What AP Classes should I take?

October 4, 2022
By AdmissionSight

What AP Classes should I take?

What are Advanced Placement Classes?

Students have the opportunity to earn college credit for courses they took while still enrolled in high school through the Advanced Placement (AP) program, which is administered by the College Board.

Students have access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses in a total of 38 subject areas, including English, social science, mathematics, and a variety of languages. Students take the appropriate Advanced Placement exam for their field of study at the end of the school year in order to earn college credit in that field. However, not all schools provide Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

Why should you enroll in Advanced Placement Classes?

Before asking yourself, “What AP Classes should I take?”, it is important that you know why you should take them in the first place. Students in high school enroll in Advanced Placement classes for a variety of reasons.

To begin with, students have the opportunity to earn college credit toward their degrees, which will save them both time and money if they are able to pass the Advanced Placement exams.

are only required to pay one exam fee, as opposed to paying college tuition prices for a class. Similarly, Advanced Placement (AP) credits enable students to bypass required foundational courses once they enroll in college.

Three students reading a book while sitting.

Finally, these classes give high school students an advantage when applying to highly selective colleges. An Advanced Placement class demonstrates to colleges that a candidate is capable of completing work at the college level.

How does the scoring work for AP Classes?

The Advanced Placement (AP) exams are scored on a scale of 1-5 by the College Board. The scores on these examinations are determined by a committee comprised of AP teachers and college professors who are experts in the relevant subject areas. According to the College Board, a score of three is required to pass an exam, and the majority of colleges will award credit for scores of three or higher.

Financial benefits of taking AP Classes

Students who complete Advanced Placement (AP) coursework can reduce the overall cost of their college education by thousands of dollars. The cost of registration for each Advanced Placement exam is typical $95. In most cases, you will be able to earn three college credits if you earn a score of three or higher on the examination.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the tuition and fees charged by public schools within a state average $4,402 per semester, while the tuition and fees charged by private universities average nearly $15,000 per semester.

You can earn college credit equivalent to one semester’s worth by taking Advanced Placement exams for a total cost of only $380. This is a significant saving compared to the cost of earning 12 credits at a four-year college or university.

What AP Classes should I take?

To identify what AP Classes should you take, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What Advanced Placement courses are available at your school?

Talk to the guidance counselor at your high school to get a list of the advanced placement classes offered there. There are a total of 38 Advanced Placement (AP) subjects, but it’s unlikely that your school will teach them all.

You should, as a general rule, make it a priority to enroll in classes each year that are related to English, science, mathematics, the social sciences, and a foreign language. Colleges like to see that applicants are willing to push themselves, so if your high school offers Advanced Placement (AP) classes in any of these subject areas, you should seriously consider enrolling in them.

2. In which areas do you thrive?

Do you love languages? If you have been studying Spanish throughout your time in high school, you should seriously consider enrolling in either Advanced Placement Spanish Literature or Advanced Placement Spanish Language during your senior year.

Students listening intently in a classroom.

Are you interested in the past? It’s possible that Advanced Placement U.S. History will be your chance to shine.

Take into account your previous academic performance and focus on subjects in which you’ve already demonstrated proficiency.

3. If you went to college, what subject(s) would you want to major in?

Your transcript will be able to reflect what you say about yourself in your application if you take Advanced Placement. Taking Advanced Placement classes shows college admissions officers that you are prepared for the academic rigor of college.

In addition, by taking these classes and achieving high scores on the associated Advanced Placement examinations, you can avoid having to take introductory courses once you get to your university, which will enable you to concentrate on developing your expertise right away.

What AP Classes should I take?

The Advanced Placement curriculum is designed to prepare high school students to perform at the college level; however, some AP classes are more challenging than others.

The easiest Advanced Placement classes typically have a high number of students who are able to pass the exam with a passing score of five out of five points. Calculus, physics, and computer science are the subjects that students do best in when taking their Advanced Placement exams.

The Advanced Placement (AP) language exams typically report a high pass rate as well, with Chinese having an 89.9% pass rate, Japanese having an 89.9% pass rate, and Spanish having an 88.7% pass rate.

What AP Classes should I take? – AP Exams with the highest scores

Here are the AP Classes and their percentage scores:

  • Chinese Language – 60.1%
  • Japanese Language –  45.3%
  • Calculus BC – 43.0%
  • Physics C – 37.7%
  • Computer Science – 26.7%

What AP Classes should I take?

Although every student is exceptional in some areas of study, there are some Advanced Placement exams on which the vast majority of test-takers do not achieve a passing score.

The Advanced Placement tests in English literature have a pass rate of 49.7%, environmental science has a pass rate of 49.2%, and human geography has a pass rate of 49.1%. The statistics class has 59.7% and the computer science class has 69.6%.

Female student smiling for the camera while holding her things.

The Advanced Placement courses with the highest difficulty also have the highest percentage of students whose scores are the lowest possible (1). The Advanced Placement exams that received the lowest scores are listed in the table below.

