What Makes AP Courses So Important?

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It used to be enough for graduates to have all A’s on their high school transcripts to be admitted to highly selective colleges. Not any more! Now the top college-bound students must also demonstrate they have challenged themselves with rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) courses that teach college-level material in high school. Some high schools also offer International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, which are considered even more rigorous college-level courses than AP.  

This emphasis on academic challenge is meant to help students prepare for the demanding workload they’ll face in college. Rigor is commonly measured by the number of AP and/or IB courses they take in high school. Some experts say this focus on rigor is taking a heavy emotional toll on students, causing some to “collapse on the treadmill trying to keep up.” As recently reported in Inside Higher Ed, students often feel pressure to pass up other valuable educational experiences just so they can take more AP courses. It is not uncommon for some colleges to require as many as 6-8 AP courses during the high school career, mostly in 11th and 12th grades. You might expect these high demands from the Ivy League schools, but Georgia Tech and UGA also have high expectations.

There are over 30 AP courses offered in high schools in the arts, English, history, math, sciences and world languages. AP is a trademark of College Board, the same folks who bring us the SAT and PSAT exams. Each year in May, there are 30+ AP exams scheduled at schools over a two-week period. Click here for the 2019 AP exam schedule.

The AP exams are usually two to three hours long with multiple-choice questions and free response (typically essay) questions. The scoring scale is from 1 to 5, with 5 as the top score. Some colleges allow students to get credit for a college course if they score 4 or 5 on an AP exam. In more cases, colleges use AP scores as guidelines for placement, waiving prerequisites and allowing students to start advanced courses sooner.

At Dogwood, we help AP and IB students with one-on-one tutoring throughout the school year to stay on top of the challenging curriculums. Our expert tutors also help students prepare for each May exam by prioritizing and reviewing the topics covered. And we teach key test-taking strategies to approach the AP/IB exams more methodically. Using practice tests and other materials, we provide valuable review and practice exercises to prepare students for test day.

Click here for the 2020 AP exam schedule. Call Dogwood today at 678-735-7555 to help your student get ready for the AP and IB exams in May. Customized tutoring in our professional learning center, seven days a week by appointment.

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