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AP Courses and Exams

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate are two kinds of courses available to students. Colleges seem to place the two systems on equal levels, but it’s still important to be aware of the differences between the two. The AP program is aimed toward 9-12th graders, while the IB program is mainly for ages 16-19. There is an IB program, but students don’t have to commit to it. Instead, they have the option of taking individual IB courses, similar to how AP courses are taken. Examples of AP courses are AP Psychology, AP Calculus AB, and AP Seminar. Several IB subject groups are language acquisition and the arts.

So what are the pros and cons of taking an AP course?

Being extremely similar to courses at college during the first year, students will be more prepared. Known for their academic rigor, students will also be able to challenge themselves, acquiring new concepts and gaining skillsets along their learning journey. Passing an AP course also counts for college credit! This means that students won’t have to take that class in college, allowing them to save money and time. Earning top scores for AP classes contributes to creating a more competitive college application; passing these difficult courses is impressive and an academic achievement for any student.

While academic rigor is listed above as a pro, it can also be seen as a con. APs are notorious for the massive amount of coursework that they come with. They’re meant to resemble college courses, and therefore, will be more numerous in assignments and more difficult in material. Students will need to find a balance between schoolwork, mental health, extracurriculars, and sufficient rest. At a listed price of $96 for each AP exam in 2022, taking AP courses is also quite pricey. Fee reductions, however, are available to qualifying students.

College Board, the organization that created the AP program, states that “any student who is academically ready for a challenge and is willing to put in the work should consider taking AP.” Worth adding on is “any student mentally ready”, as well. Before committing to an AP course and exam, students need to figure out their priorities, current situation, and ultimate goals.

Now that we have a general overview of APs, we’ll be covering common misconceptions about them in the next weekly BigBang Artwork article.

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