Should You Take AP Classes?

take ap classes

As a high school student, it’s time to start thinking about what will come after graduation so that you can begin preparing for your higher education. As you plan your courses,  you might want to consider taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

What is an AP Class? 

AP classes are courses created by College Board and taught by high school teachers during the school day.  They are taught at a college level in terms of difficulty, rigor and student evaluation. AP classes are offered in several subjects, available both in classroom and online settings, depending on your high school.

There are several reasons students should consider taking one or more AP courses during high school:

  • AP classes provide a more challenging environment to students who are ready to take on the rigor of a college-level course.
  • AP classes can help students feel better prepared for the demands of college courses and what they might expect once they get to college.
  • Taking AP classes may strengthen your college applications. Schools like to see students who challenge themselves and excel in this more rigorous learning environment. Check with your college of choice to learn their specific admissions requirements.
  • If you take an AP class, you are qualified to sign up for the corresponding AP exam. Depending on your score, you might be exempt from certain college courses at your school of choice, saving you money.
  • Additionally, certain scholarships and other rewards may be available to students who excel in their AP courses and on the AP exam. Talk with your school counselor to learn more about the opportunities available to you.

Registering for the AP Exam

The AP exams are given each spring. Students in AP classes are encouraged to take the corresponding exam, though doing so is not a requirement. Nor is it required to be enrolled in an AP class before taking the corresponding exam. However, the class is a valuable tool to prepare you for taking the exam. There is a fee to take the AP exam, though help is available for students with financial need.

Before registering for the AP exam, students should consider the following:

  • Are you prepared for the test?
  • Are you doing well in your AP class? If you are making a poor grade in your AP class, speak with your teacher about whether you should take the AP test.
  • Are you interested in attending a college or university? Only those planning on attending a college or university will benefit from taking the AP exam.

If you are concerned about whether or not you should register for the test, talk it over with your parents and AP class teacher to decide what is best for you.

Preparing for the AP Exam

Taking the AP class and doing well in it is the best way to prepare for the AP exam. Throughout the school year, your AP teacher will help you learn the material and prepare for the test itself. Paying attention in class and completing your assignments is the best, and easiest, way to study for the exam. Your AP teacher may also provide you with practice exam materials before the actual exam.

In addition to classroom learning, you may want to spend additional time studying for the exam on your own. Free study materials can be found online, and some high schools may offer additional tutoring or special study sessions after school for AP students. Talk with your AP teacher to learn what additional study methods are best for you.

After the Test

After the test, it’s time to relax and wait for your score! You’ve done your best and worked hard to get to the finish line. Test scores for the spring AP exams are published in July on You will need a College Board account to view your scores. Scores range from one to five, with college credit often offered for scores above three, depending on your school of choice. If you are a high school senior and have already made your college decision, your AP score report can be sent to your college or university.

The AP exams can be extremely beneficial to the students who take them. Talk with your teachers, guidance counselors, parents or even the helpful staff at to determine if taking the AP exam is right for you.