Advanced Placement Tests – The Stepping stone


Off late, I met many students who wish to take AP exam but have little exposure/knowledge what exactly it is. Few were confused about subjects while others were wondering how many exams to be taken and many more such dilemmas. Some students even missed the test dates as they were unsure about many factors related to these exams.

Just to put perspective in tangible numbers, more than 2.7 million students appear for AP exams across the globe, but basic know-how among students is still missing.

Here’s my two cents on all those queries:

  1. College board offers whopping 38 AP courses in 20 subject areas. The entire list can be accessed via following link
  2. AP Program is managed by college board that helps students qualify college level courses during high school itself. It helps to earn a college credit and take up more advanced courses when you begin the college. This results in you completing your graduation much earlier than others, thus saving money & precious time.

Now, the most difficult question- Which subjects to choose??Ask yourself these questions –

  • Do you love reading?
  • Are you a history lover?
  • Do you love learning different languages?

There are courses for even Art lovers in Design and Drawing. Say, If you’re going to apply for engineering programs, go ahead with an AP Physics C. AP course helps showcase your skills and readiness to admissions team. Additionally, these courses may help you skip foundation classes when you get to your college and in return helps to immediately focus on your area of specialization.The next important decision is the number of AP courses to take. The college will not be impressed by you picking up a bunch of AP exams and ending with below par scores and low GPAs, they would rather prefer few AP exams with excellent scores. Make sure to check the pre requites and don’t overload yourself with too many tasks.

  • You may go for 7-10 AP courses, if applying to top 20 Colleges
  •  Go ahead with 5-8 AP courses, if applying to top 50 Colleges.

The earlier the better, so start as early as class 9, here’s my suggested list for AP Exams:

  • Grade 9 - Human Geography, Environmental Science
  • Grade 10 - World History, Psychology
  • Grade 11- Languages, US history, Biology, Chemistry
  • Grade 12- English Literature, Calculus, Statistics, Computer Science, Physics, US Government and Politics

AP Exam and Test dates

Refer to the following link to check or register for AP exams

To summarize, don’t succumb to peer pressure, just because your friend is taking 8 AP courses, doesn’t mean you too have to do the same. Give enough time and focus on your SAT/ACTs, High school grades and extracurricular activities. As admission officers will have a holistic approach towards your application so it’s very important to keep SAT/ACT and GPAs intact. Advanced placement credits will work as an additional tool for your application; it won’t make or break anything. Even if you end up picking up course which later doesn’t align with your college subjects, consider it as an additional learning and depicts your eagerness to learn skills. Be aware of Test dates, list of AP courses and classes that would be required to appear for these exams.


Happy Learning!!

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