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6 months ago
Admissions Advice

Can I self study AP exams and take the test to get a bit of an edge?
Answered

My school only offers 5 and I’m willing to learn more on my own and go to give the exam if it’ll help show my dedication and interest in certain subjects.

AP
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2 answers

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Accepted Answer
6 months ago

As @WIStudent2021 mentioned, you're viewed in the context of your school and what is available to you. So, if you haven't already, you should ideally be aiming to take all 5 of those APs already offered to you along with as many honors classes as you can handle. This shows schools you were always pushing yourself academically and academic rigor is super important in admissions.

Now, here's where I slightly disagree with the other answer. While it can be a fine idea to self study and take an AP exam, and while it does show a bit of your dedication/academic interests, the actual impact of a strong AP exam on your chances is pretty small. I'd look to see if there are other AP classes offered in your area or online that you can take for credit. Taking the actual class will look much better than just taking the test. If you can't do that then I agree with @WIStudent2021's suggestion to look into dual enrollment courses. If you're not able to do either of those things then I would consider self-studying for the exams as long as you don't go overboard. However, depending on how many tests you'd take and how long you'd study each week, there are probably more impactful uses of your time like building out your ECs.

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6 months ago

Yes, that is a perfectly good idea! I would say don't go overboard and take +10 APs though if your school doesn't offer that many, because colleges truly look at where you are from and contextualize your opportunities against kids attending schools with better resources. They don't expect you to have as many APs as the others. My advice is to just shoot for APs in subject matters you care about, because you want to save time for Awards/ECs which are a huge part of your application. For someone wanting to study foreign policy, taking the AP Spanish exam on your own is just as impressive as starting a Spanish Honors Society or winning a Spanish short-story writing contest.

I recommend too looking at CAPP/college courses at local universities (if available) because that demonstrates an ability to learn at a college level. I did those and they actually teach you a lot about college a

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