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Hot Lava Mama

AP classes questions

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My oldest is in 6th grade. A friend of mine whose children are a few years older, was talking about how important it is to have "AP" classes in high school if the child is college bound.

 

Are there home school courses that are AP? If so, are they labeled as such? What are some publishers that have good AP classes? What are some of your favorites? Do they have a grading system that is acceptable to colleges (ie. some sort of objective way to grade that the college view favorably?)

 

Any other information would be greatly appreciated!

Hot Lava Mama

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My oldest is in 6th grade. A friend of mine whose children are a few years older, was talking about how important it is to have "AP" classes in high school if the child is college bound.

 

Are there home school courses that are AP? If so, are they labeled as such? What are some publishers that have good AP classes? What are some of your favorites? Do they have a grading system that is acceptable to colleges (ie. some sort of objective way to grade that the college view favorably?)

 

Any other information would be greatly appreciated!

Hot Lava Mama

 

Colleges like to see AP classes or IB classes or community college classes on a transcript because they indicate a certain level of work a student can accmplish in the classroom. As a homeschool student, this can be especially important to verify the level of academic intensity your student was working on.

You can enroll in online AP classes at certain sites like PA Homeschoolers, but there is not a publisher that sells AP classes; there are publishers that sell books that are used in AP classes. For a course to be called AP on the transcript, the syllabus has to be approved by collegeboard.

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Good places to start learning about AP exams are the College Board website, your local library, and the WTM boards. Check out which exams are available, then pick a few and read their course descriptions. Skim the AP prep books your library may have. If you want more nitty-gritty details, search the WTM boards for specific exams, such as "AP Biology," etc. Keep in mind that major changes are planned for the AP program in the next few years, so by the time your child is ready for them, they be very different.

 

Otherwise, I wouldn't worry too much about it right now. Many homeschooled students have successfully prepped for AP exams, by taking online and in-person classes and studying at home. And tell your friend that you are using a rigorous curriculum with your dc right now, so that they will be ready for APs or other challenging classes when the time comes.

 

GardenMom

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I would like to know when most students take AP classes. I will have an 8th grader next year, so I have been researching/planning high school lately.

 

Dd thinks she'll major in a science.... she's an animal lover-especially horses... so I've been focusing on 9th grade biology. Our prep for high school biology is our 7th grade BJU Life Science this year. I wouldn't expect to go into a 9th grade AP biology text based on 7th grade science alone, yet, I would like confirmation for this.

 

Do some kids do ANY AP classes as early as 9th grade, or is it expected that AP MUST be preceded by a college prep/honors class first?

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I would like to know when most students take AP classes.

 

...Do some kids do ANY AP classes as early as 9th grade

 

From my experience with my two oldest, I believe that most students who take AP classes/exams take them in 11th and 12th grades. This is "confirmed" by their informal polls of their friends at college.

 

I personally know a student who took and passed an AP Latin exam with a score of 4 in her 8th grade year. She had a stellar Latin teacher and is a gifted language student. A mom of a different student posted on the WTM boards that her dd studied for AP Human Geography in 8th grade and scored a 5. These students are the exceptions.

 

Dd thinks she'll major in a science.... she's an animal lover-especially horses... so I've been focusing on 9th grade biology. Our prep for high school biology is our 7th grade BJU Life Science this year. I wouldn't expect to go into a 9th grade AP biology text based on 7th grade science alone, yet, I would like confirmation for this.

I have not used Bob Jones science, but have heard that the high school levels are solid college prep material. Whether your dd studies for the AP Bio exam in 9th grade is up to you, but it would be quite challenging for her no matter how bright she is. AP Bio requires an incredible amount of work to master its huge content; it is one of the most difficult exams.

 

is it expected that AP MUST be preceded by a college prep/honors class first?

The answer to this is maybe. APs vary in difficulty and their prerequisites. Some, such as the sciences, math, English, or foreign languages build on years of prep work. Most students would greatly benefit from a prerequisite for these. Others are more stand-alone and/or easier, such as economics and human geography. Still others are in-between, such as government.

 

Here is what our oldest two did. They self-studied for these exams at home.

