Are AP Classes Worth It?


 As the AP Exams approach, many students find themselves wondering why they chose to take an Advanced Placement class in the first place. Was it because of how it looks on a transcript? The possibility of getting college credit? While AP classes do provide students with an opportunity to learn about certain subjects at a more in-depth level, how beneficial are they? 

One positive aspect about AP classes is that they provide students with a deeper dive into certain subjects and courses that may be interesting to them. As well as the exposure to a different style of education and different expectations, students learn to not only understand and remember the material for one test but also how to store that information and use it for the AP exam. Although the amount of work can quickly feel overwhelming and impossible to finish, it actually helps students with their time management skills, which will greatly benefit them throughout their lives. The combination of study habits, remembering key content, and managing the course load helps prepare students for college and life after graduation. 

On the other hand, AP classes are not always as beneficial as many people may think. One of the biggest stressors of an AP class is the AP Exam. While many people opt to take an AP class and the exam because of the possibility of receiving college credit, it is not as simple as it seems. Many colleges and universities do not accept AP scores below a 3, and sometimes schools only accept 4s or above, depending on the course. Although many students are capable of receiving these scores, most students take more than one AP at a time, making it more challenging to study for multiple tests that take place within the same week. Even when students do score above a 3 or 4, there is no guarantee that they will be given college credit. Many students feel that when they are not given credit despite their hard work and impressive test scores, AP classes and exams are very expensive without good reason. This is why many students opt to take a dual-enrollment course where they know they will be given credits, and there is no pressure to get a perfect score on an exam that tests everything they have learned that year.

Personally, I feel that there is no clear answer as to whether or not AP classes are worth the stress and pressure that they put on students. Every student reacts differently to an increased workload – some thrive in a fast-paced environment, while others struggle to keep up with the constant addition of information. I chose to take three AP classes my junior year (AP Language and Composition, AP Environmental Science, and AP US History) for multiple reasons, but the main one being the expectation of taking AP classes that I felt I had to meet. Not only were most of my friends taking AP classes, but my two older siblings took multiple APs throughout their high school careers and got 5s on the exams, making me feel as though if I didn’t take an AP, it could hurt me in the future. As I previously mentioned, every student has different goals and different workloads that they are able to handle, meaning AP is not the right answer for everyone. Spending hours on homework and learning to study in a very specific way may actually prevent some students from reaching their full potential and being as academically successful as they can be. AP classes may be the right path for some, but that is definitely not the case for every student.