Advanced Placement

How to Pick AP Courses

Taking AP® courses helps you on your path to college by giving you a chance to:

  • Earn college credit. More colleges than ever before accept AP Exam scores of 3 or higher for credit, saving you time and money.
  • Stand out on applications. Admissions officers will see you’ve challenged yourself with AP and stuck with your commitment to take an exam.
  • Get a GPA boost. Most high schools offer a boost to students that take AP. Check with your school counselor for more information.

Now that you know some of the benefits of taking AP, take a look at how you can enroll in an AP course.

1. See What’s Available at Your School

The AP Program consists of 38 AP courses, but each high school chooses which courses to offer. Ask your school counselor which courses your school offers.

Talk to fellow classmates, including those in grades above you, about what courses they took and what they valued about the courses.

If you’ve taken a PSAT-related test or an  SAT in the past, access your online score reports to view what courses you have the potential to succeed in that are offered at your school.

2. Explore More About Each Course

Once you know which courses your school offers, explore each course to learn what topics are covered.

Each AP course has a dedicated page on our site that tells you course details and what to expect on the AP Exam.

 For example, if you’re interested in current events, politics, pop culture, arts, or any other topic, check out AP Seminar or Computer Science Principles. You’ll see the requirements for a performance task that makes up 30% of the AP Exam.

The more you know about each course, the easier it is to decide which courses to take.

3. Decide What You Want to Pursue

Now that you know what’s offered and are familiar with each course, think about college and career plans and how earning college credit in certain courses may benefit you.

By earning credit, you may be eligible to skip college introductory courses. This helps you jump more quickly into advanced topics and save money on college tuition for course topics you’ve already mastered in high school.

Review college credit policies at schools you’re interested in attending to see their requirements for each course’s exam.

Use this tool to choose AP courses that help you explore career pathways or support career goals.

4. Talk to Your Counselor About Enrolling Next School Year

Know what courses you want to take? Talk to your school counselor about how to enroll. Most high schools start their enrollment process in the winter or spring for the upcoming school year. This conversation starter will help you discuss AP courses with your counselor.


For more about AP, visit our website.