What is the Advanced Placement (AP) Program?
The Advanced Placement (AP) Program is run by both the United States and Canada and allows students to take college/university level examinations in high school to gain the respective college/university level credits.
AP Exams are written in the month of April and scored from 1 to 5. Each college has its own policy concerning the minimum score required to be allowed a credit. A majority of colleges/universities require a minimum score of 3 or 4 to receive a credit, while a few colleges/universities require a score of no less than 5 before awarding a credit. In order for students to prepare themselves for AP Exams, high schools offer various AP-level classes for students to enroll in. These classes are designed to help students prepare for their AP Exams and cover more material than standard classes in the same amount of time. A student has the choice of taking an AP Exam at a cost of US $89 per exam (school subsidies/fee reductions may still apply); however, some high schools do make AP testing mandatory. Students may take as many AP classes/exams as they wish, but most colleges/universities have a maximum number of AP credits allowed per student.
Are AP Classes/ Exams Worth It?
This question has been asked frequently over the past few years, and a variety of studies have even been done to determine whether this program is an advantage or a disadvantage to students.
First, let us discuss the benefits that the AP program provides to students. The AP program gives students a college/university credit, allowing students to take higher level courses faster and quickens their academic pace. In some cases, this may even allow the student to graduate earlier. Furthermore, it has been noted that most colleges/ universities raise the GPA (grade point average) of students who succeed in their AP exams, thus allowing a higher rate of acceptance.
Let us also consider the case of a student does not pass the AP exam. Surveys have shown that approximately 75% of admission officers indicated that a low score on an AP Exam would not harm an applicant’s admission prospects (although this does differ for more highly selective colleges/universities). Overall, there seems to be very little to no negative side-effects of taking Advanced Placement Exams. Many studies have been conducted to test the success of students who took AP Exams versus the students who did not. The data compiled from these studies showed that there seemed to be no correlation between AP participation and college success. The studies also showed that students took AP courses in high school did not fare any better in the same class during college/university when compared with their peers.
In summary, the main advantages of AP Exams are that students who excel in the exams have a higher chance of being accepted into their college/ university of choice and will also have the ability to complete their degree in a shorter time period.
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