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5 secrets about Advanced Placement (AP) tests and classes

by John

Tips on Advanced Placement AP tests and classes for college admissions

AP tests are a rite of passage for most high school students. Some of you are international students (advice on that here), some are in IB programs, but the majority will be taking Advanced Placement classes and tests.

Here are some insights on APs:

1) Take as many AP classes as you can fit into your schedule. A transcript packed with APs speaks volumes about your determination and academic strength

2) Don’t backload AP tests. Start taking them as early as you can. They are not as hard as you think

3) Don’t go crazy with the tests. Taking an AP class is always recommended, but don’t feel that you need to take 10+ AP tests and get all 5’s in order to get into Harvard. Like my advice on GPA and SAT scores, all you need to do is pass a bar

4) As a rule of thumb, it’s better to take fewer AP tests and receive higher scores, than more AP tests with all 3’s and 4’s. Yale wants to know that what you do take, you do well

5) It helps to put AP tests that you intend to take on your Common Application. Even if you haven’t taken it yet, it looks good on the application and is a little secret that not many people take advantage of

Follow my advice on APs. Take as many AP classes as you can handle, start taking the AP tests early, and focus on quality over quantity when it comes to the tests themselves.

By doing well in AP tests, you show colleges that you can handle tough, college-level material. Academic excellence is the bread and butter of Ivy League schools, and a certain checkmark that you must earn to get into your dream school.

Hope that helps! As always, don’t hesitate to email with questions about this article or others. For more info, read my guide to Stanford admissions.

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