Are AP Courses Right for Me?

What are AP Courses?

AP courses are courses that students can take while they are still in high school but they are designed to give the experience of an intro-level college course. When you enroll in an AP course you are also eligible to take the AP exam which is held every May. Some colleges/universities will even give you college credit if you score high enough on these exams.
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It is important to keep in mind that Keystone is unique from other schools. Just because your former public or private school offered "honors" courses at all grade levels, does NOT mean you are ready for an AP course. AP courses are run by College Board which means a course has to meet the strict standards laid out by College Board to qualify as an AP Course. Where as the level of rigor in Honors courses vary from school to school.

By the time you are a junior/senior, you have probably taken all of the prerequisite courses that are required for AP courses. Most of the AP courses that Keystone offers can be taken as substitutes for the standard junior-level and senior-level courses. By waiting until you are a junior/senior to enroll in Keystone AP courses you helping to ensure that you will be better prepared and more mature to handle the college content.

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College Bound

Build College Skills

Students who plan on going to college should consider enrolling in an AP course. Why? Remember, AP courses are designed to give you the experience of a college level course and will allow you to develop skills you will need to be successful in college. Find out more here:

Stand Out Against Other Applicants

When you apply to a college/university your application is reviewed by that school's Admissions Committee. Part of this process is reviewing your high school transcript (record of the courses you completed and the grades you earned). When the Admissions Counselors see that you have taken AP courses it helps your application stand out because they know that you not only are you able to handle the rigor of a college level course but you are also not afraid to challenge yourself!

Earn Credit and Skip Classes

Most colleges/universities will award students with college credit if your score is high enough on the AP exam. This will allow you to start college already having earned credits and will save you from having to take (and pay for) the class(es) in college. It will also free up time in your schedule so you can focus on the courses that interest you most!

You can find out a specific school's guidelines on accepting AP scores for credit in College Board's online database.

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Earn AT LEAST an 85% in Any Prerequisite

First, a "prerequisite" refers to a course that you need to take and successfully complete before you can take another course. For example, you cannot take Spanish 3 until you have first taken (and passed) Spanish 1 and Spanish 2.

You can find out what an AP course's prerequisites are in our online catalog.

You will only want to enroll in that AP course if you did well (at least an 85%) in its prerequisite(s). Remember, the AP course is going to be a harder version of similar content. If you really struggled with the prerequisite, then it will not be a wise decision to enroll in that specific AP course. College Admissions Counselors want to see AP courses but they also want to see strong grades. Don't set yourself up for failure! Instead, consider an AP course from one of your strong subject areas. If you have always excelled in English, you may want to consider enrolling in AP English Language or AP English Literature.

Still not sure if an AP course is right for you?

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Email our Guidance Department at with your specific questions/concerns about AP courses and/or the AP Exams and they will get back to you within 1 business day.
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You can also find out more about the AP courses and the AP exams by visiting the Guidance Services course (listed with the rest of your courses when you log into Blackboard or by visiting the College Board website.