Advanced Placement (AP) Courses: Everything you wanted to know

The basics

  • Advanced Placement (AP) courses are provided by the College Board to schools throughout the United States.
  • There are over 30 courses available and they are an excellent option for high school students who are preparing for college. AP courses provide students with a rigorous learning experience and expose them to coursework that requires deeper critical thinking and encourages debate about concepts and theories.
  • The standardized curriculum, assessments, and instruction in an AP class are designed to mirror what a student is likely to experience in a college course.

Why should I take AP courses?

College credit

In addition to the overall learning benefits of taking an AP course, you may earn college credit for an AP course if you get the required score of a 4 or 5 on the final AP Exam. Not only will you (and your parents!) save money by having a few college credits transfer from high school, you may be able to bypass all those required introductory courses when you start college.

 

GPA

Also, an AP course carries a heavier weight when calculating a student’s high school Grade Point Average (GPA).

 

For example, a standard level Chemistry course is weighted on a GPA scale of 0 to 4 while an AP Chemistry course is weighted on a 0 to 5-point scale. This has the potential to impact a GPA significantly.

 

College admission

Overall, a portfolio of AP courses on a high school transcript provides a competitive advantage when applying to colleges and universities. If you take AP-level courses, this shows college admissions that you are motivated to complete a challenging course load and that you have worked hard to prepare for college-level classes.

 

I heard that AP courses are difficult. Is that true?

Yes, AP courses are challenging, but are also designed to provide you with support along the way. Because of the rigor involved in taking them, it is best to take AP courses in subjects that you like and may want to study in future. Avoid advanced placement in subjects that you already struggle with or those that do not interest you.

 

Get help when you need it

If you find yourself struggling a bit, there are a variety of study resources and tutoring options available to help you catch upand gain a better understanding of concepts.

Here at Stutorialz we provide you with adaptive tutoring plans to help you stay on pace or slightly ahead of your classroom pace. Stutorialzuses a hybrid instructional approach which combines the use of an online learning management system with frequent, live instructor-led sessions. To further support you, there is a dedicated Support Counselor that is assigned to help you along the way.

 

How early should I start taking AP courses?

Many parents and students are under the assumption that they aren’t able to take AP courses or exams until later in High School, or only if a teacher recommends it. As a matter of fact, AP courses and exams can be taken as early as 9th grade.

Get together with your parents and your counselor to determine if this option is best for you.

 

I’m interested in a career in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) field. What AP courses should I take?

If you are interested in a STEM-related career, there are plenty of AP courses to help you prepare for the rigors of a university major in one of the STEM fields. The best thing you can do is get started early!

For example, if you are interested in studying biology or medicine in college, you can take AP Biology as early as 9th grade. This would allow you time to also take AP Chemistry, AP Physics, and AP Environmental Science in subsequent years. If you achieve the required scores on all your AP exams, you’ve potentially bypassed required courses that you usually would take your first year or two in college. What a great head start, right?

 

What if my high school does not offer the AP courses that I want to take?

Not all schools offer AP courses. Plus, even if your school does offer AP, the courses you want may not fit your schedule. If this is your situation, there are options to enroll in programs outside of your school to help you prepare to sit for the AP exam.

Stutorialzprovides you with opportunities to take an AP course as an outside, standalone course. The Stutorialzcourses do not provide high school course credit; however, the curriculum and hands-on tutor instruction are designed to prepare you to be successful on the requisite AP Exam. If you take the exam and earn the required score, you can earn college credit for that course.

Again, discuss options with your parents and your school counselor and feel free to message us here at STUTORIALZ if you have additional questions about AP course options that are offered on Stutorialz.com.

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