According to CollegeBoard, Advanced placement or AP, has roughly 27.1% of high school students in the nation in AP classes and over 38.3% of those students taking at least one Ap exam. Students who take these exams spend years in AP classes, keeping up with the rigor of college to prepare themselves for high placing on the exams. Though Exams have been seen as a benefit to low-income families trying to get their kids to college and students looking to take fewer classes, they have their disadvantages too. One question brought up among students, taking AP classes and those that aren’t is: Is taking the courses and exams worth it?
“I enjoyed the atmosphere of one of the classes, mostly because the teacher created a good atmosphere which reflected on the students,” Nicole Velasquez said. “It was a lot of individual work so it really disciplined you to use your time wisely and use critical thinking. If I could say it was worth it? For the experience, yes, but consistently, no.”
An article by Scholarship Points suggests that students, before entering into different kinds of AP classes, should take into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of taking the exam. Such advantages consist of saving time, failure on exams will not affect admissions and you don’t have to be enrolled in AP classes to take the exams.
“While the classes do take up plenty of my time,” Avery Kobes said, “knowing that if I pass the exam and won’t have to take as many classes in actual college, allowing me to graduate early, is motivating.”
The article also claims disadvantages that teens should look out for before enrolling in the rigorous class. Disadvantages include the fact that not all colleges will give the student credit and good time management is difficult to achieve with other classes consuming the student’s time as well. In addition, while failing the exam won’t affect your admissions, you pay for an exam that the student didn’t score high on.
“It takes up a lot of time. You shouldn’t slack on anything,” Velasquez said. “I definitely think you should look more into AP classes and its pro’s and con’s. See if it’s right for you instead of listening to others.”
With motivation playing a big role in the way the student excels in the class, it’s hard to say how much of it did good for their exams. Students, oftentimes, feel the need that they need tutors to just understand the material, while others feel like all the time spent isn’t worth failing an exam. However, AP students feel the classes, with all the work, gives them the perfect opportunity to gain credit for classes in college.
“AP classes are worth college credits,” Mia Knappenberger said. “So I’d say it’s worth it as long as you can handle the workflow and are prepared for the AP Exam by the time it comes around.”
Though students are encouraged to take AP classes and get those college credits, it’s important to consider what the student is good at and what they can do well in. With AP courses, there comes a lot of work and that work can easily become stressful. With the stress the student might become uninterested in the class, leading to lack of rigor in the subject.
“The workload is a lot, especially for slower studiers, like myself,” Kobes said. “Only take AP classes you are genuinely interested in.”
When the student is “genuinely interested in” the subject, they will start to excel and give time to the class so they can achieve a good score on the exam. Those students who find themselves in AP classes, looking to pass the AP exams, need to look for resources to help them on the way. AP classes are difficult and students need to be prepared.
“[With getting ready for exams,] quizlets are genuinely useful to memorize terms if you use them right,” Knappenberger said. “And there are some YouTube channels with video tutorials that can help too.”
Likewise, Kobes finds preparation to be the most important part to passing the exams.
“Practice, practice, practice,” Kobes said. “Go on AP Classroom and review the material provided especially, as it will be similar to what is on the tests.”
In addition, students seeing the exams as difficult can find it useful to know the knowledge that CollegeBoard gives them. The exams, which seem hard even to the brightest students, can be less difficult by “understanding how CollegeBoard writes their questions on the exams” and picking up tricks.
“If you see yourself going to college in the future, then I think it’s worth it to be able to take the college classes during Highschool,” Knappenberger said. “So that you can focus more on what you’re going to major in in college.”
So, are the classes and exams worth it? Students who want the college credits believe it is worth all the rigor and experience, hoping to not only pass their exams but pick up tips and tricks for their classes in the future. However, to get there, students must find the motivation, influence, inspiration and management to excel in the laborious tasks the classes expect from them.