Advance Placement Courses Decoded

What are AP (Advance Placement) courses? Are they worth the effort for students seeking admissions for undergraduate courses in Top schools and Ivy Leagues?

The Advance Placement (AP) is a program in United States and Canada, developed by College Board and it offers college level curriculum and examinations to high school students seeking admissions to US and Canadian Universities. The high school students who take these examinations and get high scores are often granted placement and college course credit. AP courses are offered in more than 30 subjects and are graded on a scale of 1 to 5.. It is taught using college books and exams and at the end of the course, students need to score a grade of 3, 4 or 5 to earn college credits. Some colleges will recognize grade 3 for qualifying credits while most top school expect a grade 4 or 5 for granting these credits. Students aspiring for admissions to Top Universities and Ivy Leagues usually take 5 or more AP’s.

The experts at EdElevate evaluate if you should be taking the AP exams or no !

Advantages of taking AP’s and who should take it?

 Deciding to take an AP course lets the admission committee know that you have taken one of the most rigorous courses in high school and you have what is takes to fit in a competitive undergraduate environment. It can give you an edge among other candidates seeking admissions. Taking an AP course gives you an insight to how will the college curricula be and what you can expect in your freshman year.

  1. You can save money- By taking the AP course in a particular subject and getting a high score on it; you can earn some college course credits and reduce your workload in the freshmen year since you will already have the credits. You will have to do less work than a freshman who has no credits. Students who have taken up to 5 AP’s can sometimes earn credit points up to a semester. This gives ample time to take up an internship.
  2. Taking an AP course in the major you want pursue, will give you the option to skip some introductory classes and movie directly to the advance classes. Since you will have more time in hand, you will have an option of pursuing a second major or minor; take up classes in alternative subjects or do more interesting activities. AP courses thus becoming a good option for someone who has interest in two diverse subjects and wants to learn about both.


Why not taking AP’s is okay for a student?

  1. While taking an AP course can give a student many benefits, it is important to note that not all colleges will accept the AP course for college credit. It might so happen that you end up repeating the same classes in college anyway. So if you are taking the AP exam just to get credits waived off, be careful as every college treats the AP courses differently.
  2. High school students who are aiming to get a high score in their school exams and SAT’s are already loaded with work and stressed out. Taking an AP course would mean extra coursework and extra hours of studies. Experts have suggested that having a poor grade on an AP can actually affect your candidature more than having no AP at all.
  3. A student should not opt for an AP if they think that their high school grades or SAT scores will suffer. AP’s can give you an edge, but compromising on the other aspects can be detrimental.
  4. Though the admissions committee want to see how academically inclined you are, they give a lot of weightage to the fact that how a student can contribute to the college committee. This means that students need to indulge in extra-curricular activities, community service engagements etc. It is advised not to pressurize yourself for taking an AP course if you think it will affect your co-curricular involvement. Students who spend time in discovering and pursuing their passions often attract the Universities to select them.
  5. Lastly, the AP exams are much more expensive than the SAT II examinations. While the AP exam is for $92, the SAT II subject exam is priced only at $26.