What are Advanced Placement Classes?

Advanced placement classes, also known as AP classes, are classes you can take in high school that may earn you college credits. While some schools now offer post secondary opportunities that let students actually take classes on a college campus while still in high school, you may not want to leave your friends behind or miss out all the excitement of your senior year. You can take the AP classes that your high school offers or sign up for some specific classes online.

What are AP Classes?

AP classes are advanced courses designed for students who want to attend college. When used as part of a college prep curriculum, these courses can give you a better look at some of the topics you might study in college. Created by the College Board, these courses often include some of the same topics and things you would study in an introductory course at the college level. After taking the course, you’ll need to take an exam that asks you questions based on what you studied in class. Your score on that test determines if you will get any college credit and how much credit you’ll get.

How Can You Take AP Classes?

You generally take the AP courses offered through your high school. Many public and private schools offer these classes for their best and brightest. You’ll read books, take tests and quizzes and complete assignments just as you would any other class. The only difference is that your teacher will also help you test for the AP exam you take at the end of the year. According to the College Board, students can also sign up to take AP courses online. The College Board recommends talking with your guidance counselor and going over the list of available classes before you sign up.

Passing the Exam

You can take advanced placement classes in one of more than 30 subjects, including art history, English composition, French, German, calculus and government. Towards the end of your class, you’ll need to sign up to take the exam associated with that class. Some schools will pay the fee required to take that test, but other schools require that students pay that fee themselves. Many of the exams include multiple choice questions that give you four possible answers and ask you to choose the best one. Your final score determines the amount of credit you get. A perfect score on one of these tests is a five.

Transferring Your Credits

If you want to skip taking one or more introductory courses as a college freshman, you need to score at least a three on each exam that you take. Many colleges will give you partial credit for a score of three, but some schools will only award credit to students who score a four on one of these exams. While a perfect score of five is very rare, those who receive this score will often get full credit for the associated course. Higher scores may also help you qualify for scholarships through your chosen college too.

AP courses help you earn college credit based on the scores you get on exams taken after enrolling in one of these courses. Though some high schools do not offer advanced placement classes, the College Board now lets students enroll in online AP classes.

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