Story by Haley Dixon
Everybody has at least heard of an AP exam, whether they themselves are taking an AP course or they know someone who is in an AP class. AP classes are classes that once completed, you are required to take an exam. If you pass the exam, you get college credit for the class. If you don’t, the time you spent in the class is essentially wasted.
AP classes are difficult, as one would be able to tell from the name “Advanced Placement.” However, it is beneficial for students to take the class during high school rather than during college, as you get to take the class and the exam for free, and most AP classes do not require an end-of-course exam, with the only exception being AP US History. Despite the challenging content and excessive work the courses will include, it could be worth it if the college you want to go to accept your AP credits that you’ve earned over the last four years.
Surprisingly, though, many prestigious colleges do not accept AP credits. Colleges such as Dartmouth, Columbia, and Brown don’t let students skip ahead in their education based on their previously owned credits. Despite this, it’d still be a good idea to consider taking at least one AP class because of how they make high school transcripts look good.
If you’re going to take an AP class, try and make it something that you’re very interested in, otherwise it won’t be as rewarding. If you really enjoy history and you perform well in history, consider taking AP World History instead of the regular CP or honors courses. If you hate math and don’t perform well in it, don’t take AP Calculus. The school will not require you to take any AP classes, so if you don’t want to take one, then don’t take one.
The difficulty of the course varies from teacher to teacher. Sometimes you may be lucky enough to get a teacher that prepares you very well for the exam, taking the time to help you review and giving you plenty of extra practice work to get you to understand and learn the content. Sometimes you aren’t as lucky and end up with a teacher that doesn’t do very much to help get ready for the exam. Either way, AP classes require a lot of work and plenty of extra outside studying in order to prepare for the exams in May.
The day before the exam, it’s a good idea to do that little bit of extra studying to finally understand that one concept that you’ve been missing for a while, but be sure to get a good night of sleep. It sucks to be at the exam at 8 in the morning running on two hours of sleep because you decided to do a last minute cram session. That vocabulary you were trying to learn won’t stay in your head if you don’t get enough sleep.
It’s also important to try and eat something for breakfast the day of the exam, even if it’s just a slice of toast. Not only will it keep you from getting distracted from hunger during the four hour exam, but it can boost your concentration and productivity.
If you choose to take an AP exam, make sure to do it right. Be positive of what you’re getting yourself into and understand the kind of work ethic and commitment that the class will require from you. Being able to get a good score on your AP exam will only help you in the long run.