Which AP Course Should I Take? (Complete Guide)

by Fresh Print Magazine
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student studying for an ap course

Welcome to your complete guide on selecting the ideal AP course for you! If you’ve ever wondered, which AP course should I take? Then you’re at the right place. This informative resource is designed to offer expert advice and valuable insights to help you make the best decision for your academic journey.

Let’s explore together to find the perfect AP course that aligns with your interests, goals, and aspirations. Keep reading to uncover the secrets to your academic success!

What Is an AP Course?

Advanced Placement courses, commonly known as AP courses, are an academic program offered by the College Board for high school students. The program’s goal is to offer college-level coursework in specific subjects while still in high school.

By enrolling in an AP course, you can experience rigorous and challenging academic content that can help you earn college credits before you even start college. Taking AP courses is an excellent way to demonstrate to colleges and universities that you are committed to your education and prepared for college-level work.

These courses are designed to give you a taste of college classes, with more in-depth coverage than typical high school courses.

  • Curriculum: College-level with an emphasis on critical thinking, analytical skills, and problem-solving.
  • Assessment: Culminates in a standardized exam, scored on a scale of 1 to 5. A score of 3, 4, or 5 is often considered passing and may be eligible for college credit.
  • Subjects Offered: Range from arts, English, history, social sciences, math, sciences, to world languages and culture.

AP courses prepare you for college and let you skip intro courses, saving time and money. They’re recognized in the US and worldwide. Consider your strengths and interests to excel and earn college credit.

How Do AP Courses Differ from Regular or Honors Courses?

Before choosing an AP course, consider how these classes differ in rigor, content, and expectations compared to regular or honors courses. AP (Advanced Placement) courses are college-level classes offered in high school, which can culminate in an AP exam that may earn you college credit.

Your Academic Strengths and Weaknesses

Evaluate your academic strengths and weaknesses. AP courses demand a high level of understanding in the subject area. For example, if you excel in science, AP Biology might align with your skills. Conversely, AP English Literature might be challenging if you struggle with language arts.

Your Interests and Passions

Align AP courses with your interests and passions. If you are fascinated by government, taking AP Government can deepen your knowledge and prepare you for related college courses. Choosing AP classes that interest you can lead to a more engaging and fulfilling experience.

Explore Your College Aspirations

Consider AP courses in light of your college aspirations. If you aim to major in Engineering, AP Calculus and AP Physics could strengthen your college application. Research your intended college’s AP policies – some institutions may offer credit or placement for high AP scores.

Time Commitment and Course Load

Be mindful of the time commitment and course load. AP courses require significant study time and effort outside the classroom. Balance is key; it’s crucial not to overextend yourself by taking too many AP classes simultaneously, which may impact your overall academic performance.

Seeking Guidance and Resources

Take advantage of available guidance and resources. Discuss which AP courses are a good fit with your guidance counselor. Use resources like College Board’s AP Central to understand course prerequisites, curriculum, and exam particulars.

Categorize and Briefly Describe Different AP Course Areas:

table with books on it

AP courses offer you the opportunity to engage in college-level studies while you’re still in high school. They’re structured to give you a taste of various academic disciplines and are categorized primarily by subject.

Math & Computer Science

  • AP Calculus AB/BC: Explore differential and integral calculus through real-world applications and problem-solving. The AB course covers less material than BC.
  • AP Computer Science A/Principles: A focuses on Java programming and computing problem-solving; Principles provides an introduction to the central ideas of computing and technology.


  • AP Biology: Delve into the workings of life, from cellular processes to ecosystem dynamics. Labs are key components.
  • AP Chemistry: You’ll learn about the composition, structure, and properties of substances and the changes they undergo.
  • AP Physics C: This course segment focuses on mechanics and electromagnetism, emphasizing problem-solving and mathematical modeling.


  • AP English Literature and Composition: Analyze prose and poetry to understand authors’ craft and underlying themes.
  • AP Language and Composition: Focuses more on rhetoric; you’ll read various texts and learn to craft arguments.

Social Science

  • AP World History: Examines civilizations across the globe, giving you insight into historical resources and writing.
  • AP US History: Dives into American history, from pre-Columbian times to contemporary issues.
  • AP Psychology: An introduction to theories, studies, and concepts within the field of psychology and its practices.

World Languages & Culture

  • AP Spanish Language and Culture: Emphasizes communication in Spanish through listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
    • AP Spanish Language: You’ll develop proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Practice real-world scenarios like debates, presentations, and simulations for practical application and cultural understanding.
    • AP Spanish Literature: Explore Spanish literature from different periods and regions. Analyze literary devices, themes, and historical context to enhance reading comprehension and cultural awareness.
  • AP French Language and Culture: Strengthens French language skills in varied and challenging contexts, with culture deeply intertwined.


  • AP Studio Art: Designed to address a broad interpretation of art-making through drawing, 2D design, and 3D design portfolios.
  • AP Music Theory: Focuses on the skills and knowledge needed to create and understand music, including ear training and sight-singing.

Conclusion: Which AP Course Is Right For Me?

Deciding which Advanced Placement (AP) courses to take should be a strategic choice that aligns with your academic strengths and college goals. Consider the following steps to make an informed decision:

  • Assess Your Interests: Focus on subjects you are genuinely interested in. If you have a passion for the material, you’re more likely to engage deeply and perform well.
  • Evaluate Your Academic Strengths: Choose courses that play to your strengths. Courses like AP Calculus AB or AP Statistics may be suitable if you excel in math. For science enthusiasts, AP Biology or AP Chemistry might be a good fit.
  • Consider College Majors: If you have a potential college major in mind, select AP classes relevant to that field. For engineering, AP Physics and AP Calculus are sensible picks. For humanities, consider AP Literature or AP History.
  • Balance Your Workload: Don’t overextend yourself. Juggling multiple challenging AP courses can be taxing. Aim for a balance that allows you to maintain high performance across the board.

Remember, success in AP courses also depends on the level of support you can expect from your school and teachers. Research your school’s pass rates and ask current students about their experiences. Finally, consider your long-term academic and career goals to ensure that the AP courses you choose will be beneficial in your educational journey.

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