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AP Classes - How to Earn College Credit in High School

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If you take Advanced Placement courses in high school, you can potentially earn college credits much sooner. Some AP classes are suitable for ninth graders to take, although that option isn’t typically recommended. Your guidance counselor can guide you toward the best choices to help you meet your overall educational goals.

Some subjects, especially history courses, are suitable for younger high school students. Most AP classes are meant for juniors or seniors.

Topics for AP classes include English, mathematics, computer science, world languages, social sciences, and the arts.

What Are the AP Prerequisites to Meet?

Most high schools have specific standards that students must meet before they can enroll in Advanced Placement courses. These prerequisites prevent kids from taking the classes before they are ready for them, reducing the risk of burning out or failing.

The typical school has these three requirements to meet.

  • A minimum GPA.
  • A specific grade level to surpass or complete.
  • Prior experiences at an honors-level class covering the same materials.

If your high school doesn’t have these rules, it might be possible to enroll right away. Your guidance counselor can help you enroll in the courses that you find interesting.

How Parents Can Help with AP Classes

It is an exciting moment to find out that your student is taking AP classes. All of your hard work over the past decade-plus feels like it is paying off.

There can be times when it feels like the enrollment is the end of the journey, but it is really just one more step forward. Your teen needs some help from you, whether they choose to express it or not, to have a successful AP experience.

Here are some ideas that you can promote at home to encourage positive outcomes.

1. Provide a structured, quiet studying time.

It helps to create a space at home where your teen won’t get distracted or disturbed from their work. This routine creates a good study habit for when they eventually head to college. Where you build this area depends on your house and your child’s personality habits. It shouldn’t be in a room with a television, radio, or social media access unless you have no other choice.

2. Review AP Central

Take some time to regularly review AP Central for the resources available in each course your teen takes. You’ll find graded free-response questions, practice exams, and information about what to expect from this process.

3. Implement required course time nightly.

Most students need about 10 hours per week to study for their AP courses at home. There might be lecture reviews, writing assignments, textbooks to read, labs, or test preparation work to complete. If you don’t have time on school days to do this work, add more time to the weekends to ensure it gets finished.

Most teens do well with about 1.5 hours of studying time per day. If you need to skip one, try to review the lecture notes or stay caught up with the reading.

4. Invite other families over for study groups.

It helps to have a study group for AP classes. Since each student brings specific strengths to this process, the diversity found in these gatherings can help everyone grow. It can help to invite all of the families over to your home to let the kids study while you chat or do something fun with the other parents. You might consider rotating where the study group meets each time so that everyone gets the chance to host.

Applying for college is a fun and anxiety-triggering experience that speaks of an upcoming life transition. When you’re prepared for this time, the process will be much smoother.

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