And, truthfully, it sucks. By developing my own study schedules before the tests, I honed my self-discipline and study skills. And, most importantly, they’re too damn inconsistent. They’re not taught by professors. I personally love using song lyrics as my Instagram captions, especially from songs that I love or that mean a lot to me, and I happen to love Harry Styles and all of his songs! Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook5. Read more about it here. Given these problems, should you totally give up on AP? So what ends up happening is that, similar to the SAT/ACT, the tests simply reinforce the status quo: students at well-funded schools do well, students at less well-funded schools struggle. AP courses are an excellent way for students to take more in-depth classes that give them a taste of fields that they may eventually want to pursue. The AP Program is growing too fast for all the new programs to be supported, especially at low-income schools, leading to more failed tests than anything else. I am 5 weeks through my junior year in high school and I have not taken any AP classes yet. AP classes might divert your energy away from other things in your schedule. Also make sure that for any AP class you take, you have solid pre-requisite courses under your belt. Not to mention that some colleges have curricula for courses that deviate from the AP standard, leaving some students unprepared in courses like Calculus. A AP courses do not save students as much money in tuition as years past. In one blistering critique of AP classes in The Atlantic, a former teacher writes: "the AP program leads to rigid stultification." I’m not saying it’s the AP program’s responsibility to fix educational inequality in the US—education inequality is an enormous problem. You could argue that the experience of taking an AP class helps students prepare for college, but the fact remains that rapid expansion is not leading to the best outcomes for many students. Likewise, the number of AP exams with scores of less than 3 also more than doubled, from 521,620 to 1,345,988. Especially in schools without many resources. Ah, College Board. This is a doubled edged sword, as the AP credits will serve as a "safety net" if a student winds up changing majors, but it gives students less time to make an informed decision. Plenty of students do well in classes labeled AP, but wipe out on the exam. So I made a list of lyrics from each of his songs that you could use in your next Instagram caption. Plus, taking AP classes doesn’t even guarantee admission into schools like Harvard and Stanford. If you’re aiming for top schools, your goal is to have a transcript that your counselor will report as “most rigorous” on the Common App guidance counselor report. AP classes will be smaller, for example, and they are often staffed by more experienced teachers. Download it for free now: hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(360031, '688715d6-bf92-47d7-8526-4c53d1f5fe7d', {}); hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(360031, '03a85984-6dfd-4a19-93c8-5f46091f5e2b', {}); Halle Edwards graduated from Stanford University with honors. Get a comparison of the IB and AP programs. If you know what your goals are, you can create a smart AP program for you. These Are the 5 Worst Problems with College Board's AP Program. Having an animal around can do more for you than just keep you company. Even so, colleges can change these credit-granting at any time, making it difficult for even the most methodical of students to efficiently allocate their studying. AP classes are a less expensive way to gauge your interest in a potential major. Although AP classes in high school will generally cover the same content as a college class, the high school course's pacing is generally much slower. They also often require more outside research than high school classes, which can help you prepare for the level of outside work and self accountability that will be expected of you in college. They’re often considered difficult but rewarding by students who take them. (For example, don't take AP Biology without having taken an introductory biology class first.). My classes on the first day of the year were really bad, my counselor only gave me 1 honors class even though I aced all of my honors classes sophomore year. hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(360031, 'b8868328-25ad-4976-9f3f-6f24fa4b2b20', {}); Another problem with AP isn’t so much due to the program itself, but how students (and parents!) The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 4+ ACT Points, How to Get a Perfect 36 ACT, by a Perfect Scorer. That all sounds pretty good. The teachers of your AP classes get the free response parts back. If you overload, you risk stretching yourself too thin. That means you should still take AP classes if your school offers them and you're hoping for a top school -- but do not overload on them. Your answers to these questions can help you decide which AP classes are worth your effort, and which ones aren’t. Not to mention that some colleges have curricula for courses that … Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Sign in to comment to your favorite stories, participate in your community and interact with your friends. To teachers, it's associated with a standardized curriculum, deadlines, and exam scores. Even so, it is not commonly mentioned in mainstream media, aside from a controversy in 2015 that arose over the teaching of AP United States History class. Taking an AP course is an imperfect substitute for a college course. But what are some of the major problems with the AP program? At some high schools, AP classes approach the levels of difficulty reached by their college counterparts. As a brief disclaimer, we