As a student who attended a high school with an American curriculum, I had always expected to take AP classes during my time in school. Although students are not required to take AP courses, especially students who do not attend American schools, I believe that these higher-level courses can be of great benefit. In this article I will explore three reasons why I believe that taking AP courses are ideal for any student that wants to challenge themselves and explore different topics. If you’re on the fence on whether or not you should push yourself to take an AP course, I am here to tell you why I believe you should.
The first, and perhaps most important reason that I believe interested students should heavily consider taking AP courses is because of the wide range of topics offered by CollegeBoard, the company that develops these Advanced Placement courses. CollegeBoard offers AP courses in topics ranging from AP Seminar—where you learn the process of conducting proper academic research, culminating in a research paper of your own topic—to AP Biology, where you explore how living organisms function. High school is about exploring your interests and taking the time to figure out what type of classes you enjoy and which you do not so that you can decide which programs you want to apply to for University. AP courses give you the freedom to explore your interests, whatever they may be. Whether you like math, science, arts, or history, CollegeBoard offers AP courses in all of these topics, among others.
Another strong reason to take AP courses is the fact that these courses are all standardized and have a strong reputation behind them. When you apply to University, depending on what school you attended or where you’re from, some Universities may have marked your school as an, “easy school,” and might take your grades with a grain of salt. If you take AP courses, this will not happen. Because all AP courses are standardized and utilize the same curriculum for each different class, Universities will know that your grade in the class is an accurate reflection of your knowledge on the subject.
This leads me to my final reason on why I believe high school students should consider taking a few AP courses, which is that AP courses will give you transfer credits at University. As someone who has utilized AP scores to get out of a few university classes, I can say from my personal experience that all the work and studying that you go through when taking the AP test is worth it when you get a transfer credit. Transfer credits not only lighten your course load, but they also, in turn, allow you to take interesting courses you may not usually have been able to. I believe that this is especially beneficial for students looking to go into heavily structured programs such as Commerce or Engineering where most, if not all, of your courses are decided for you in the first year of your degree. With transfer credits, you will be able to take courses that may be outside of your program. You can pursue any other interests that you may have, or you could have a reduced course load. A reduced course load will give you more time to juggle extracurricular commitments, leisure time, and school work. I found this extremely useful when I went into my first year of University because it let me focus on fewer classes which in turn allowed me to achieve higher grades.
Although AP courses do offer some great benefits, they are harder than most other high school courses. There is generally a greater amount of content taught within these courses and the classes move at a faster pace. This being said, I believe that any student who is genuinely interested in the course they are taking can excel in an AP course. AP courses offer many interesting topics to students who want to expand their knowledge, and I believe that high school students should give them strong consideration when choosing their courses.
Paul is a second-year student in the Bachelor of Commerce program at Queen’s University. He moved to Canada after taking AP classes throughout high school at the Singapore American School in Singapore. During his time as an AP student, Paul was able to achieve AP Scholar with Distinction for his high scores on AP tests.