Benefits of Taking AP Courses | Tips for High School Classes
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Author: Peter Dufresne

Three Benefits of Taking AP Courses in High School

To take Advanced Placement (AP) courses or not … that is the question. The AP workload is considerably higher than a standard high school class, and students may find the end-of-course assessment difficult. Is it worth the time, effort, and expense? This is a question that many high school students wrestle with when selecting these courses.  

While the course may prove challenging, the tangible benefits of taking AP classes are real. Many students find the most value in three separate domains: cost, time and personal benefit. Our online education institute discusses each one and how they could become an advantage in the future. 

What are AP Courses?

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are classes you can enroll in during high school as a way to obtain college-level credits. Completing AP courses in high school may allow you to use them towards entry-level college classes and give you the ability to advance early on. While it may require an up front financial and time investment, many students find that the benefits can outweigh the challenges faced while completing the course.

The Monetary Cost of AP Classes

The first aspect is money, as it is easy to determine your total available budget. Because each AP course presents an investment, you may have real financial decisions and potential impacts on your long-term bottom line.

AP Courses Require an Initial Investment 

In the short term, the cost to take each AP exam in the United States is $96 USD, and $126 USD per test internationally. This can add up quickly if you are taking two or three AP exams. Since the success of the program depends on your final grade, you could spend hundreds of dollars with no guarantee for receiving college credit. 

Further, defining success on AP exams varies from institution to institution. While most colleges only accept a four or five on AP exams in exchange for college credit, others might accept a three. Given the up front cost and lack of guarantee, you may wonder if the benefits of taking AP classes will offset the expense.

AP Courses May Offset Future Tuition Fees

There may be some potential financial long-term benefits to taking AP classes and assessments. Most advanced placement courses are weighted with respect to your GPA. For example, if a traditional college preparatory biology course is weighted normally an “A+” it may be worth four quality points (a 4.0 GPA). That same “A+” in an AP course, which would be weighted heavier than a traditional college preparatory course, may be weighted at a five, or a 5.0 GPA instead.

This means that even lower grades in AP courses will give you a higher GPA. This could make it easier to get grants and merit-based scholarships. According toArizona State University, taking AP coursework increases your chances of earning merit-based scholarships, micro-scholarships, and grants (, P4).

If you can earn a solid score on the exam, you have a higher chance of earning far more than the $96 USD (or $126 USD) that you invested in the coursework.

The Total Time AP Courses Take

The additional time you spend taking AP classes rather than an honors-level course can be significant. Because of the additional work volume, it may mean giving up something valuable in return. You may first ask yourself what is the opportunity cost of taking AP courses? Are you giving up time to play a sport you love? Is it time you cannot work at your part-time job? Perhaps, it is time  that you would normally use to engage in your favorite hobby.

The Average Time to Complete a Bachelor’s Degree

According to a recent U.S. Department of Education study, the average time to obtain a bachelor’s degree was 6⅓ years (, P. 1). If you successfully pass AP courses and start college with two or three of your college entry-level courses completed, you could be on track to finish a bachelor’s degree in three years. Similar to an initial monetary investment, this investment of your time may mean an opportunity to graduate earlier. 

AP Classes May Offer More Time in the Future

Statistically, students who took AP coursework in high school graduate earlier with a bachelor’s degree than their peers. This could equate to entering the workforce sooner and to begin earning money before others in your graduating class. Even one college course can pay off over time. states that the average cost of a college class in the United States is $926. Not only will the $96-126 USD you invested provide you with a return on investment (ROI) of between 800% to 900%, you will also graduate sooner. 

The Personal Benefits of Completing AP Courses

 Completing an  AP course can serve several tangible and intangible benefits on a personal level. Some of the intangible benefits are the challenge of pushing yourself to do your best in a demanding course. You may achieve a new sense of success from the ability to handle one of the most stringent academic curricula on the planet. 

Opportunities for an Improved College Experience

Other more tangible benefits exist as well. The College Board shared that students who score a three or better on the AP assessment usually perform better in college than non-AP peers. Your AP experience may also impress college admissions officers. In 2007, Crux Research found that nearly 85% of college admissions officers factored in AP experience when selecting students for college admissions. 

 AP Classes May Give You an Improved Quality of College Life

If you are successful in obtaining college credit for your AP course you can save time and money! You will have flexibility in your college schedule to take on that internship you have been dreaming of. Instead of completing courses you obtained AP credit towards, you may have extra time to study, do homework, participate in extracurricular activities, or just relax and enjoy a slower pace through the college experience. 
In the end, only you can decide if taking advanced placement classes and corresponding assessments are worth it. However, AP coursework can provide students with a clear benefit in terms of time, money, and the personal satisfaction that comes with challenging yourself. As you balance all of the factors that go into your decision, you may consider the long-term aspects and advantages of taking AP coursework and corresponding assessments. If you have any questions about our online AP courses for high school students, feel free to contact Knovva Academy today!


The advantages of taking AP classes and exams. ASU. (n.d.). Retrieved June 20, 2022, from

The College Board. (2021, November 16). Discover the benefits of AP – AP central: College board. AP Central. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from

Hanson, M., & Checked, F. (2022, March 31). Cost of a college class [2022]: Analysis per credit hour. Education Data Initiative. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from,cost%20per%20course%20is%20%242%2C355.

Jan. 21, 2020. (2022, May 27). How AP courses boost your GPA. eAchieve Academy, Wisconsin Online Charter School. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from,a%20B%20and%20so%20on.

Schaffer, S. (2022, April 27). The benefits of Advanced Placement (AP) classes. TeenLife. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from 

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