Taking Advanced Placement Courses in High School

by Carol Chandler-Wood

Taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school has grown in popularity in the last several years. These courses provide a wonderful opportunity for students to earn college course credit hours before going to college and possibly to begin college with advanced standing at most of our country’s colleges and universities. There are actually 37 AP courses across 22 different subject areas which a student can take! In order to take AP courses, it is important that the student has a strong curiosity about the AP subject and he or she is willing and committed to working hard.

Some of the benefits of taking AP courses in high school are when students do so, they can get a head start on college-level work by improving their writing skills, sharpening their problem-solving techniques, and developing the necessary study habits for tackling rigorous and challenging course work. Also, they put themselves in a position to stand out amongst many others in the college admissions process by demonstrating their maturity, readiness for college, willingness to push themselves to the limit, and emphasizing their commitment to academic excellence. Lastly, when students take an AP course they broaden their intellectual horizons by exploring the world from many different perspectives, studying subjects in greater depth and detail than they would otherwise, and assuming the tasks of reasoning, analyzing, and understanding information for themselves.

Once a student has decided to take AP courses in high school, in order to enroll, he or she should talk to an AP teacher or the AP Coordinator at the school about the courses desired to take and then discuss the workload and any preparation needed for each specific course. If a student is homeschooled or attends a school that does not offer advanced placement courses, he or she can participate through independent study. Additionally, some states sponsor online AP courses.

AP exam grades are reported on a 5-point scale as follows:

5  Extremely well qualified*
4  Well qualified*

3  Qualified*

2  Possibly qualified*

1  No recommendation**

*Qualified to receive college credit or advanced placement

**No recommendation to receive college credit or advanced placement

Following are 34 of the different AP subjects in which a student can test for possible college credit:

*Art History * Biology * Calculus AB * Calculus BC * Chemistry * Chinese Language and Culture *Computer Science A * Computer Science AB * Macroeconomics * Microeconomics *English Language * English Literature * Environmental Science * European History *French Language * French Literature * German Language * Comp Government & Politics *U.S. Government & Politics * Human Geography * Italian Language and Culture *Japanese Language and Culture * Latin Literature * Latin: Vergil * Music Theory * Physics B *Physics C * Psychology * Spanish Language * Spanish Literature * Statistics * Studio Art *U.S. History * World History

For additional information on advanced placement courses, you may visit College Board’s website, www.collegeboard.com, talk to your school counselor or an AP teacher, or contact me at carol@totallearningconcepts.com.