Teachers often stress the importance of AP courses and AP tests. They want you to show what you know, but the real purpose of AP courses and tests is to make your life and college experience a lot easier. By putting in the work now, you can bypass doing more work later. Let’s begin with the benefits of AP courses alone.
1.) AP courses give you an idea of the rigor of college classes. If you find AP course material fairly simple, you’re in good shape for college. 2.) Even if you don’t take the AP test associated with the course, college admission officers will see the AP course(s) on your transcript. A majority of AP courses have what are called “quality points”. Some honors courses have them too. What quality points do is change the scale on which assignments are graded on in the course. So, if you receive a “C” grade for an AP course, it is the equivalent of a “B” grade in an on-level course. You’re actually doing better than you thought! College admission officers can see that you’re taking challenging courses, even if you don’t do well. It’s the trying that impresses them.
If you decide to take the AP test associated with the course, there’s a great motivator to do well on the test. AP test scores of a 3 or higher can often be used to exempt college classes. You can skip right over those basic, on-level courses colleges stick you in during your freshman year. Exempting classes means you can take more challenging courses earlier, and work through your degree faster( And less courses to take means less money you pay. If each course you need to reach your degree costs somewhere around a thousand dollars, AP tests can save you a lot of money). There are plenty of tales of students entering college for the first time as sophomores and juniors because of the number of AP courses and tests they took and passed. Now, the majority of people don’t have the time or the patience to take so many classes, but you can see the benefits. You might not score a 3 or higher on all of the tests you take (unless you study very hard!), but it shows admission officers that you value your education enough to try.
People are often dissuaded from taking the AP tests because of the cost involved. Each AP test costs around 87 dollars. Lots of schools have funds set up to cut down or eliminate the cost to the test taker altogether. Even if your school does not provide a scholarship, there are plenty of scholarships that you can find out on the Web. If you qualify for free or reduced lunch at your school, the cost of each test is usually reduced as well, but you should verify with your school counselor or whomever is in charge of the AP program at your school.
There really are no downsides for AP courses and tests. My teachers have always told me to view the money that I pay for each test as “an investment in my education”. Because when you think about it, education is one of the few things that you take with you wherever you go, for the rest of your life.