AP courses: What are they really worth?


Advanced Placement classes can count as college credits. In order for the credits to be counted students must take, and pass, the AP Exam. Every year these exams have been mandatory for Academy students; however this year administration at Academy decided to make these exams optional for seniors. All other classes are still required to take the exam.

Cassidy Gourely, senior, who is taking five AP courses says, ” I kind of like it, because I don’t have to take as many exams, and I don’t have to pay for all of them. But at the same time, I think it defeats the purpose of taking an AP class. I feel as if now some classes are not being geared towards the AP exam, which in the end will hurt those who want to take it. I understand the whole 84 for a final procedure, but I don’t fully understand the benefit to the students for making AP exams optional.”

Cara Dawson, junior, who is taking two AP courses says, “I thinking making the AP exams optional for seniors is a nice senior perk to add. It gives students more flexibility when picking classes because they don’t have to worry about exam conflicts.”

Students are advised to take four AP courses, at most. However there have been instances where students have opted to take more and some students have been put into AP courses with out asking for it. All seniors this year were placed in AP English whether they asked for it or not.

Laura Frazier, senior AP Literature teacher, says “I love teaching [AP], because I believe in setting high expectations and helping students reach them.  This year, it has been a joy to watch many of the girls grow as they are pushed and stretched to write better, read more, and think critically.  With high expectations in an all [AP] senior class, it is always going to be difficult to keep everyone motivated to not just do the work, but to work beyond their comfort zone.  I love teaching all of the seniors and sharing in the exciting moments of their last year of high school.”

When asked about her feelings on the optional AP Exam, Frazier mentions, “[As a senior teacher] I see the benefit of the optional AP exam because many of our girls are taking several exams, making their schedules very trying at that time.  The AP classes, however, are still taught and assessed as if all enrolled students are taking the AP exam at the end of the course to ensure the integrity of the class, maintaining the expected rigorous curriculum to prepare each student for that final assessment.”

Students take AP courses because it looks good on high school transcripts when they are sent to colleges. Another perk of taking an AP Course in high school is that some of them, depending on the college or university, will accept the credit so a student can exempt that class in college.

Students should not sign up for more AP’s than they can handle because they are a lot more work than other college prep or honors classes. I feel that making the AP Exam optional will encourage rising seniors to take more AP courses. I see the value in taking AP classes in high school, but I also know first-hand the struggle and work load that comes with those AP courses.