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gilgamesh's avatar

Question about high school AP credit...

Asked by gilgamesh (227points) January 23rd, 2008

hey i just need some advice for a class i’m taking next year. I was recommended to take the AP language class and i was recommended to take AP US history. I’m taking everything else honors except math. I was wondering should i take the AP course with a pass/fail option ( meaning that the class wont affect my GPA unless I fail it) or should i just take a normal us history class?

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9 Answers

jz1220's avatar

How do you feel about this workload? How many other classes are you taking? I would ask those questions first, and be honest about what you can or cannot handle.

If it were me, I would take the pass/fail option only to ease SOME of the stress. I wouldn’t choose pass/fail so I could have a reason to not try as hard as if I were taking the class for a letter grade. Reason being, I would like to do well on the exam and get college credit for it.

Are you a senior?

hannahsugs's avatar

It really depends. If you like the subject and it won’t be too difficult for you, take the AP class, it can’t hurt. How your school’s GPA calculations work could also influence your decision: at my high school, an A+ in an AP class was a 5.0 for your gpa, not a 4.0, so it was often worth it to take the AP classes even if you’d struggle a little. That way you might learn more anyways.

The other thing you should really consider is what college you might go to. (If you’re a sophomore or a freshman, you can disregard this.) Even if you don’t know specifically, in my experience public colleges or universities are more likely than private colleges to give you credit for AP classes. My (private) school is only giving me credit for 2 of my AP classes from high school, and only as credits towards graduation, not to fulfill any General Education requirements or much else. In contrast, some of my high school friends who now go to public universities entered with Sophomore standing because of all the APs they took in high school.

If you think you might regret not having the credit, take the class. If you only want it for college credit, maybe taking it pass/fail so you can take the AP exam is a good choice. But most importantly, take it if US history is interesting to you, you’ve heard that the teacher is good, and you’re willing to do a little extra work. If the teacher is dismal, it’s not worth it. If you’ve always hated history, it’s not worth it. If you’ve always loved history, you probably won’t mind the extra work, so go for it!

Just my two cents.
-A current college student who loved her AP classes in high school

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

What grade are you in? I’m a junior in 3 AP classes, 2 honors classes, and taking a course at Yale University (it’s nearby). It is a LOT of work, but if that doesn’t bother you and you enjoy learning, especially those subjects, then definitely go for it.
Also, if you get a 5 (some colleges even accept 4s) on the AP test in May, you can get college credit and go into a more advanced section once your in college.

bob's avatar

When I was in high school, our AP classes had weighted GPAs. That meant that a B in an AP class was worth 4.0, and an A was worth 5.0. Pretty good deal. If you don’t have a similar deal, then what?

AP classes are generally good because they have good students in them. Your regular classes won’t try to teach you as much. With that said, the actual AP credit is only worth so much. I ended up with almost a year’s worth of AP credit for college, but taking the actual college classes would have—in some cases—been more valuable than taking the high school AP classes.

Go for the AP class. You have nothing to lose: your AP score won’t affect your admission to college. You might learn something. Just don’t fail.

freerangemonkey's avatar

I do believe that if you take the AP class pass/fail that it will not count toward your college credits, whereas, if you take it for a grade and get a passing grade that it will. If you put in the hard work toward an AP credit (an extra GPA point) you may as well also get the college credit.

zina's avatar

as above, i would check that colleges accept credit (even just as points, not for a requirement) for AP classes that were taken pass/fail. i took AP classes and some at a local college, and transfered it all to my private college—- 40 credits! (a little under 1.5 years worth) some of those were pass/fail, but they were ensembles which were only offered that way. and my college didn’t take the grades (therefor affecting my college GPA), they only put the credits on my record. it was great to have that and be able to be more flexible with class choices and finish early as a result.

also, the 5.0 is really cool—- even though I had a mix of grades, i had a 4.2 GPA because of those. it seemed kinda deceitful to me, but that’s how they count it…. so don’t underestimate the power of a 5 or two to really raise your GPA! but of course this is all only relevant if you think you can get an A (or even A- or B+, still above 4) in the class. even with a B it’s still worth a regular A, and down from there. so unless you’re planning on a C or so you have little to loose. you must be a smart, hardworking student if you’re doing all this!

gailcalled's avatar

My son went to Wesleyan and took a semester (for credit) in Paris. He took the second semester off and wandered around. To make up the 1/2 term, he went to Dartmouth for a summer. Dartmouth had (has?) a trimester system and offers a regular summer session but w. only three courses. My son’s HS AP English 5 filled in the hole and he graduated w. his class.

hannahsugs's avatar

@gailcalled: I go to Wesleyan! It’s a fantastic place to be. If anyone’s curious, I outlined their AP policy somewhere in my lengthy response above. :)

gailcalled's avatar

@Hannah: I’m delighted that Wesleyan is still so much fun. (Is Eclectic still mondo bizzaro?) Glad that the AP policy is still in place. It certainly came in handy for us.

(And I am eternally grateful for the poetry writing courses that my son took; I was a faraway auditor and learned everything I need to know about good poetry.)

On topic: take only AP courses in subjects that you love and are willing to put the extra effort in. Pass/fail is a cop-out, in my opinion.

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