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AP Exam or AP Class

You do NOT need to have an official and approved AP course in order to give colleges the AP exams they want!

AP Exam or AP Class


Not all public schools offer every different AP classes.  Although colleges may like kids to take those classes, they know they aren't available in all schools. Colleges are looking for the exam.

The College Board likes to think they have sole rights to putting a capital A and capital P together on a transcript. If you don't have the approved course, don't say "AP English" as your class title. However, you can say "Honors English" as your class title, and the AP exam results will demonstrate the validation the college wants.  Generally speaking, college websites that mention AP will ask for AP "exams" not "AP classes."  Anyone can take an AP exam, even if they haven't had an AP class.

Here is how you go about doing that.

  1. Teach as you normally would, using challenging material.

  2. Register for the AP test in the fall, planning ahead so they can take the test in May.

  3. About half way though the year, start studying for the AP test.

  4. Get and use an AP study guide for the subject.

  5. Give a sample test at the beginning, so you can become familiar with the format.

  6. Read the sample guide to help you fill in gaps, and further understand the format.

  7. Take a few sample tests at home

  8. Make sure the student can get a 4 or 5 on the test at home.

  9. If you are sure the student will pass the AP test, then have them take it in May

  10. If the child doesn't do well on the AP exam, consider taking the easier SAT Subject test instead.


Here is more information on AP exams:

  1. Quick Essay Skills Earn Thanks

  2. AP Exams for Homeschooled Students

  3. Homeschool High School Testing: AP Exams

  4. CLEP, AP, and Community College

  5. Successful College Applications


Remember, not all colleges ask for AP exams.  When they do, you don't have to take an AP class.  You can learn at home as normal, and then have your child take the test.  Just make sure they can pass the test before they take it for real.

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Comments 1

Guest - Evelyn on Monday, 17 February 2014 13:52

Some of the AP tests, like World History, require a specific type of essay (in fact 3 of them) which can take a lot of time for students to learn and practice. Some students may not be able to master these types of essays on their own. The essays have specific grading rubrics which must be understood in order to be awarded the maximum points. I'd recommend that parents also read the study guides and online information in order to help their child be prepared. You can also purchase a used AP textbook for coursework since not all textbooks approach the subject in the manner of an AP course. Trying to cover all the material on the history test is challenging, especially if your child enjoys lingering over one time period, doing projects, or taking history field trips. My daughter hasn't taken the test yet. Also, as a homeschooler, you have to get permission to take the test from a school testing site in your area. I'd love to hear other people's experiences.

Some of the AP tests, like World History, require a specific type of essay (in fact 3 of them) which can take a lot of time for students to learn and practice. Some students may not be able to master these types of essays on their own. The essays have specific grading rubrics which must be understood in order to be awarded the maximum points. I'd recommend that parents also read the study guides and online information in order to help their child be prepared. You can also purchase a used AP textbook for coursework since not all textbooks approach the subject in the manner of an AP course. Trying to cover all the material on the history test is challenging, especially if your child enjoys lingering over one time period, doing projects, or taking history field trips. My daughter hasn't taken the test yet. Also, as a homeschooler, you have to get permission to take the test from a school testing site in your area. I'd love to hear other people's experiences.
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Tuesday, 17 September 2019

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