AP Classes: How and Why to Take Them

Tanmay Patel, Staff Writer

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AP classes are generally known for two things: as a way to get college credit in high school and as being some of the most challenging classes you can take before college. Other than challenging yourself and earning some college credits, APs have other benefits. Colleges look favorably upon applicants who’ve taken APs and these classes prepare you for college-level academics. But how do you sign up to take one of these classes? At SWMHS, there’s an application process for most of the APs offered. The only APs which do not require an application are AP Art History, AP US History 1, AP US History 2, and AP Spanish. APEX (online AP courses) is offered as well for incoming seniors, as AP Psychology, AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics, and AP US Government and Politics. However, AP Psychology requires taking Psychology previously, and AP Microeconomics and Macroeconomics require Economics.

AP classes for Mathematics, Science, and English all have an application component, as well as a grade average and teacher recommendation prerequisite.

AP Mathematics

AP Calculus AB: A- in Precalculus CP or B in Precalculus Honors AND B- or higher on Precalculus Quarterly Assessments (Usually taken in senior year)

AP Calculus BC: B+ in Precalculus Honors AND B or higher on Precalculus Quarterly Assessments (Usually taken in senior year)

AP Statistics: A+ in Algebra 2 CP or B+ in Algebra 2 Honors or A in Precalculus CP or C+ in Precalculus Honors AND B+ or higher on Algebra 2 Quarterly Assessments (Usually taken in senior or junior year)

 

AP Science

AP Biology: Semester 1 average of A in current science class + English class AND A- in Biology Honors or A in Biology CP (Usually taken in senior or junior year)

AP Chemistry: Semester 1 average of A in current math class + English class AND A- in Chemistry Honors or A in Chemistry CP AND B+ in Algebra 2 CP or Algebra 2 Honors (Usually taken in senior or junior year)

AP Physics: B+ in Physics Honors or A in Physics AND B+ in Precalculus or Precalculus Honors AND concurrent enrollment in Calculus or AP Calculus (Usually taken in senior year)

AP Environmental Science: Semester 1 average of A- in current science class + English class AND B+ in Biology Honors or A in Biology CP AND B in Chemistry Honors or A in Chemistry CP AND B+ in Algebra 2 CP or Algebra 2 Honors (Usually taken in senior or junior year)

 

AP English

Both AP English classes (AP 1 for juniors and AP 2 for seniors) have a unique application process, and final placement into the class is determined by a ranking system. As sophomores or juniors, students apply to AP 1 and AP 2, respectively. There are six scoring categories, and your ability in each category is scored.  The final raw score determines your ranking and the English Supervisor will determine a cutoff for both classes.

The six categories are current English class level, marking period 1 grade, quarterly 1 grade, marking period 2 grade, quarterly 2 grade, and most recent PARCC score.

English Class

AP – 7 points

Honors – 5 points

CP – 3 points

MP1

A range – 5 points

B+ – 3 points

B – 2 points

B- – 1 point

Q1

A range – 5 points

B+ – 3 points

B – 2 points

B- – 1 point

MP2

A range – 5 points

B+ – 3 points

B – 2 points

B- – 1 point

Q2

A range – 5 points

B+ – 3 points

B – 2 points

B- – 1 point

PARCC Score

Exceeded – 5 points

Met – 3 points

 

Anyone can get into an AP class, but are you up to the challenge to succeed?

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