The Advanced Placement Program, or AP Program, is well-known by many high school students in America today. Many juniors and seniors spend their days with a head in a textbook, trying to tackle reading lists, absorb vocabulary words, and memorize historical dates in efforts to earn the coveted 5 on the AP exam.
The AP program prepares high school students for college-level academics. The programs are available in a number of subject areas, from World History to Latin. Students can take courses designed to help them prepare for the exam, held in the spring of the academic year, or they can study on their own.
The AP program is widely accepted in American high schools, and seems to encourage students to push themselves academically. However, AP courses also run the risk of simply teaching students to perform well on a test rather than learn critical thinking skills.
One of the advantages of taking the AP exam is that students who earn a 4 or a 5 on an AP exam in a certain subject area can receive college credit. For example, a student who earns a 4 in AP English may be exempt from Freshman English in her college. This allows high school students not only to prepare for college, but actually perform at the college level, which can give them a jump start when they matriculate and can alleviate college costs.
AP Programs are so widely accepted among colleges and universities that it is a no-brainer that high-performing high school students, or those students that want a challenge, should take the exams, But it can also be beneficial to consider International Bacchalaureate or other programs that can also provide college credit and academic challenge.