AP Classes: What are they?


Photo from Creations Look Divine via Flickr under Creative Commons License

Kathryn Wang, Staff Writer

Every spring, students log onto Campus Portal to enter their course selections. Kids compare the rigor of their schedules, and the topic of AP classes inevitably comes up in conversation. But what are AP classes? While people know the general idea of what AP classes are about—that the courses are challenging and advanced—there is much information that students do not know.

AP, or Advanced Placement, classes are college-level courses that are offered in high school. At Central Bucks South, AP classes are offered in a myriad of subjects, such as in chemistry, biology, physics, calculus, language, history, and various other subjects. However, aside from the large workload, AP courses come with many benefits and opportunities.

Since an AP class is equivalent to a college class, taking the course offers an opportunity to earn a college credit. College Board offers AP tests in a wide array of subjects, some of which are available as courses in CB South. After completing an AP course, a student may choose to take the $89 national AP test to try to qualify for a college credit. AP exams are scored on a 1 to 5 scale with a score of 1 as the lowest and a score of 5 as the highest. Some colleges use AP test scores to exempt students from introductory courses in college; most schools require a minimum score of 3 or 4 to receive college credit. While $89 may seem like a lot of money for an exam, it is definitely a bargain when compared to the cost of a college course.

Aside from the chance for a college credit, performing well on AP exams allow students to qualify for several awards and scholarships. Students can receive the award of AP Scholar, AP Scholar with Honor, and National AP Scholar based on separate criteria. In addition, many colleges look to high school transcripts and AP test scores when deciding on scholarships.

However, AP courses are not for everyone. Obviously, a college course has higher expectations and more homework than the average class, and it is each student’s choice to decide whether he or she can handle the extra work. But students should not be afraid to accept the challenge; if they truly try their best they will be able to meet their goals.

AP classes not only are helpful for applying to college, but they prepare students for rigorous college courses.  Through AP courses, students can delve deeper into various subjects and explore their possibilities for the future.

If you have any other questions about AP classes/exams visit: apcentral.collegeboard.com.