 

Ds, in 12th grade:

AP Calculus AB - had Algebra I in 8th, Geometry in 9th, Alg. II in 10th, Precalc in 11th

AP Chemistry - had Apologia Chem I in 9th and Apologia Chem II in 11th

AP MicroEconomics - no prep except had read the Penny Candy books

 

Dd,

in 11th grade:

AP Chemistry - had Apologia Chem I in 10th

AP English Language & Composition - prep was many years of writing with WTM suggestions and other programs, many years of reading classics as recommended by the WTM

AP MicroEconomics - no prep

 

in 12th grade:

AP Calculus BC - same prep as ds but got through the Calculus material faster so was able to take the BC exam

AP English Literature & Composition - prep was same for the Eng. Lang. exam in 11th, plus having taken Eng. Lang. made the Lit. exam easier to prep for

AP Physics C, both Mechanics and E&M - no previous physics course, so this was a real challenge, but it turned out well, taking Calculus at the same time was a help

 

You will find many different scenarios. Some students have taken many more APs than mine, some fewer. Some didn't take prereqs even though most students do - I know a student who scored well on the Chemistry AP even though she had no previous chemistry. I suggest that you search for and ask questions about particular APs when the time comes.

 

Also, work backward. If you have a student who is good at math, look ahead to see if you can fit Calculus or Statistics in his or her schedule. Many students can fit in at least one of these in 11th or 12th grade if they start Algebra I in 8th grade. It is common in public high schools offer AP English Language in 11th grade and English Literature in 12th grade. If you plan to do the usual Biology, Chemistry, and Physics subjects in high school, you could have your student take a 2nd year of at least one of these as an AP class. If your student is taking a foreign language, he or she will need to complete at least year IV of it to take an AP. Other exams can be scheduled as you and your student have time and desire, and as it fits with their college plans.

 

And finally, there are other options. Many homeschooled students and their parents prefer for them to take community college classes instead of APs. We chose not to because our CC is so far away, and it was more expensive than having my dc self-study at home.

 

HTH,

GardenMom

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For us dual credit is the easiest way to do things. Our cc allows all students who have finished 10th grade to take up to two courses each semester at no charge (still have to buy books and supplies though). After the student has at least 12 credit hours at the cc with a minimum 3.5 GPA and minimum test scores on the SAT/ACT/COMPASS (pretty high minimums), then she can request permission to take more than just two courses/semester (although you have to pay for the additional courses).

 

We have a cc campus just a 7 minute drive away (about 20 minutes by bike with sidewalks all the way).

 

My oldest will graduate in May with 50 college credit hours, no APs, and no SAT-IIs. She's already accepted at the college of her choice.

 

My middle dd did an SAT-II in American history at the end of 9th grade and will be taking the AP Physics B test this May (10th grade). She will be starting dual credit courses this summer.

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You can take them any time. My oldest took his first in 10th; my second-born in 9th. There are no prerequisites; however, you can do an AP course after a regular course on the same topic and both can count on the transcript. (eg. Biology and AP Biology)

 

The main thing is that you have to have your syllabus preapproved by the College Board to list it as an AP course on your transcript. However, you can call it an honors course and your student can take the AP test without having taken an AP course. The advantage to having a course actually called AP is for colleges which take rigor of the high school courseload into account and who use weighted GPA's.

 

My ds's took 2 AP tests without having taken an official AP course. I listed them as honors on the transcript.

 

Some colleges want your AP scores as part of the admisssions process; others wait and just look at the scores to determine whether or not you'll get credit.

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On the National chart that you can access on this page, it looks like 36 students took AP exams at grades younger than 9th grade. (If I read it correctly. . .I was in a hurry.) These charts are very interesting for showing which are the most popular exams at various grade levels. Mostlyamom

 

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/exgrd_sum/2009.html

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On the National chart that you can access on this page, it looks like 36 students took AP exams at grades younger than 9th grade. (If I read it correctly. . .I was in a hurry.) These charts are very interesting for showing which are the most popular exams at various grade levels. Mostlyamom

 

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/exgrd_sum/2009.html

 

Wow - great info in that link - thank you!!! :)

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My daughter took several AP classes during high school.

 

10th grade ~ AP US History, SAT subject test in US History

 

11th grade ~ AP Comparative Politics and Gov't, AP Latin, SAT subject tests in Latin and Math Level II

 

12th grade ~ AP Statistics

 

All of her AP classes were out of the home classes with the exception of AP Statistics which was taken through Pennsylvania Homeschoolers.

 

One thing to consider is that if your child is taking AP classes as a way to strengthen his/her college application it is beneficial to have had some AP tests by the end of junior year since those results can be used for college application purposes. This is valuable given that many colleges (by no means all) have applications that are due in the fall of senior year. (Also look into SAT subject tests as some colleges require a number of those as part of a student's application.)

 

One other note: While many AP exams can be taken after one intense year of study, foreign language AP exams are typically taken after three, four, or more years of language study.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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