don't expect the Advanced Placement program to be perfect, and there are many benefits to taking AP classes, as we've covered in the past. react to it. Our new student and parent forum, at, allow you to interact with your peers and the PrepScholar staff. Make sure to take at least two full practice exams before the real thing. SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Entrance Examination BoardTM. Soon, scores of colleges and universities (Dartmouth being the latest) revised their policies around awarding credit for AP coursework or favoring it in admissions reviews. By requiring students seeking an IB diploma to write an extended research essay, take a class about theories of knowledge, and including more writing on the exams, the IB program emphasizes critical thinking, research, and writing in the way AP classes simply don’t have time for. That said, by covering some of the weaknesses of the AP program, we hope to help students make more informed decisions about their schedules, especially in the midst of today's intense college admissions environment. It can take a few years for a teacher to master a curriculum. It really is a rewarding experience, and it was great to be exposed to such a great group of people. As someone who ponders the world on a deep level on a daily basis (if it isn't already obvious from my articles), I often find it difficult to initiate conversation concerning intellectual matters. AP classes will also feature another change this year: students must buy exams in November instead of March, and there’s a new $40 cancellation … Thinking you should take IB classes instead? We’ve talked a lot about the AP Program in the past—why you would take AP classes, how many you should take, and how AP compares to the IB program. In short, even if the AP program leaves something to be desired at your school, you can still use it to develop your skills. First of all, don’t load up on APs just to have AP classes all over your transcript. Well-prepared and well-funded students do well on AP tests, and students from less wealthy schools do worse, so the AP program often reinforces education inequality. There is no simple 1:1 correlation here. To parents, it's synonymous with the uncertainties and "growing up" associated with the college admissions process. The exam is "high stakes, high reward". Fun fact. The SAT, for example, gives schools a singular common way to compare students across different schools and across international borders. This objective will most likely be attained by expanding access to AP courses, with many districts likely adding more courses and in some cases, even covering the cost of exams. Although AP classes in high school will generally cover the same content as a college class, the high school course's pacing is generally much slower. While it was overall and enjoyable experience, I think that there were a lot of systemic problems with AP courses that, if solved, could make the courses even better. The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 160+ SAT Points, How to Get a Perfect 1600, by a Perfect Scorer, Free Complete Official SAT Practice Tests. And what about students? Some colleges will only accept scores of "5" for a given AP course, whereas others are more liberal, allowing scores of "4" and the occasional "3" to convert into credit. While there are many possible explanations, the undeniable reality is that students who attend high poverty schools or schools with high minority student populations (which are typically high poverty schools) have teachers who are not as experienced in teaching AP courses or preparing students to score highly on the AP exams. Simply put, not all schools have the same variety of AP programs and quality of AP teachers that other schools do. The requirements are set by the College Board and the courses are fast-paced and intensive. This is part of the reason why AP English Language and AP English Literature are taken so often by such a broad variety of students. Merely asking teachers to spend less time drilling and more time promoting inquiry, in other words, does not make them able to do so, nor does it prepare their students to succeed in such classes.”. What SAT Target Score Should You Be Aiming For? To look at an example of a public university, at the University of Utah (my local state school) you can get tons of AP credit, enough to knock out your general education requirements in high school. But it doesn't mean you have to take every single AP course your school offers. In John Tierney's 25 years of teaching none of the AP courses he taught came close in difficulty or comprehensiveness to his college courses. Colleges take the difficulty of your classes into consideration, and a lot of admissions officers are impressed by students who challenge themselves with the tougher courses. AP exams can result in college credit if your score is high enough. This is the most obvious benefit to taking AP courses, and it's the one that College Board markets the most often. What made that teacher so effective? This leads to stressed-out, burned-out students. What ACT target score should you be aiming for? The truth is that low-income schools often struggle to successfully implement AP programs and get students to pass the exams. AP courses are hard. If you take enough Advanced Placement classes, you can potentially graduate from college a semester or even a year early. To look at one example of a top-tier school, Princeton, you can get into harder history courses with excellent AP US or World History scores, but you won’t get credit for your high scores. Essentially, these are tests that motivated students take at the end of a rigorous AP course in high school in order to attain college credit for their classes. A recent story