AP classes and testing provides college credits to high school students


Isa Quilter

High school students can earn college credit through AP classes and exams.

Elizabeth Atanosian, Staff Writer

AP exams can play a decent role when it comes to college, getting a feel for college level classwork and being accepted. Depending on the score that a student gets, they can receive college credit along with high school credit.
“You get an idea of what college level coursework is like, potential college credit depending on the score received on the end of the year AP exam, and AP classes/grades can improve your GPA,” Hayes AP Coordinator Kier Ector-Smith said.
According to The Princeton Review, AP tests are college-level exams provided only over two weeks in early to mid May, and are released each year in early July.
“AP classes start at the beginning of every school year [in] August, [but] to my knowledge, AP classes are not available during the summer,” Ector-Smith said.
These tests are provided by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. While there is a large variety of AP tests, not all of them are offered at every school.
“It varies from year to year,” Ector-Smith said. “This year we offered 15 exams/classes [which] students are also able to complete independently.”
When it comes to AP tests, even if you do not pass the exam and do not receive college credit, it does not roll over to your GPA. As long as you pass the class, you get high school credit.
“I would like to recommend that all students try AP, but the reality is, not all students are interested in or capable of the rigor involved in taking the courses,” Ector-Smith said. “Even some students who are academically capable of taking the classes, opt out because they know the courses involve an extra commitment they are not interested in.”
AP tests are very similar to SAT Subject Tests. There are currently 38 AP test options covering a range of subjects from Biology, Government, Computer Science and more. If interested in these subjects, taking them could improve other test scores for college.
“I took them because they relate to what I want to do in the future and I was genuinely interested in the topics,” junior Maezhen Clark said. “I took AP Government and Politics, Biology and Language and Composition.”
These tests get scored on a scale of 1-5. This score is what determines whether or not you get college credit. Most schools will not accept anything below a 4 to receive credits.
“The final score for each AP Exam is reported on a 5-point scale that offers a recommendation about how qualified you are to receive college credit and placement,” a CollegeBoard staff member said in an email interview. “But each college makes its own decisions about what scores it will grant credit or placement for.”
Not only does taking AP classes just give you college credit, but they give you free college credit. Earning college credit can mean an overall lower college tuition bill.
“[The] AP program has allowed millions of students to take college level courses and exams, and to earn college credit and/or placement while still in high school,” the CollegeBoard staffer said.
While AP tests determine college credit, they have no effect on your high school GPA or chances of getting into colleges, therefore there is no harm in trying an AP class as long as you’re prepared.
“Make sure you are willing to dedicate your time and energy to the class,” Clark said. “For me at least, the year really dragged on, and even if you enjoy the subject, it can take a lot out of you.”