AP Tutors

How Do Advanced Placement Classes Work?

When parents help their kids choose what courses to take in high school, it is important for them to know about Advanced Placement classes. These rigorous programs may not be suitable for every student, but they can greatly increase the likelihood of acceptance at universities with high admission requirements.

Advanced Placement courses have existed for over six decades, but some schools are only beginning to offer them in considerable numbers. This program allows students to take university-level classes while they attend high school. Compared to standard courses, they involve much more difficult assignments.

Students who enroll in AP classes in California can expect to put in about one-third more effort than they otherwise would. In addition to completing extensive homework, the program requires more in-depth thought and research. For instance, science students are more likely to perform laboratory experiments and thoroughly analyze the results.

Grades vs. GPA

A grade point average of 4.0 is no longer the maximum. To reflect the greater difficulty of these courses, numerous California high schools have begun to treat Advanced Placement “A” grades as 5.0 credits. This means a learner with three Advanced Placement “B” grades might gain the same GPA as someone with three “As” in standard classes.

The Right Balance

Students can qualify for admission to more colleges when they enroll in and pass numerous AP courses in High School. However, this will not happen if they take so many difficult classes that inadequate sleep or excessive stress results in poor grades. California’s top colleges generally expect applicants to have attended at least five AP classes.

On the other hand, many four-year universities and most two-year schools still require one or no Advanced Placement courses. Some learners with no AP classes on their transcripts opt to attend technical colleges before applying to four-year universities. Keep in mind that essays, interviews and after-school activities play major roles in admission decisions as well.

Available Choices

High schools can provide as many as 39 AP class options. The number of choices varies considerably in different parts of California. Fortunately, university admission officers take this into account. Students will get more credit for taking one or two Advanced Placement courses if they attend schools with few AP class offerings.

Instructors and guidance counselors may discourage students from taking these courses if they do not have high grades. They might have legitimate concerns about potential difficulties. However, Los Angeles and several other districts maintain policies allowing anyone to enroll in this program.

Standard vs. AP

Since universities recognize the greater difficulty of these classes, students are more likely to gain admission if they take AP courses and achieve somewhat lower grades. Another major advantage of AP education is the ability to earn college credits by passing a test. However, high grades in standard courses are preferable to poor AP scores.

AP Tutors

The increased difficulty of these courses may put extra pressure on your child. At REACH Professional In-Home Tutoring, we see lots of AP kids who are struggling to juggle all of their advanced classes, along with their extra-curricular activities and some semblance of a social life.  An AP Tutor can help your student meet the challenges that AP courses will present. Our advanced placement tutors are available in Los Angeles, Orange County, Contra Costa County and Alameda County. Call us today to see how we can help your AP student 1-877-947-3224.


When advising teens about what courses to take, parents must remember Advanced Placement classes truly involve university-level work. It is best to prioritize subjects students are interested in learning about and avoid excessive workloads that can lead to fatigue-related failures.