Why You Should Take an AP Exam (Even if You Aren’t in AP Classes!)

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AP Exams are offered every May and taken by students around the world – some who are not even enrolled in AP classes! Colleges look at these exams favorably on applications and over 90% award credit or advanced placement for those who do well on these tests. If your children are enrolled in honors classes or at a school that does not offer AP classes, they can still take advantage of these AP exams.

A student only has one chance to maximize their AP score. While many tests like the SAT and ACT are offered numerous times, the AP exam only happens once a year in May. These are tough, 3 hour tests that measure a student’s mastery of one of 38 subjects. Students considering an AP exam should have exceptional reading and writing skills, and should be highly motivated and focused.

At Revolution Prep, we have worked with hundreds of honors students to help them prepare, making sure a student is not only well-versed in the content she may see on the exam, but is prepared for the format and stamina needed for the test as well. We even published an article, “Everything You Need to Know About AP Exams” that is a helpful outline for parents and students.

Students who take AP exams and score well are 62% more likely to graduate from college in four years. This equates to financial savings and opportunities to have an additional major or study abroad for a semester. Most schools offer college credit or “advanced placement” if a student scores a 3 or higher on AP exams, meaning they can place out of those general education or intro classes. Those are some pretty solid perks!

From Our Experts

We reached out to some of our experts for their opinions on why a student should take AP Exams:

“Major benefits exist in taking AP courses and exams in high school. First, AP courses and exams signal your pursuit for academic rigor and your commitment to excel in college. With scores of 4 or higher, it shows your ability to handle college-level courses, which is an absolute positive on your college application. Second, passing AP exams with scores of 4 or higher can result in substantial saving in college expenses because several colleges allow students to exempt out of courses given their proven ability to master the subject. Third, taking AP exams, even if you do not score high, will provide valuable preparation for college level material early, allowing more familiarity with subjects and more confident in your ability. Consequently, the effort of performing well on the AP exams is a total win! You can save thousands of dollars, increase your admission chances, and get an early start on college level material.”

Lin Johnson III, CFO Shelby County Schools

“Because AP courses are more challenging, they offer greater opportunities for students to prepare for the demands of university studies. This is also true, and perhaps more so, of the IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma program, which provides a broad spectrum of in-depth studies – developing to a high level the study, research, and presentation skills of students involved. Colleges and universities highly regard and reward successful performance in both AP and IB programs. Greater scholarship opportunities may become available, and students who achieve specific scores, as determined by the institution, may exempt certain college/university courses or gain advanced standing based on their AP or IB performance. Since colleges/universities are looking for students who have worked successfully in challenging courses, taking AP and IB courses (working for the full IB Diploma, if possible) are steps in the right direction.”

Karen Ekman-Baur, Director of College Counseling, Leysin American School



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