What AP Classes should I take? – AP Exams with the lowest scores

Here are the AP Classes and their percentage scores:

  • Human Geography accounts for 34.1%
  • Macro Economics – 26.2%
  • Physics 1 – 25.9%
  • Environmental Science – 25.4%
  • History – 24.3%

How many Advanced Placement courses should I try to get?

Students may already have the answer to the question “What AP classes should I take?”, but they may also wonder how many AP classes will be enough for them to take. There is, alas, no magic number that can be applied to all students when determining the appropriate number of advanced placement courses to enroll in. Students just need to think about what they want to get out of taking Advanced Placement classes before deciding how many they need to take.

Students in high school enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) classes in order to distinguish themselves on their college applications and earn college credit.

If you are primarily interested in taking Advanced Placement classes so that you can impress colleges, taking classes in a variety of topics can help create a well-rounded application for you.

It may also be beneficial to focus your academic pursuits on a particular subject, such as the major you intend to pursue in college. It is prudent to space out the years in which you take Advanced Placement (AP) courses using this approach.

It is possible that you will benefit more from packing as much as possible into your senior year schedule if the majority of the advanced placement classes you are taking are for college credit.

Even though you won’t have your AP scores in time to submit them with your college applications, you can still earn credits that will count toward your degree.

How many advanced placement courses are colleges looking for?

When reviewing applicants, colleges frequently look at the number of Advanced Placement (AP) classes that are listed on their transcripts. They anticipate seeing a greater number of advanced placement classes at schools that are more competitive.

College professor explaining to her students about a lesson.

The reason for this is that taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school demonstrates that a student is prepared for college. The ideal number of classes for the majority of students is five, while others look for as many as eight.

When should you enroll in Advanced Placement classes?

The optimal time to enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) courses is not predetermined; rather, it is contingent on the curriculum that is available at the student’s institution. It is recommended that you take one to three Advanced Placement classes during your sophomore year, two to four AP classes during your junior year, and three to five AP classes during your senior year.

If you haven’t taken any AP classes, are you still able to take the exams?

Yes. Students in high school have the option to register for Advanced Placement (AP) examinations even if they do not take an AP course in the subject area. Students who attend high schools that do not provide Advanced Placement (AP) courses have the opportunity to still earn college credit through this option.

However, despite the fact that test-takers in this circumstance are eligible to earn college credit, the AP test will not be recorded on their high school transcripts.

If you take an Advanced Placement class, are you required to take AP exams?

Students who sign up for Advanced Placement (AP) courses are not required to take the exam that is given at the end of the course. It’s possible that some people will sign up for Advanced Placement courses solely for the additional intellectual challenge they present, without any intention of actually taking the exam.

Are there any alternatives to the AP program?

A number of states provide alternate paths to the AP. For instance, the Running Start program is available in several states, and it gives high school students the opportunity to earn college credit by enrolling in college courses offered by local community colleges.

Running Start is now offered in a number of other states in addition to its original home state of Washington, including Hawaii, Montana, Illinois, and New Hampshire. The dual-credit courses count toward the requirements for high school graduation while also awarding college credit to the students who successfully complete them.

Female student explaining something to her classmate.

Keep in mind that in order to sit for an Advanced Placement exam, you do not need to be enrolled in an actual AP class. Even if their schools do not offer Advanced Placement (AP) classes in a particular topic, students can still take the AP exam and earn credit for passing it if they receive a passing score.

At long last, there is a way for high school students to differentiate themselves in their college applications even if they do not earn AP credit. Even if the internship or apprenticeship you complete while still in high school does not result in the awarding of college credit, the experience can still be beneficial during the application process.

How can you tell if you’ve had too much of something? It is possible that you have taken on too much for yourself if you have noticed a decline in your grades in non-AP classes, or if you are finding it difficult to participate in the sports and/or extracurricular activities that you normally do.

Don’t give in to the pressure that your peers are putting on you; just because one of your friends has already taken 10 AP exams doesn’t mean that you have to do the same thing. Because of the holistic nature of the review process for college applications, it is essential to maintain the same GPA, ACT/SAT scores, and activities throughout the application process.

Again, taking an additional AP class will not make or break your chances of getting into the school of your choice; however, if it causes your grade point average to drop or your performance in extracurricular activities to suffer, then it could be hurting you.

Make sure that you give yourself a sufficient amount of time to prepare for either the SAT or the ACT. Your performance on that test will have a significant impact not only on your admissions chances but also on your eligibility for scholarships at other schools.

Finally, when you sign up for classes, make sure you have a backup plan ready to go. For instance, if you begin BC Calculus and then decide that it is too difficult for you, you should investigate whether or not it is possible to transfer down to AB Calculus. You should also be prepared to switch to an honors class or regular classes if you find that taking an AP class is negatively impacting your grade point average and taking up too much of your time.

Before you sign up for advanced placement classes, talk to your school’s guidance counselor about the process for making changes to your schedule in the middle of the school year.

At AdmissionSight, we guide you on exactly the path to take to be able to secure college admission. We have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process to get accepted to the top universities in the world. Feel free to set up an appointment today to book your initial consultation.


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