What are the benefits of taking AP exams in high school?
AP classes are great! These are highly rigorous courses taught at the high school that students can receive college credit for! Imagine starting college with 3 AP classes under your belt, and not having to take those courses in college. You could, for example, take an AP English class and skip your Freshman Composition class. Not only is this a source of bragging rights, but you can save time and money by lowering the number of general education courses you have to take at college.
However, there is one big asterisk to this awesome opportunity. You have to pass the test!! Students must, I repeat MUST!, take the AP exam to have any chance of qualifying for college level credit. Students should consult with their advisor about what qualifying score on the test will be accepted at the college they have chosen so they can receive the maximum amount of credit. For example, if you take the AP English exam (of which there are 2), most schools require you to score a 4 on the AP test to receive credit for English – 101. (AP scores range from 1-5, with 5 being the best.) Other schools may require a score of a 3 or a 5, so it is important that students consult with their college catalog or academic advisor to see if their scores qualify them to receive college credit. So while AP classes by themselves are great, if students want to receive college credit for this work, they must take the test.
(I should also note, that there is no penalty in the admissions process if you take AP courses and do not take the test. However, your interviewer may ask why you decided to do this, as most students do take the test, and in your first meeting with your college advisor you should discuss this choice. Also, doing poorly in your AP test is less important than doing poorly in your AP class itself. So make sure you are not just studying for the test, but working very hard in class too. Plus, if you’re doing well in class you’ll more than likely do just fine on the test!)