C2 Student Studying

Performing well in advanced placement (AP) classes can strengthen your college application. Knowing how many classes to take, when to start taking them, and which classes to choose can help you create an academic roadmap for your high school years.

Since AP classes expose you to fast-paced learning environments and college-level coursework, they are more challenging than your standard high school courses. While it may be tempting to pad your transcripts with as many AP classes as possible, this could prove ineffective.

To help you make the most of each AP class you take, we’ve addressed a few commonly asked questions as well as provided a few study tips.

How Many AP Classes Should I Take?

If you plan to attend a top tier school, you’re likely to juggle more than one AP class at a time during your high school years. How many AP classes you take depends on the number of AP courses available at your school. Generally, we recommend students take around half of the AP courses offered at their school.

Let’s say your school only offers 10 AP courses. In that case, we’d recommend taking five or six courses to create a competitive application. If your school offers 25 AP courses, we’d recommend taking up to 12.

While the number of classes you take is important, so is your performance. Doing well in these courses demonstrates your college readiness and speaks to your potential performance in higher education. Working with a tutor can help you maintain high grades in each class, manage your time effectively, and reduce stress as you prepare for upcoming exams.

When Can You Take AP Classes?

When you can take AP classes will depend on your school. Some schools require students to complete prerequisites before they can enroll in AP classes while others let students take them during their freshman year. You should work with your school counselor or teachers to understand your school’s requirements for AP classes.

Which AP Course is Right for You?

Although the College Board offers 38 AP programs, this full suite is not available at every school that offers AP classes. You should start by examining the courses available at your school then choose classes based on your interests, academic strengths, or eventual college major. This keeps you engaged with the content as you adjust to a more rigorous workload and expectations.

Despite the challenging nature of these courses, your desire to learn more about a specific area of study can motivate you to excel in more advanced settings.

4 Tips to Help You Ace Your AP Classes

At most schools, AP classes are more rigorous than other classes in high school. Creating a strategy can help you quickly adjust to the advanced workload, fast-paced learning environment, and prepare to take your AP exam.

1. Be Proactive

AP classes can cover a lot of advanced material very quickly. You’re expected to take a higher level of ownership over the material, so having a deep understanding of the subject matter is essential. Being proactive can help you feel better prepared for your classes.

If your school offers a study period, use it to complete homework, preview upcoming material, and make a list of questions you have for your teacher. This allows you to maximize your time in class and gain additional clarity while you can. Taking advantage of this down time can also give you more time for extracurricular activities, tutoring sessions, and other time-based obligations.

2. Review Notes Regularly

Taking notes during class allows you to reinforce and later review the material covered. It allows you to identify topics your instructor finds most relevant to the AP exam. Using these notes alongside exams you’ve taken during your AP classes can be vital for AP exam prep.

Since AP exams cover a year’s worth of material, we recommend reviewing past material for a few minutes each day. This keeps older material fresh in your mind and reinforces recent material. It also makes preparing for exam day less stressful as it keeps you from cramming the night before.

Regularly reviewing your notes also helps you identify areas where you may need additional clarification or practice. You can speak with your teacher about these areas after class, however they likely won’t have time to create a customized study plan for you. Working with a tutor can give you more individualized support and help guide your study sessions.

3. Make Time for Yourself

Studying is important, but so is your mental health. Take breaks during study sessions and schedule down time to do things you enjoy. This allows you to recharge and prevent burnout.

Prioritize self-care by getting enough sleep, eating well, and having hobbies outside of studying. Doing so can help improve your focus, so you can have more productive study sessions.

4. Work with a Tutor

The College Board recommends students dedicate three to four months preparing for AP exams alongside any prep they may do in class.

Making time intensive test prep, extracurriculars, and homework for other classes can cause you to quickly become overwhelmed. Your first instinct might be reaching out to your teacher for extra assistance; however, they often don’t have the time to give you the individualized attention you may need. Working with a tutor can help fill this gap.

At C2 Education, our tutors work with you to create study plans based on your needs. Our AP exam prep program and AP Bootcamp provide structured study sessions that allow you to focus on one subject at a time to keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Whether preparing for one AP exam or multiple exams, we can help you use your time effectively and reach your goals.

In Summary

Finding success through AP classes isn’t a matter of chance. You should work with parents and school counselors to choose the classes best aligned with your goals. Aside from core courses, choose classes based on your interests to help improve your chances of success.

Remember, AP courses aren’t a sprint to the finish. Setting aside time each day to study can help you prepare for the corresponding AP exam. If you start feeling overwhelmed, it’s alright to take breaks during study sessions or step away entirely. Prioritizing self-care can help you avoid burnout. With the support available at C2 Education, you can perform well in your AP classes and on upcoming exams.

Ready to ace your AP classes and exams? Speak with your parent or legal guardian about scheduling a consultation today.