2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Is taking an AP class more impressive than just taking the exam?

I am considering self-studying a few APs because either my school doesn't offer them or I can't fit them into my schedule. Is a good grade on the exam less than equivalent than a good grade in the class? Are they the same?

I would probably self-study a maximum of five or six spread out over the next three school years.

Do you have any thoughts? Also, is it doable to successfully self-study and exam and do you have any advice?

Thank you!


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Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]

Hi! The AP course itself is indeed more important than the AP Exam, but it definitely wouldn't hurt to do both. However, since you're self-studying, it would be a good idea to take the exam anyways. It's also better to find a course that can be put onto your transcript.

As for self-studying, if you don't know what APs to self-study for yet, I recommend looking at this website: https://examstudyexpert.com/easiest-ap-classes/

For studying material, I heard Khan Academy has some free AP lessons if you just go to their website and search up an AP (eg. AP Micro: https://www.khanacademy.org/economics-finance-domain/ap-microeconomics), and buying the Barron's book is worth it too. The Advanced Placement youtube also has review sessions if you want to look at them to self-study: https://www.youtube.com/user/advancedplacement/playlists

Also, BYU has some good independent study courses if you would like to check them out (including some AP courses such as AP Bio, AP Calc, AP Psych, etc) https://is.byu.edu/catalog?search=&school=11&special=All

Another website is UC Scout, which, as I have been told, is a good website offering courses to self-study as well and if you complete the course they could add it to your transcript. https://www.ucscout.org/courses/

Lastly, yes, it is doable to self-study and do well on the exam if you know your material well. If you already speak a language at home such as Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese, etc, then start with that first (if you look at the first link of the easiest APs, I'm pretty sure the reason why AP Chinese has such a high success rate is because most of the people taking it are already fluent and/or speak it at home).

The Princeton Review books and Barron's books offers tests that mimic the actual AP exam, although I heard the Barron's book is generally harder than the exam and the Princeton Review book is more similar to or easier than the actual exam.

Good luck!

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