Are High School AP Classes College Credit?

Looking to get ahead? Start earning some college credits. Look no further than high school AP classes. Let’s learn about them below.

What Are AP Classes?

Advanced Placement (AP) classes are high school-level courses offered to students interested in challenging themselves academically and potentially earning college credit while still in high school. 

Moreover, to participate in an AP class, students must typically have a solid academic record and be willing to put in extra time and effort to keep up with the challenging course material. 

At the end of the school year, students who have taken AP classes may have the opportunity to take a corresponding AP exam, which is graded on a scale of 1 to 5. 

Are High School AP Classes College Credit?

How Do High School AP Classes Count For College Credit?

To get college credit for AP classes, you will need to take the corresponding AP exam at the end of the school year. The AP exams are graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score. 

Most colleges and universities will grant college credit or advanced standing to students who earn a score of 3 or higher on an AP exam. However, the specific score required may vary depending on the institution.

Scores lower than three will not grant students with college credit. It can, however, result in class credit for high school. Nevertheless, some teachers use the score as a final exam grade. Thus, failing the exam can have detrimental effects on your grade.

In order to prepare for the AP exam, it is essential to fully engage in the course material throughout the school year and seek help from your teacher if you need it. It would be best if you also planned to spend some time reviewing and studying on your own in the weeks leading up to the exam. 

Some schools and organizations also offer review courses or materials to help students prepare for the AP exams. Once you have taken the AP exam and received your score, you will need to send your score report to the college or university you are interested in attending to receive credit or advanced standing.

What AP Classes Are Available?

AP classes cover a wide range of subjects, including science, math, English, history, and languages. They are designed to be equivalent to college-level courses in terms of content and difficulty. 

Furthermore, these classes are typically offered to high school students in their junior and senior years. They are taught by highly qualified teachers with special training in their subject area. 


Art and Design Program

Music Theory

Art History


English Language and Composition

History and Social Sciences

Comparative Government and Politics

European History

Human Geography




United States Government and Politics

United States History

World History: Modern

Math and Computer Science

Computer Science A

Calculus AB

Computer Science Principles


Calculus BC


Physics C: Mechanics


Physics 1: Algebra-Based


Physics 2: Algebra-Based

Environmental Science

Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism

AP World Languages and Cultures

Chinese Language and Culture

French Language and Culture

German Language and Culture

Italian Language and Culture

Japanese Language and Culture


Spanish Language and Culture

Check out any of the above classes and talk to your high school advisor. Get information about which college credit AP classes you can start taking while in high school!

Do I Have To Take AP Classes?

It is possible to take AP exams even if you have not taken the corresponding high school AP classes. This is known as “self-studying” for the AP exam. 

While it is generally recommended to take the AP class to fully prepare for the AP exam, some students may choose to self-study for the exam if they feel that they have a strong foundation in the subject already or if the AP class is not offered at their school. 

If you are interested in self-studying for an AP exam, you will need to obtain a copy of the corresponding AP Course and Exam Description, which outlines the content and skills covered on the exam. 

You can then use this resource to guide your self-study efforts and ensure that you cover all of the necessary material. It is important to note that self-studying for an AP exam can be challenging and requires significant time and effort. 

You should only consider self-studying if you are highly motivated and able to discipline yourself to study independently. Consider taking the AP exam for a language you are fluent in!

The Alternatives To High School AP Classes

There are several alternatives to high school AP classes that students can consider if they are interested in challenging themselves academically and earning college credit while still in high school. 

Some options, such as dual enrollment, allow students to take college-level courses at a local college or university while still in high school. These courses may count towards both high school and college credit.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is internationally recognized and offers a challenging curriculum and a range of exams that can be used to earn college credit. This is another path many students take to get college credits.

Furthermore, the CLEP is a program that offers exams in a variety of subjects, including math, science, and English. Students who earn a qualifying score on a CLEP exam may be able to earn college credit.

It is important to note that the specifics of these alternatives, including which courses and exams are available, how credits are awarded, and how much they cost, can vary widely. 

Thus, research your options and talk to your guidance counselor or a college admissions representative to determine which option is best for you.

Final Thoughts

Overall, taking high school AP classes can be an effective way to use your time. Earning college credit, saving time, and challenging yourself in more complex courses are just a few of the benefits you will gain.

Suppose you have already completed these courses while in high school; you won’t need to pay for them later on once you are in college. Don’t leave it for later. Start now.

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