What Are AP Classes In High School? Are They Beneficial?

High school students use avenues like sports, drama, and AP classes to bolster their chances of getting admitted to a good college. Unlike sports, AP classes directly impact your academic journey in college.

What are AP classes in high school? AP classes are courses designed to give high school students a chance to study college-level subjects. These classes allow the students to obtain college credits while still in high school.

Before you take AP classes, read on to learn everything you need to know about their benefits and whether they’re worth your effort.

AP Classes In High School

What Are AP Classes?

AP is the short form for Advanced Placement. AP classes are part of a learning initiative that the College Board created for high school students. The initiative aims to give students a taste of college courses via introductory classes.

Students who participate in the program obtain college credits while still in high school. The AP program includes exams that occur at the end of the academic year of study.

The results of these exams are presented using a scale ranging from 1 to 5, with 5 considered the best score. Scores above 3 are passing scores, but getting 4 or 5 gives you an advantage in college consideration.

What Are The Merits Of AP Classes?

For the vast majority of students, taking AP classes is a means to boost the chances of college admission. However, AP classes offer several other advantages, including:

Merits Of AP Classes

1. Help you get ready for college

College-level classes are more rigorous than high school classes. Taking AP classes helps you adjust to the speed and effort required by college classes.

AP classes have the same difficulty level as college courses, so you must put in extra work to keep up. Hence, these classes will prepare you for the accountability and discipline required in college.

2. Increase your chances of getting admitted to college

Colleges generally prefer students who have taken AP classes. This preference is because passing scores in the AP classes show that you will settle into college life more easily. It also shows that you like challenging yourself academically.

Most high schools give AP classes more weight than regular classes. Hence, your GPA will be higher if you take these classes. Besides, great AP scores indicate academic prowess, giving you an advantage over other students during the admission process.

3. Time and money-saving

College classes are expensive. In contrast, taking an AP exam will only cost about $90, and the credit earned is accepted in college. Hence, you can save a lot of money in college since most AP classes cover introductory courses.

Since AP classes allow you to earn college credit while in high school, they reduce the number of classes you must attend in college. This saves time and eventually enables you to graduate earlier than students who didn’t take AP courses.

4. Financial aid in college

Students who take AP classes are more likely to receive scholarships than those that don’t. High AP exam scores indicate academic ability and hard work. These qualities impress scholarship board members, resulting in more financial aid for you.

5. You can challenge yourself and pursue your passion

According to the College Board, there are 38 AP classes for you to choose from. With so many options, it’s easy to find a subject you are passionate about. In some cases, the in-depth nature of AP classes causes students to discover their passion for specific topics.

Finding a subject you’re deeply invested in will provide intellectual stimulation, especially if you find high school classes too easy.

What Should You Consider Before Taking AP Classes?

AP classes can be great for your academic future, but before you take them, there are a few factors to consider:

1. Schedule

AP classes are not a substitute for your schoolwork. Rather, they are an addition to your regular schoolwork. Hence, before taking any AP class, you must consider your schedule and see how it fits.

Ensure the classes do not interfere with other activities such as co-curricular activities, part-time jobs, or even honors courses. Remember that taking too many challenges at once may cause burnout and lead to a poorer GPA.

2. Academic strengths and course difficulty

Taking AP classes related to the subjects you excel at will give you an edge over other students. Since classes are both challenging and taught at a quick pace, prior knowledge puts you ahead of anyone starting from scratch.

Since AP classes demand a lot of study and effort, you should select courses that you think you can manage comfortably. Your GPA will drop if you choose a difficult class and perform poorly on the test.

Read: How to Get Internships When You Are Not A College Student?

What Are The Hardest And Easiest Ap Classes?

The hardest AP classes are those in which most learners fail to attain a passing score. According to The College Board, the following classes were the hardest in 2021;

ClassPercentage of ⅕ scores
Physics 131.4%
Human Geography32.4%
United States History31.2%

The table below shows the classes where the highest percentage of students got a perfect 5.

ClassPercentage of students with 5
Calculus BC38.3%
Computer Science A23.9%
Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism32.6%
Physics C: Mechanics23.5%

Are AP Classes Worth The Effort?

AP classes offer many great benefits, like earning credits, boosting your GPA, and giving you an advantage in college admission. However, it would be best if you didn’t take AP classes at the expense of your development in other areas. Reserve time for co-curricular activities, free time, and socializing.

While these classes can give you an advantage over your peers, they can also hurt your GPA if you fail. Hence, you should assess your abilities to determine whether taking AP classes will benefit you.

Is It Possible To Take The AP Exam Without Taking The Classes?

Yes, you can take the AP exam without attending classes. However, since AP course material is challenging, passing the test is harder without taking classes. Also, high schools won’t add the AP exam score to your transcript if you don’t take classes though it still counts in college.


AP classes are a program by the College Board that allows students to earn college credits while in high school. You don’t have to attend classes to sit for the AP exams, but classes boost your preparedness.

Taking AP classes is great if you manage it since you can gain many benefits, like scholarships. However, be careful not to take classes you can’t handle because that will lower your GPA.

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