5 Surprising Facts About AP Classes

Low AP Scores Boost College Success

When we think of Advanced Placement (AP) classes, we focus on earning college credits during high school. However, according to recent AP data, students scoring below test scores required to gain college credit attend college more than others with similar grades.

Here’s some other shocking and important facts:

  • Recently CollegeBoard stopped awarding distinctions for taking a lot of AP tests. As more families become aware of the devastating effects of stress on student lives, less parents encourage over achievement.
  • Students scoring an average score of 1 on AP tests are 34% more likely to attend a four-year college than academically similar students.
  • It’s common for students to start taking AP classes as early as their first year of high school. Half of these students will score higher when they take AP tests in 10th grade.
  • Average college grades are higher for AP students, no matter what the score on the test was. The difference for grades among students taking an AP course averaged between 0.06 and 0.35 grade points.
  • The same score doesn’t mean college credit everywhere. When your student racks up AP test scores of 3 or higher, they should double check with colleges if the score is accepted and how it applies in their major of studies.
  • The best use of AP classes may not be testing out of a year or more of college. Students who receive scores qualifying for college credit have academic wiggle room. They might skip introductory classes and progress quickly towards upper level work or choose a few courses just for career exploration.
  • Most students who take an AP course, take the national exam for that course at the end of the year.
  • • Taking AP classes demonstrates to admissions personnel that your student is serious about their studies.
  • Just like with college, pay attention to prerequisites. Not taking them can hurt AP class success. Plan class selection ahead if your student is in junior high or the first two years of high school.
  • Taking too many AP classes can high school GPAs. Not only do colleges have an option of whether to count weighted GPAs, high schools may or not weight GPAs for taking harder courses, too.

Bottom Line

Your student should ease into AP coursework. Discuss with their guidance counselor and the student what’s a comfortable course load for them. Too many AP courses can be a worse decision than taking zero, one, or two. Prepare your student for the possibility that they may not pass each AP test. Pep them up with stats about how successful students with lower scores still are in college.  AP classes are just step one of the college journey. There are many other ways to prove themselves academically to colleges.