List of Pros and Cons of AP Classes

While The College Board claims AP classes will save students’ time and money there is no guarantee that the university the student goes to will allow the substitution, leaving the student to redo the course all over again. Although there is a correlation between participating in AP classes and performing better in college, there are many other factors that must be considered. These include the more knowledgeable teachers in AP classes, smaller student-to-teacher ratio, and that the students’ backgrounds tend to be wealthier. Moreover, AP students are self-motivated, which, in itself indicates a greater chance for success. Here is a look at the overall pros and cons of AP classes.

List of Pros of AP Classes

1. Classes are smaller and the teachers tend to be better than in conventional high school classes.

2. Co-learners tend to be more disciplined, leading to fewer disruptions.

3. Gives students an early taste of what college is like.

4. Roughly 31% of colleges consider AP coursework when granting scholarships.

5. Students who enroll in AP classes appear to colleges as hardworking and self-motivated.

6. Low-income families are subsidized for the costs to test (sometimes taking the “test out” exam for free).

7. Greater challenge may be appealing to some students.

8. Amass credits before college, saving money in the long run. In the best possible scenario, it could save you a year of tuition. However, few colleges actually accept AP courses as alternates in their degree programs.

9. Spend less time in college.

10. There is a correlation between AP class participation and success in college.

List of Cons of AP Classes

1. Workload depends on student (not for everybody).

2. High workload/long study hours. May consume too much time for student to participate in other activities or classes that interest him or her.

3. Dramatically increases the level of stress high school students undergo.

4. Student may “check out” if workload is too great.

5. Student must be prepared to do well (achieve a score of 3-5, 4-5 preferred).

6. Student may lose sight of “having fun” in high school.

7. Critics claim AP courses are not equivalent to college level courses.

8. Colleges do not necessary accept AP courses as substitutes, meaning student may still have to take the course.

9. Student will likely fail if coursework is too hard.

10. The courses cover a lot of material and do so very quickly and superficially. Students are usually too rushed to explore topics deeply and are not taught critical thought. Students are often forced to memorize material.

11. Few AP teachers actually understand the exams.

12. There is no standard policy on what exam score can earn you college credit.

13. There is no national standard, so course quality varies.

14. Students are pressured to take more AP courses than they realistically need to stay competitive.