers AP, I recommend taking at least a few in the subject(s) you enjoy/plan to major in as it can be highly beneficial for college and it doesn’t cost you anything. Only take what you can handle though, failing because you took 6 at a time looks pretty bad.

I especially recommend taking AP courses of the courses you’d have to take regardless to graduate (i.e. take AP US History instead of Regular US History cause you need it to graduate anyways, might as well get something out of the class you probably don’t want to take anyways – and have a chance of getting out of taking it again 2 years later for undergrad).


On The Classes I’ve Taken:

Freshman year I took the only AP class my school offered me:

AP World History

AP World is a class I didn’t like much. I am not the greatest fan of history, and this class is kind of fast paced and all encompassing (there is A LOT to cover) and I had a teacher that wasn’t really interested in teaching. But I got an A – it isn’t difficult so much as boring. And I got a 3 on the AP test (the minimum for passing) without really studying/being interested/knowing what to expect.

Sophomore Year:

AP Biology

AP Biology is a class I felt it all but mandatory for me to take, considering I want to major in Biology and want to study medicine, Biology is fairly important for me. I loved this class, it was interesting to me, but really difficult. It covers two semesters of college Bio and its a lot to take in but I thought it was worth it. I studied so much I was dreaming mitosis. But I got a 5.

AP Psychology

I want to go into neurology, and since psych also deals with the brain, I figured it would be a good class to take. I loved the class, I think its been my favorite class in high school over all. And it isn’t as difficult compared to other AP classes (as an elective course). I also got a 5 on this one, but I didn’t study nearly as much.

Junior Year:

AP English Language And Composition

Taking this now, I have my same English teacher as tenth grade english which is great. I’m getting A’s, and I’m not terrible at essay writing. I like the class, and I’;; definitely be more prepared for college than my friends taking 11th grade english. I am not a fan of Rhetorical analysis though. I did get a 5 on our first mock exam though, so I should do good come May.

AP US History

This is so boring to me but its a fairly easy AP class. And since I’d have to take the class anyway, taking AP can only be a good thing.

AP Chemistry

Again, I want to be a doctor. And Chemistry is kind of important to that. But oh my god do I hate this class. I like the material, but its difficult and we have to stay after school for 2 hour labs and our teacher doesn’t teach half of what she tests us on and its stressing me out more than everything else combined. But again, I kind of have to take and pass this to be a doctor.

AP Calculus AB

Math is hard. This class makes me cry. But I have an A despite failing my midterm to hell (high D – yeah I know). I go to every tutoring session though. I want to pass the test. Really make sure you’re good at math before taking this. Seriously.

Senior Year: (Next years classes, can’t say much on them)

AP Environmental Science

I’m taking this next year since this is the last AP science other than Physics C left for me to take at my school, and this interests me for more than more math.

AP US Government and Macro-Economics

I have to take this, might as well take the AP version.

AP English Literature

I took AP Lang, taking this just makes sense.

AP Calculus BC

Might as well.


 

So, thats my experience with AP and my thoughts on it.

Tell me if you have anything to add. What classes are you taking? What classes of the above would you like me to make a study guide for?

Tell me what you think!

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8 thoughts on “Taking AP Classes: Pros and Cons

  1. I took AP and AICE classes throughout high school and they were helpful in the long run. Surprisingly I only failed two exams, AP European History and AICE Statistics. AICE is a little different from AP in that it is more essay based and has no multiple choice, but gives more room for passing an exam. I took several AICE courses and that allowed me to have college credit and also earned me a scholarship. So in my experience, AICE exams are better than AP. The classes were also less stressful.

    I took 3 AP classes in total including European History, Art, and Psychology. I was able to pass the art exam with a 3 and psychology with a 4.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. xtine says:

    I took history/English APs (math & science are not my thing) when I was in high school. I ended up getting out of 2 semesters of college English, but I didn’t score well enough on the history AP exams to get credit at the college I chose. I will say that taking AP history classes taught me how to think like a college student more than anything else. Because of the way the exams are structured, it’s much less about memorization and more about the significance and overall historical themes – which lines up with my experience with all types of social science college courses. The earlier you learn to think critically about the bigger picture, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

    Liked by 1 person

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