Posts Tagged ‘AP exams’

More High School Students Taking AP Exams

Today’s high school students are smart, and they dream big! Over the last ten years, more and more students are taking advanced placement exams in a variety of different areas, and more of them are scoring a 3 or higher! For those who are not familiar with AP scoring, students can score between 0 and 5, with 3 being the score needed to count the class for college credit. Not a bad deal!

According to the infographic created by, 18% of high school students who take this test score a 3 or higher, with Washington D.C. having the lowest average (6.6%) and Maryland having the highest (27.9%). The data also indicates that the majority of test takers are women (66%). It may be surprising to learn that these exams aren’t only in typical high school subjects such as chemistry and U.S. government. AP courses include what many consider to be electives–computer science, calculus, music theory, microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistics, and psychology, just to name a few. In addition to more students taking and “passing” these exams, the subjects offered for AP exams are becoming more plentiful, with Chinese, Japanese, studio art 2-D design portfolio, studio art 3-D design portfolio, and world history having been added in the past decade.

Not all students who are recommended to take an AP class actually take it. Possible explanations are concerns that the class may be too difficult, not enough time to dedicate to studying, or a lack of confidence that they can pass a college-level test. After all, students as young as fifteen and sixteen can begin taking AP classes. That’s a lot of work for a high school sophomore, but students may be surprised to learn some of the advantages to taking these tests.

What could taking an AP course in high school do for you? Well besides bragging rights, having a class count for college credit is very useful! It often means you don’t have to use your tuition money on a general course that everyone else has to take. It might mean that you have met a prerequisite that allows you to take a course you have more interest in! If you have taken many AP courses in high school and had them all count as college credit, you could actually start your second semester as a freshman as a first semester sophomore, which is a big deal when sophomores get to pick their classes first! Taking AP classes in high school will also better prepare you for your college career. When your fellow freshmen are struggling with their studies, you will have already learned the ropes. You’ll know how to handle your workload and how to take a college level exam before you even take your first steps on your college campus. Talk about a jump start to your degree!

The Rise of the AP:

The Rise of the AP

(Infographic via and USC Rossier Online)

AP Exams Are Here!

The 2012 AP Exams are here! Students all around the country have already begun testing their knowledge this past week, and it will continue on through next week.

Remember, doing well on your AP exams can help save you time and money in college by allowing you to pass out of certain prerequisites.

Here’s the schedule for next week:


2012 Exam Calendar – Week 2
Morning – 8 a.m. Afternoon – 12 p.m. Afternoon – 2 p.m.
Monday, May 14 Biology
Music Theory
Physics B
Physics C: Mechanics
Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism†
Tuesday, May 15 U.S. Government and Politics Comparative Government and Politics
French Language and Culture
Wednesday, May 16 English Language and Composition Statistics
Thursday, May 17 Macroeconomics
World History
Italian Language and Culture
Friday, May 18 Human Geography
Spanish Literature


And here’s something for a little fun that you can share:

Good luck to you all!

What has your experience with AP exams been like? Share in the comment field below!


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How Do College Admissions Look at Weighted GPA, Unweighted GPA and Class Rank?

Categories: Admissions Advice

study-921885_1920What’s the difference between weighted GPA, unweighted GPA and class rank? Does taking harder classes and AP classes actually pay off in college admissions? How do college admissions compare weighted and unweighted GPAs? And where does class rank fit in with all of this?

Fortunately, we’ve got some answers for you. Mark Montgomery of Montgomery Educational Consulting answers questions about weighted and unweighted GPAs in a blog post saying:

Most colleges will consider both your weighted and unweighted GPA, and most high schools will report both to the colleges to which you are applying.

Colleges want the weighted GPA to reflect your class rank, as well as the relative rigor of your high school course load. But they will not use this weighted GPA in comparing you with other applicants.

Montgomery goes on to explain that to colleges, “an A is an A.” Rationalizing the fact that you got a B in an honors class doesn’t mean that you actually got an A if you were in a regular class. It might have been a hard class, but your teacher still saw your work as B work. Even though your weighted GPA shows the difficulty of your coursework, your unweighted GPA is a reflection of your performance in those classes.

So, what’s the point then of taking more challenging classes? Montgomery does give the plus-side to taking AP classes, though. He says that colleges will look at both your weighted and unweighted GPA:

Colleges want the weighted GPA to reflect your class rank, as well as the relative rigor of your high school course load. But they will not use this weighted GPA in comparing you with other applicants.

In short, college admissions officers do like to see that students challenge themselves by taking heavier course loads. At the same time, your weighted grade might not actually weigh much more than your unweighted grades.

Still, there are plenty of reasons to take AP classes besides just impressing an admissions officer. Allen Grove of writes that students who take AP classes can develop college-level skills, save money, choose a major sooner, take more elective classes in college, and more.