How to Get into AP Classes in High School?

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you.

Spread the love


Are you a high school student wondering how you can get into AP classes in high school? This article answers all your questions about AP classes while highlighting the necessary requirements to get into the class and pass AP exams. Taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams comes with so many benefits, but the most obvious benefit is its ability to help you earn college credit alongside your diploma and lead to tuition savings as an undergraduate. Additionally, it prepares you to be able to handle college work. Read on to find out everything you’ll need to know about AP classes in high school before enrolling.

Why Take AP Classes in High School?Why Take AP Classes in High School?

With the AP program becoming more popular than ever, it has become evident that more people are discovering the benefits of taking AP classes. One of the apparent benefits of taking AP classes in high school is the ability to earn college credits even before stepping foot in college. In addition to this, there are several other benefits to explore. If you are still torn between taking AP classes in high school and forfeiting it, here are some convincing reasons to consider.

AP classes will challenge you

One known fact about AP classes is that they are rigorous and demanding. Beyond the problematic nature of their tests, combining bulky coursework with your regular school work can seem like a tough mountain to climb. However, there’s still an obvious benefit to this – it helps stimulate students’ intellectual capacity. Therefore, it’s not surprising that many high school students who love challenging themselves would go for AP classes.

Improve college admission chances

Unlike high school, getting into college can involve a challenging process. With serious competitions from hundreds of thousands of students to get into Ivy League schools, you’ll need the extra push to stand out. AP classes can serve as this extra push that would stand you out from the number. Doing well in AP classes proves to college admission officers that you are ready for the pressure that comes with college life. Therefore, it can be the extra dot that admission officers would consider while judging you positively.

Makes you better prepared for college

One of the most popular benefits of AP classes is their ability to prepare students for the rigorous nature of college life. Apart from improving your problem-solving abilities, AP classes are set up to also sharpen your writing skills and teach you how to think critically. AP students would also learn how to navigate the academic expectations they’ll encounter when taking college courses.

Earn college credits

We’ve talked about this before – AP classes are also designed to help students earn college credits. AP exams typically scored on a scale of 1-5, with (1) the lowest and (5) the highest. Making a score of 3 and above would mean course credits that can put you at an advantage when you arrive in college. Bear in mind that AP policies would vary from school to school, but the majority of colleges in the US and many other countries would grant college credits or accelerated placement to students that score well in AP exams.

A chance to win scholarships

College fees are usually very high, and students would jump at any opportunity to subsidize these fees. One option that stands out for reducing college fees is scholarships, but qualifying for scholarships is never an easy job. AP courses and exam scores have helped students qualify for scholarships over the years. A recent survey conducted by the College Board showed that 31 percent of colleges and universities use AP experience as one of the criteria when deciding scholarship eligibility.

What are AP Classes in High School?

What are AP Classes in High School?

AP classes are a short form for advanced placement classes, and the college board develops them to help high school students acquaint themselves with college-level courses before they step foot into college. In addition to assisting students in familiarizing themselves with college works, it also serves as a means to earn college credits before actually entering college. It’s important to note that the difficulty level of these classes slightly supersedes that of regular high school classes, so it typically requires extra work to understand the topics and pass the exams. AP exams are usually conducted at the end of the program, and you’ll need to pass the exams to earn college credits.

Like every other academic exam, AP exams serve as a test to know how well you’ve learned everything you were taught throughout the program. The exam is scored on a scale of 1-5, and students would need to score at least 3 for a pass. However, some colleges start counting credits from 4 points.

What is the Easiest AP Class?

Students can look at a variety of factors when thinking about the easiest AP classes. Some of the most significant factors include exam score rates and perfect score rates. With these factors in play, we can easily see that AP classes with a higher percentage of students earning a passing score of 3 and above are not so hard. On the other hand, courses where a higher percentage of students fall below 3 points, are relatively difficult.

Please note that most people would exclude AP seminars, AP arts and designs, and AP research when deciding the easiest AP classes because these classes are portfolio-based. With these in mind, some of the easiest AP classes include

  • AP physics (84% pass rate)
  • AP calculus (81.6% pass rate)
  • Spanish literature (75% pass rate)
  • AP physics 2 (73.3% pass rate).

What is the Hardest AP Class? 

Yes, advanced placement classes indeed offer students so many benefits, including increasing their chances of gaining college admissions and saving them time and money. However, despite these benefits, some students tend to shy away from taking AP classes because of the seeming difficulty of some of the subjects. Such courses are tricky, and failing them will reflect on your transcript, negatively affecting your admission process. Therefore, it’s not surprising that some students rank AP classes according to difficulty levels and shy away from the difficult ones. After reading several reviews from AP students, we’ve concluded that some of the most challenging AP classes include;

It’s important to note that AP classes are generally very rigorous and require a high level of attention irrespective of difficulty ranking. However, most ivy league colleges and universities favor students who take the more challenging AP classes during the admission selection process. Before choosing an AP class, you should consider its difficulty level and your potential to do well.

