There’s a phrase we start hearing soon after entering high school: advanced placement. The idea seems downright terrifying. After all, who in their right mind would consider taking on more "advanced" coursework than what high school already so graciously offers? Nevertheless, it is worth exploring this unique opportunity and seeing if AP classes may be the right path for you. Constructed to model the average college-level course, AP classes promote a more challenging learning environment to prepare students to excel after high school and bridge the disparity that occurs during the transition from high school to college academics. There are three components to understand when it comes to AP classes: what are AP courses and how do they work; why should you take them; and what courses you should take.The entire range of AP courses available is listed on the College Board's website, the organization in charge of the AP program and curriculum. However, it is important to note that the availability of courses varies, so be sure to check what classes your school offers. AP classes are similar to regular classes except that greater diligence and a strong work ethic are required for success. These classes, for the most part, do demand more energy and determination from your part to provide the greatest benefit to you. The course load may be higher, and the expectations elevated as well to simulate a college-level course environment. At the end of the school year, typically in May, you must take a final AP exam to receive possible credit for the course. Scores range from 1-5, with 1 being failing and 5 passing. Most colleges accept scores of 3 and above, however, some more selective universities only take scores of 4 and higher.The score accepted for credit may also vary depending upon the subject. Most AP classes are taken during the junior and senior years of high school.On the other hand, if you are majoring in biology, taking an AP biology class demonstrates to colleges your heightened interest in the subject, while also prepping you with the mindset and basic skills necessary to begin further, higher-level studies. In taking an AP class, you can explore new subjects, or become more familiar and confident with a subject that you plan on later pursuing in college. Additionally, some course fines may be covered by your school, so it is crucial to talk with your academic counselor and see what options are financially available to you. Thus, AP courses allow you to save thousands of dollars, as well as granting you the opportunity to try out a subject of choice and see whether it is a good fit for future pursuit.
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