in The Bee posed a critical question about whether schools should offer AP classes if most students fail the exams (“Advanced Placement students struggle on … Math and science AP courses get credit more often than History or English. It was really nice that I had the option to take these classes and meet people with whom I can talk about abstract ideas and speculations that I have. It will take much more than just one program to fix it. Getting a dose of a college-level curriculum early on could ease your transition from high school senior to first-year college student. Despite the numerous problems with AP on a national level, and uneven courses at my local high school, I’m really glad I took nine AP classes in high school. A bad grade or two is likely. In short, it’s hard to balance the fact that AP courses tend to pack in tons of material with a desire to emphasize critical thinking and accessibility. As such, I will break down my criticism into three categories: the good, the bad, and the "meh.". However, those AP classes did a lot to help me prepare for Stanford classes—in fact most of my college study skills came from AP classes. She also took nine AP classes, earning a perfect score of 5 on seven AP tests. Or are you more interested in skipping general ed requirements at your state school and graduating college early? As a graduate of a large public high school who tackled the college admission process largely on her own, she is passionate about helping high school students from different backgrounds get the knowledge they need to be successful in the college admissions process. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all know that cutting out social interaction has taken its toll. This is especially true in contrast to IB, which explicitly focuses on developing critical thinking and writing skills. But with every benefit, there is a drawback. In short, AP courses are a forced march through a preordained subject, leaving no time for a high-school teacher to take her or his students down some path of mutual interest. The College Board would do well to be more receptive of student, parent, and educator feedback, as I feel it would help to improve the program to make it more equitable. Although we’ve talked a lot about problems with the AP program, I still think it’s a great way to prepare for college. Because once the AP Program reached a critical mass, it lost its functionality as a mark of distinction. In short, there are thousands of students winding up with failed AP tests each year—which is no good for them or their schools. "They are also not that bad because the earlier you finish your classes, the earlier you can hang out with your friends or … Remember to pick out classes with your own goals in mind. Why Gifted Students Shouldn't Take the Highest Level Classes Bill can get an A in calculus, but that doesn't mean he should take the class. That said, I think it’s important to evaluate how successful programs actually are in trying to fix the problem—especially if they claim to be part of the solution. They have more time to allocate to completing the degree in the major of their choice, as opposed to fulfilling general education requirements. According to a recent study by The College Board, nearly 50% of high school students taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses do not pass the exams to qualify for college credit. Ask below and we'll reply! They are fast-paced, cover more material than regular classes, and require independent work like research and analysis. This gives classes more time to cover the material and more depth of study, but it often results in more and generally less meaningful homework. As we’ve discussed in the past, the ultimate goal of taking an AP class is to pass the AP test at the end of the year—if you don’t, you’ve basically wasted the $92 you spent on the exam. The material is standardized, centralized, and taught over the course of a school year. AP classes offer more of a challenge than a general or core class. 26. So it’s a problem if most of the AP growth in recent years comes from failed exams. I decided to ask my Instagram followers how they felt about 2020 and the results were a little more mixed up than expected. A 2009 survey of 1,000 AP teachers found that "more than half are concerned that the program’s effectiveness is being threatened as districts loosen restrictions on who can take such rigorous courses and as students flock to them to polish their résumés.". Finally, continue to develop your other interests in high school. Most colleges only accept the top scores of fours and fives no the exams, meaning that about half of the students taking a given AP test will not receive credit for their AP scores. But in order to move on and get past something you need to allow yourself to feel it for what it is--all of the heartbreak and pain--and then you can start to take steps move on. Not necessarily. Even in places where the AP program has revamped classes, like biology, concerns remain. Everyone's been here. All AP? Again in The Atlantic, the former teacher argues AP classes aren’t actually equivalent to college-level courses: “Before teaching in a high school, I taught for almost 25 years at the college level, and almost every one of those years my responsibilities included some equivalent of an introductory American government course. While there are subsidization options for students with financial difficulties, there's little debate that AP exams are one of the college board's biggest money-grabbers. The hardest AP classes to self-study: are Chemistry, and Physics C – Electricity and Magnetism. Meanwhile, at Dartmouth, AP courses will no longer be used to grant any credit at all, though they will get students into higher-level classes.