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Which AP® Classes are Best for Self Study?

Did you know? Any student can take an AP® test, even if they do not take an AP® course. What??

AP® courses are extra difficult, and often take 2-3 hours of study per day per class. Taking more than one or two difficult classes per year makes it much harder for the student to cover all the core classes needed for college admission. There are only so many hours in a day to study! To solve that problem, some parents will help their child self-study, using homeschool curriculum, and then take the AP® test when they are confident the child can pass.

Self-study is when a child takes charge of their learning without direct supervision. Over the four years of high school, I became less involved in teaching each year, especially in the sciences. I found that chemistry didn't require as much help, so I gave them the assignments and moved on. The labs were rarely dangerous, so many times I would just peek in. With physics and the more advanced math, I felt completely overwhelmed and I didn't understand any of it, so they worked completely independently! Learning to become independent is a process that must start somewhere and then build. You will know what your own child is capable of!
Once you are confident that your child has the basic knowledge to pass the test, you must pick which one to pursue. Deciding which test is the right one for your child is more challenging than it sounds. To be honest, I looked over some of those tests and became very overwhelmed - even in my student's most-loved and strongest areas. That is why we chose CLEP® for our family - but I do think that AP® is more widely esteemed and valued.

These tests are often considered the easiest to do on your own because they require a lot of memorization, but do not require specialized math or science. They are not built on a lot of previous knowledge or study.

AP® Environmental Science

AP® Human Geography

AP® Psychology


These tests are OK if you student really LOVES the subject, you use a very rigorous, honors, homeschool curriculum, study for 2-3 hours per day, and are willing to do a lot of test prep.

AP® Biology

AP® Comparative Government and Politics

AP® English Language and Composition

AP® English Literature and Composition

AP® Macroeconomics

AP® Microeconomics

AP® US Government and Politics

AP® US History

AP® World History


These are just hard to do without taking an AP Course. Be certain your child will score well on the test. Consider studying the material as a normal homeschool class, and when done taking a sample test. If they score well on the sample test, then begin AP® preparation in earnest.

AP® Calculus AB

AP® Calculus BC

AP® Chemistry

AP® Physics
The test prep Study Guides that I prefer for AP® Subject Tests are Princeton Review Books. Look at their AP Biology Prep book.

Learn more about High School Subject Tests with this free White Paper. "College Credit in High School" will give you critical insights into AP® and CLEP® subject tests to maximize your college admission and scholarship chances. It is filled with tips for busy homeschool parents trying to choose the right test and prepare their students for test success.
I hope this gives you an overview about which AP® classes your child can take and not have to take a test with. I would love to know what your experience with AP® classes and tests has been like! Leave a comment below.

AP®, and CLEP® are trademarks owned by the College Board, which is not affiliated with and does not endorse this blog post or The HomeScholar, LLC.

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Tuesday, 23 July 2024

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