Is A Test
& A Class
Know The Difference
Use Them Wisely
May Is AP Time!
Advanced Placement is a test created by a company called College Board. APs are individual subject tests that cover one specific subject in great detail. There is an AP test for everything, from English and Calculus to French and Human Geography.
The idea behind these tests is that there were always some students who seemed to be ahead of their classroom peers. Someone had the bright idea of creating a test that would let a precocious student test out of a subject and thus avoid taking it in high school. A few kids took these tests and did so well that they were able to move on to college level courses.
But as with all things institutional, some schools had more kids that passed these tests than other schools did. So the other schools started special classes to prep their kids for the test. They wanted to keep up. Next thing you know, students were spending 9 months out of the year cramming down facts and doing mounds of homework, just to score a 1-5 on a single subject AP test. Today, the average student is taking several AP courses per year. Unfortunately, they are not passing the tests!
If you are in an AP class, then you should take the associated test. If you don't, then the class wasn't really worth much, (unless you learned a lot of really important things!) In fact, it did more harm than good and will hurt you come college admissions time. Why? Because it will stress your GPA without giving you the bump of an AP test scores that matters (that would be a 3 or better.)
TESTS vs CLASSES
AP classes are a lot of work! They require enormous amounts of time and emotional energy that frankly, many students just don't have. It might be worth the effort, if at the end of the year, students actually took and passed the AP test associated with the subject that they worked so hard on all year long. But numbers don't lie. Most students do not make the 4s or 5s needed to get college credit for their AP classes. Not even close. Read more here!
Even worse, these classes waste valuable time that is needed to prepare for college admissions and the financial aid process. Colleges love a winner. Everyone can be a winner at something. But you have to get out and compete, take on leadership roles, or serve others in order to prove to a college that you are a winner. Who has time to do all of that when you are sitting at home doing hours of AP homework each night? Throw in football, dance, or band and you are lucky to have time to eat three meals a day!
It does not have to be either/or. If you are a good tester then take AP tests. If you are a bad tester then don't take AP tests. But if you are not going to take AP tests then don't take AP classes. Take regular classes and make a great GPA, then use all that free time to get out and compete, lead, and serve others. That is your ticket to college scholarships.
AP Tests Are Great!
AP Classes? Not So Much ☣