What is it?
An AP course is roughly equivalent to an undergraduate college course. The curriculum is devised and administered by The College Board (the organization that administers SAT tests). At the end of the AP curriculum, typically in May of each academic year, students registered in AP courses have the option to take the AP test, where they will be tested on all material studied throughout the course.
Why should I take it?
AP courses are good for students who enjoy being challenged. The courses are extremely demanding, oftentimes requiring a minimum of five hours a week of study outside school. The more AP courses a student does, the better their college application will look to universities. A student who performs well in an AP class shows that they are able to handle the pressures of university classes. A student may be awarded college credit as well. (the student must take and pass the AP test at the end of the course to get any credit for it). AP courses help higher the chances of receiving a scholarship and can save you money, as students who have taken AP classes are more likely to graduate in just 4 years.
Why might it not be a good option for me?
AP courses are quite rigorous. It’s quite difficult to understand how much work it would be until you’re enrolled in the course, but trust me, nobody is lying about the workload. If you know that you struggle with regular high school classes, these might not be a good option for you. Students are advised to not take more than 2-3 AP courses a year because of how heavy of a burden they can become. If you know someone who seems to be pushing their limits, tell them to slow down! Consider your schedule, past performance in the subject area, GPA, and skills before enrolling in an AP course.
They are not mandatory, but it can’t hurt to get a little extra help. If you find that you are perfectly capable of taking an AP course, why not do it? If you happen to get a good grade on the final test, you’ll be able to show it to colleges and it might help you out in more ways than one. If you end up getting a grade you’re not happy with, you don’t have to send it in. Speak to your school’s guidance counselor about all your options before making a decision.