During your first year of high school or even in middle school, a type of high school course level often comes into discussion. I remember being really confused when my older sister would talk about classes like AP US History or AP Economics. Are they similar to the regular level class? Are they harder? Easier? I eventually learned the meaning of this course level when I first came into High School. Choosing whether or not to take an AP class is a pretty big decision in one's high school career. So, here is a quick post about what exactly APs are and how you should pick which ones to take!
What is an AP Class?
Advanced Placement Courses, or AP, are unique classes that model what a semester of a college class would be like. So basically, you would be getting half of a year of a college-level education in a full high school year. So to answer the first question that most students have: yes, the classes are more difficult compared to regular-leveled classes.
Benefits from Taking an AP
There are many benefits from taking an AP Class. First would be the impact on one's GPA. Since the APs are college-level courses, grades are often scaled in comparison to regular-leveled classes. Basically if you get a B- in an AP Class, it is seen as a B+ in a regular course. Therefore, the grades are fairly compared for taking such a rigorous class. Another benefit would be the AP Exam. The AP Exam is basically like a national final test that occurs at the end of the course. If you are in AP Chemistry, everyone in the country that is taking that class will take the same AP Exam. The exams are graded on a scale of 1-5. If you get a four or five, then there is the chance that you can skip that course in college! That is pretty great! It does take a lot of hard work to get a five on the exam, so it will truly show how much you studied and worked in the course. APs show colleges that you can handle the rigorous college-level courses.
What AP's Should You Take?
Depending on the School, there are many different AP's that you can participate in. Some schools, do not offer AP- level classes. Some of the AP classes include: AP Computer Science, Chemistry, Biology, Calculus, Physics, United States History, Psychology, United States Government, Statistics, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Spanish, Art, and more. As you can see, there are many different classes you can take! To chose a class, there are many different ideas you should consider when doing so. You should really only take APs that you are truly interested in. Since there is a lot of work involved in taking an AP, you really should want to study the course, otherwise the year could be very stressful. Also, taking too many APs can be incredibly overwhelming. Teachers will often recommend that you start a year by taking one and gradually add more during your high school career. Also, make sure that you have all of the requirements to take the course. As a sophomore, I am currently taking AP Computer Science and AP United States History. Starting my AP student career by taking two classes was very risky. I do often get overwhelmed and stressed. My teachers were also a little skeptical when recommending me because they were worried I would get overloaded with work. However, I took these courses because of how much I love the subjects. As a programmer, AP Computer Science was my first choice for an AP. I really wanted to get an in-depth look into the Java language. I took AP US History because history is also one of my favorite subjects. I already had some experience in US History so I would not be starting from no knowledge.
Choosing AP courses would benefit your high school career is a very important choice. Make sure to choose which subjects you are interested in and to not pick too many courses. Being overwhelmed is not good, especially in such an important time in one's educational career. Consider the requirements and your interests and AP-level classes can be a huge asset in your education experience.