Are AP courses really that important? Find out in this guest post by Grand Rapids, MI tutor Elizabeth S...
One major question that comes into play when choosing classes for the school year is this: are Advanced Placement (AP) courses worth it?
Of course, there is no easy answer to this question. Many people will answer: “Yes. Advanced Placement classes are definitely worth it! If you get good scores on the tests, you can waive those basic classes in college!” Others will respond: “No way! They are just harder versions of the normal class, and not all colleges and universities offer or recognize the classes that your class would cover. Besides, that test costs extra money!”
After hearing these answers, one might be more conflicted than before. When I was in high school, I signed up for many advanced placement courses, and even in some with no intention of taking the tests. The experience, for me, was worth it for many different reasons.
Number one: AP courses are more challenging and in-depth than regular classes.
I found that in these classes, I was more interested and motivated to participate, because the coursework was more challenging. In the class, we weren’t just glossing over the basics; we learned the basics and then applied those to the subject at hand. The demonstrations used were interesting because the teachers had to make sure we understood what they were teaching us.
Learning to Meet Higher Expectations
Number two: The expectations were much higher than regular classes.
One thing that I have learned throughout my life and teaching career is that if someone has high expectations for a person and/or group, people usually try to reach those expectations. In advanced placement classes, this was proven for me every day. The attitude of, if one is in these classes he or she should be doing well in them, puts a lot of pressure on students to live up to that standard. While it was tough, I came out with more than the knowledge of the subject I was learning, but with knowledge of better time management and study skills.
Connecting With Peers
Number three: A lot of my friends were doing it as well.
Who doesn’t like taking classes with their friends? Not only was the coursework more interesting, I always had people I could talk to about it who weren’t my teacher.
Preparing for College
Number four: I was more prepared for the intensity of college courses because my AP teachers treated the classes in much the same way as my college professors did.
That being said, I will leave you with this advice: if you’re wondering if AP courses are worth it, it really depends on you as a student. If you want to be more challenged in high school, then by all means take the classes. You don’t have to take the tests to still get many benefits of taking an AP class. If, however, you are not prepared or do not feel prepared, then you may want to stay in regular classes.
Advanced Placement classes have the potential to do a lot of good for students who are ready for the extra challenges. These classes will not only give you a deeper understanding of the subjects you are taking, but they will prepare you for the courses you will take in your journey through higher education.
Elizabeth S. tutors in various subjects in Grand Rapids, MI. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a two majors in English/Language Arts and Education, plus two minors in French and Elementary Distributed. Learn more about Elizabeth here!
Photo by Tulane Public Relations