Is it Hard to Get into an AP Class?

Is it Hard to Get into an AP Class?

It’s common to see students shy away from applying for AP classes because they think it is not easy. But is it truly difficult to apply for AP classes? The correct answer to this question is “it depends.” Several factors combine to determine the ease of difficulty levels of applying. Factors like the availability of a students-friendly counselor will help make the process easier. Remember that you can only sign up for AP courses through your company school and not through the AP website.

Some AP classes have recommended courses to help you ease into the classes. Talk to your counselor or teacher to know more about what applies to your school.

How to Apply for AP Classes in High School?

How to Apply for AP Classes in High School?

The AP application process varies from school to school. However, it typically requires that you go through the regular class sign-up process, as long as you’ve taken all the necessary pre-requisite classes. For example, some schools would require students to enroll in an introductory biology course before registering for AP biology. You can refer to your school catalog to see all the necessary pre-requisite for your choice of AP classes.

Some schools even require that applicants pass a placement test before they can qualify to register for AP classes. If you are unsure what’s obtainable in your school, we recommend talking to your school’s guidance counselor or any of your teachers about the process. They know the specific protocols and would mostly be willing to guide you through them.

Students attending a school without AP classes would not necessarily need to register or attend AP classes officially. They just need to register for the exam later in the year. They can choose whatever means would help them prepare for the exams.

What are the Requirements to Apply for AP Classes?

What are the Requirements to Apply for AP Classes?

When it comes to applying for AP classes, the process is not as complicated as many people think, although students would typically need to fulfill some requirements. Unfortunately, people complain because they do not know these requirements or just can’t meet up with them. If you are in the category of people that do not know the requirements, here’s a brief review of some of them.

GPA requirement

This is an obvious requirement. Depending on the school, you’ll usually need to have a relatively impressive cumulative academic GPA overall or in the AP courses. Experts believe that it is a sign of your readiness for AP classes. We’ve explained above that AP classes are designed to closely simulate the work level of the college course. Therefore, students must develop the appropriate reading and study skills needed to complete the program before attempting it. Although many schools are beginning to kick against the use of Cumulative academic GPA, they’ll mostly still consider it when the other standards fall short of the acceptance threshold.

Standardized test scores

One of the most trusted indicators of whether a student is ready for the AP program or not is their ability to do well in a standardized test. Generally, it is assumed that doing well in standardized tests shows that students have the needed comprehension and reading skills for AP classes.

Departmental approval

Yes, we’ve talked about students needing parental approval to get into the AP program, but you’ll also need your teacher’s recommendation. The program coordinators will usually request teachers’ approval because they believe that teachers know students’ strengths, weaknesses, and study habits. These attributes are all critical in determining whether a student is mentally fit enough to take AP classes. Additionally, teachers can tell which students can rise to the challenge to do well in AP classes, irrespective of their present scores.

Parent’s signature

It’s easy to tell the influence parents have over their kids’ enrollment to AP classes. This is why some students would take AP classes, despite falling short of requirements set forth by the school. While the school may try to convince a parent that their kid is not ready to take on the challenges of AP classes, such arguments are often unsuccessful. Suppose a parent insists on enrolling their kid into the AP program regardless of the school’s recommendation. In that case, the school must request a signed waiver that clearly states that the parents disregard the school’s recommendation.

Wrapping Things Up: How to Get into AP Classes in High School?

When it comes to applying for college, all the small details matter. The competition for most top colleges is fierce, and you want to stand out from other students. While the final decision lies on the admission committee, you want to do your part to make yourself selectable. One of such things that can stand you out is AP results.

Applying for AP classes may not be the easiest thing, but it’s worth the stress. It shows college admission officers that you are ready to face the challenges of high school work. This article has explained some of the requirements for getting into AP classes and how you can get through them.

Don’t forget that you don’t have to enroll in an official AP class to take the exams. The AP exam is open to all students, so you can sit for it and earn credits even if your school doesn’t offer AP classes in those subjects. However, attending AP classes would help to prepare you for the exam better.

If you found value in this post, take your learning to the next level by exploring our comprehensive collection of AP Guides.

Picture of Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

If you found this helpful, help us out by sharing this post!


Readers of this post also read...

Is AP Chemistry Worth Taking?

Is AP Chemistry Worth Taking?

Perhaps you’re a high school junior or senior considering to take AP Chemistry and are weighing the merits of this challenging yet rewarding course. Known for its rigorous academic demands and significant time investment, AP...

Read More
How Old is Too Old to Go to College?

How Old is Too Old to Go to College?

One common misconception about college is that only students in their teens and early twenties attempt college. Unfortunately, this misconception has stopped many older people from enrolling in college to further their education. But the...

Read More