In high school, you will get the option to take AP class. These classes are usually available to you once you reach your junior year, but you may be able to take them as early as your freshman year! AP classes are supposed to mirror an introductory college course. Taking these courses allows you to take the AP test in the spring. Passing an AP test gives you the opportunity to earn college credit. For example, my AP English language credit exempted me from having to take a first year writing course. As a current college student, I wish I had taken advantage of taking more AP tests in high school and here’s why.
- It’s less expensive than a college course – the cost of an AP exam is around $100 (but sometimes, a school might offer the test for free!). On the other hand, the average cost of one credit hour at a university is about $594. So, say your class is worth three credit hours, that means the approximate cost of a course is $1782. Therefore, passing an AP exam saves you at least $1682. So, if you have the chance to take an AP test when it’s free, I highly recommend it. If you pass, you are literally saving thousands of dollars!
- More transfer credits – this is probably the biggest reason why I recommend taking AP tests. I ended up getting about a semester’s worth of transfer credits in high school. However, I didn’t really understand the whole concept of transfer credits. Basically, every AP test is worth a certain amount of credit hours. I found that my English AP exams were worth around three credit hours each. However, my Spanish AP exams were worth four credit hours each. In college, taking 12 credit hours makes you a full-time college student however, most students take between 15-18 credit hours if they want to graduate in four years. So, when you pass more AP tests, you can garner up more transfer credits which means you won’t have to take as many classes in order to graduate on time. Additionally, more transfer credits could help you graduate from college early, especially if you also decide to take classes during the summer.
- Less time taking general education courses – an important thing to remember is that AP exams generally cover what you would learn in a 100 level course in college. However, a big benefit of this is that the more AP tests you pass, the fewer general education courses you will likely have to take. The first two years of college, you will be taking mostly general education courses in order to complete the “gen ed” requirement of your degree. This means that you may have to wait a bit before you can tackle your upper-level courses that relate to your major. By receiving AP test credit, you will have to take fewer general education courses and can start on your upper-level courses earlier in your college career!
- They prepare you for a college course – finally, I found the largest benefit of both AP tests and AP courses in general is that they prepared me for college. In fact, I had more assignments to do in some of my high school AP courses than I did in some of my introductory college courses. As someone who was really stressed about keeping up with the pace of a college course, I felt that AP courses and tests allowed me to get a taste of what to expect when I got to college.
If you’re on the fence about taking an AP test, I hope this post has allowed you to see how you can benefit from the test. One of the best parts of AP tests is, if you don’t pass a particular test your junior year, you can try again your senior year! So, get to studying and good luck!
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