The Definitive Guide to choosing an AP Course
So, you are taking up an Advanced Placement course. This article does not deal with the why; it instead will help you consider if you will actually benefit from it. These advanced courses will require commitment and hard work at your end, maybe even some prerequisites. It is important to decide which course you wish to take and how to study for it, so that you can reap the benefits of your hard work.
What Advanced Placement courses are available?
A list of resources is provided on the College Board website
At the time of writing this article, the following courses are being offered:
2. AP Seminar
3. Art History
5. Calculus AB
6. Calculus BC
8. Chinese Language and Culture
9. Computer Science A
10. Computer Science Principles
11. English Language and Composition
12. English Literature and Composition
13. Environmental Science
14. European History
15. French Language and Culture
16. German Language and Culture
17. Government and Politics (Comparative)
18. Government and Politics (US)
19. Human Geography
20. Italian Language and Culture
21. Japanese Language and Culture
25. Music Theory
26. Physics 1: Algebra-Based
27. Physics 2: Algebra-Based
28. Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
29. Physics C: Mechanics
31. Spanish Language and Culture
32. Spanish Literature and Culture
34. Studio Art Drawing
35. Studio Art 2-D Design
36. Studio Art 3-D Design
37. US History
38. World History
These are courses for which you can give the final AP examination. Consult with your high school to find out which courses are offered there. Or, you can go for Integrated Preparation Courses such as by Masterclass Space.
Which one should I not choose?
Some of these courses require a lot of prerequisite knowledge, such as Calculus BC and Physics C. This means you need to have taken a few lower level courses to be able to do these courses easily. If you have not studied the prerequisites before, it is unwise to take such courses.
A few of the other courses are tough because they have a lot of memorization involved – these include US History, Biology, Chemistry, and European History. They require you to remember facts like dates or processes properly, and their MCQ system can be hard on those who are unprepared for it.
Some language courses are extremely hard due to the complexity of the language, such as Japanese and Chinese. If you do not speak these languages or you think you do not have an interest in learning them, you can skip them.
Are there “easy” courses?
AP tests are designed to be challenging. It is not wise to consider a course easy and slack off in preparation. Do not think that the final test will be easy just because people said it is: it’s made for a smarter than average student. However, some courses are relatively easier than others due to some factors.
If you already know a language listed as an AP course (or better, is a native speaker), you’re bound to find that course easier than others and score better. This is why, even though Chinese Language and Culture is considered to be a tough course, it has an extremely high pass percentage. Note that if you do not have prior experience with a language, taking an AP Language course is a bad idea.
If you are good at a particular subject and have the required prerequisites, you can take it. For example, if you are a history buff, you would enjoy World History. If you find math to be easy and can understand question asked in Statistics, it becomes much more comfortable to work with. If you have a background in the field of computer science, you can go for Computer Science as a subject.
Which courses are considered the easiest then?
• Less content to study or memories, easy to apply:
◦ Human Geography
◦ US Government
• Needs the ability to memorise things,:
• Better if you have a background:
◦ Computer Science
• If you think you’re good at English
◦ AP Language and Composition
◦ AP Literature and Composition
How can I self-study for these?
It is a good option to study yourself for Human Geography, Psychology, and courses that you’ve a background in. For foreign language courses, it is better to study with a good teacher than to study yourself. Teachers know common pitfalls and places you can get stuck, and can help you out. Language courses have essay components, and a teacher can help you judge your texts.
You can similarly study a lot of history courses yourself, provided you put in the effort, and if general courses overlap enough. However, DO NOT SELF-STUDY FOR COURSES WITH A LOT OF MATHS OR SCIENCE! Chemistry, Biology both benefit immensely in terms of time if you have a good teacher. Mathematics courses are not easy to do on our own and teachers can help out by clearing questions and guiding you through the course.
Instead, you can come to Masterclass Space and discuss it with our dedicated counsellors. Here, you can identify your strengths and get help in choosing a course. With tutoring from our brilliant teachers, you can improve your SAT/AP courses a lot with minimal wasted effort.
AP Courses and college applications
Colleges know which courses are considered easy to study for. If they see a bunch of easy courses on your transcript, they’ll see through it. Admission committees prefer to see that you have challenged yourself and started working towards your desired major instead of blindly shoring up college credit. So, it is better to do a series of course that build upon each other than a scattered group of courses
Also, while you “pass” an AP course at 3/5, you are much better off with a 4 or a perfect 5. A lot of universities will only award college credit for a 4 or a 5 in the AP test. This is an important consideration in your scores. For example, while Spanish has a high pass percentage, the number of people with a 5 score are much less.
How can Masterclass Space help me with AP courses?
• Masterclass Space helps you prepare for college, including SAT and AP courses.
• It helps you improve your concepts with the help of top teachers so that you can improve your grasp of the subject.
• Masterclass Space provides specialized, industry-leading preparatory material for studies condensing the syllabus as much as possible without sacrificing possible points.
• Dedicated sessions with counsellors to help you select colleges, majors and AP courses to take for the same.
THINK AP, THINK MASTERCLASS SPACE