By: Autumn at University Language On: July 30, 2019 In: Academics, High School, Testing Comments: 0

Thinking of taking an AP test or two in high school? You aren’t alone.

More students than ever are choosing to take AP classes and exams to get college credit while still in high school. And it’s not hard to see why!

Take a look at the benefits of taking an AP test in high school and sign up for one (or more!) this year.

How are AP Scores Calculated?

According to the College Board’s research, a growing number of high school students are taking AP exams. In fact, the number of students who took at least one AP test has more than doubled since 2001. In addition, AP scores have increased over the years.

The AP test is scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best score possible. In most cases, if you get at least a 3 on an AP test, you will get some college credit. A 2 means you might qualify for college credit, but in reality, hardly any college accepts this score when offering credit. Not surprisingly, a score of 1 will not get you any credit for the AP test.

The number of points you need to earn each score changes every year. This is because the scores are based on how well all test-takers preformed on the exam that year. It also changes from one test subject to another, so it is difficult to accurately compare AP scores from different tests over the years.

In addition, each college accepts different AP scores. So, while a 3 may be acceptable for college credit at one school, you may need a 4 or even a 5 elsewhere.

[Check out our top 5 tips to help you prep for AP tests!]

Why Take Advanced Placement Tests?

There are many advantages to taking an AP class in high school. Some of the biggest ones include:

Earn College Credit

The main point of taking an AP test is to get college credit while still in high school. Considering how expensive college can be these days, it makes sense to get some credits completed beforehand. That way, you can save on tuition costs once enrolled.

Even if you get a scholarship and are not too worried about the cost of tuition, it’s still helpful to put these credits towards college. By doing so, you can get your basic requirements finished and either graduate early, take fewer credit hours each semester, or start focusing on your major sooner.

For example, I took the Spanish AP test and received a 4. This allowed me to enroll in a 300-level class during my freshman year of college, meaning that I was essentially two years ahead in Spanish. I decided to minor in this language just because I had so many credits already, which allowed me to complete my minor by my junior year.

Prepare for College Level Work

Another reason to take at least one AP exam is that you will feel more prepared for college. The course load required of an AP class is much more demanding than your typical high school class and, consequently, much more in line with the type of work you can except in college.

I took a total of four AP classes in high school, so when I got to college, I was used to the heavy workload. While many of my classmates in college dropped like flies freshman year due to the sudden change, I didn’t notice much of a difference from my AP classes in high school.

Increase Your GPA

Even if you are not ready to think about college yet, you can still benefit from taking AP classes.

This is because many schools offer a weighted GPA when you take an AP or honors course. This means that a B in an advanced class is treated the same as an A in a regular course, so you can give your GPA a boost.

Impress College Admission Offices

When you apply to college, admission officers not only want to see that you earned top marks, but that you challenged yourself in high school. AP classes are a great way to demonstrate your commitment to a prospective school

What’s more, if you earn at least a 3 on three or more AP tests, you’ll be awarded the AP Scholar Award, which is yet another accomplishment you can add to your high school resume.


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8 years ago

Taking APs in high school can be a huge advantage. Especially with the rising prices of college, coming in with as many credits as possible can end up saving you a lot of money.

Karen Girard
8 years ago

Hi – I just wrote an blog post on the same topic and would love it if you would weigh in on my page as well! Sounds like AP was a great choice for you. My research shows that many post-secondaries don’t give you GPA for your AP exam, so I always recommend that students check with AP advisors at the places they are applying to, to learn how it will be used.
Check out my side of this and let me know what you think… My students and parents would love to hear from all sides so they can make the right choice for them!