Pros & cons of AP courses

Advance Placement (AP) courses were first introduced in the mid-50s as a way to bridge the gap between high school and college. However, times have moved on a long way since then, and so are AP courses still worth taking? Do you need the extra workload? And will a lousy grade in an AP course impact your college chances? These are the pros and cons you need to weigh up before taking an AP class.

Photo: BURST

Pro: Getting you ready for college

The whole reason AP courses were created was to give students a feel for what the college workload is like – particularly as it’s so much harder than high school for most. By taking an AP course, you can get a headstart and see what college level studying is really like. Sure, it might be hard work, but at least you’ll be prepared.

Con: Taking up time

If you already have a packed schedule in high school, then you might find that an AP course takes too much time and energy away from other things. They might also take that vital energy away from things such as socializing and extracurriculars. It’s not all about school, and you definitely don’t want to burn out before college.

Pro: Earning extra college credit

AP exams are taken in May, so the point of the courses is to adequately prepare you for these. Do well in the exams, and you’ll be able to earn college credit that will give you more time to take on other courses or classes when you actually get to college. This means you can start college with some free time to take on another exciting course because you’ve already put in the hard work.

Con: It could hurt your GPA

Going back to those AP courses taking up time… If you don’t do the work, then an AP class could actually hurt your GPA and impact your chances of getting into the college you want. They are far more challenging than most regular and honors classes, which means that you may sometimes be better just doing the course at honors level as opposed to an AP version. Definitely weigh up your options before taking the plunge.

Pro: Learning time management

All that being said, you’re going to want to be an expert in time management by the time you get to college. After all, you’ll be expected to juggle all of your classes, extracurriculars, studying, and a social life at college. An AP course will teach you valuable time management skills that you’ll really need in college.

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Con: It can be stressful

You’ve already got a lot on your plate as a young person going through high school, so do you really want to add any more stresses into the mix? AP exams can be quite an anxiety-inducing time, that not everyone can cope with. It’s important to understand exactly what you’re taking on before you decide to undertake an AP course.

There are plenty of pros and cons when it comes to AP courses, but only you will know if it’s the right thing for you. Weigh up your options and decide if you truly have the time and energy to put into an AP class.