What are the benefits of taking AP exams in high school?

As part our College Q & A guide, we decided to ask your questions to the experts. Here are their answers.

Lin Johnson III

Definitely, major benefits exist in taking AP courses and exams in high school. First, AP courses and exams signal your pursuit for academic rigor and your commitment to excel in college. With scores of 4 or higher, it shows your ability to handle college-level courses, which is an absolute positive on your college application. Second, passing AP exams with scores of 4 or higher can result in substantial saving in college expenses because several colleges allow students to exempt out of courses given their proven ability to master the subject. Third, taking AP exams, even if you do not score high, will provide valuable preparation for college level material early, allowing more familiarity with subjects and more confident in your ability. Consequently, the effort of performing well on the AP exams is a total win! You can save thousands of dollars, increase your admission chances, and get an early start on college level material.

Karen Ekman-Baur,Director of College Counseling,Leysin American School

Because AP courses are more challenging, they offer greater opportunities for students to prepare for the demands of university studies. This is also true, and perhaps more so, of the IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma program, which provides a broad spectrum of in-depth studies – developing to a high level the study, research, and presentation skills of students involved. Colleges and universities highly regard and reward successful performance in both AP and IB programs. Greater scholarship opportunities may become available, and students who achieve specific scores, as determined by the institution, may exempt certain college/university courses or gain advanced standing based on their AP or IB performance. Since colleges/universities are looking for students who have worked successfully in challenging courses, taking AP and IB courses (working for the full IB Diploma, if possible) are steps in the right direction.