Ask a Nerd!

Q: Is it better to get an A in a regular class or a B in an AP class?

Brief: The short answer to that question is that it is better to get an A in an AP class.


I imagine that is not the answer most of you out there were looking for but it’s true. That being said, any time you get an A on your grade report and any time you have an AP class listed on your grade report, it looks good to colleges – trust us, our Orange County admissions consultants know.

Choose the course that gives you the best shot at getting an A

If you know for absolute certain that you will not get an A in AP Statistics but you have a pretty good shot at getting an A in AP Language then by all means choose the course that plays to your strengths. Remember that AP courses are college level courses that happen to be offered in high school, and thus they are not a walk in the park for any student (READ: “Mastering AP English Language“).

AP courses involve both letters and numbers

Don’t forget that you will also need to pay close attention to the number you score on the May exam. Scoring a 5, of course, will be the most impressive but a score of 4 or 3 also counts toward college level credit (READ: “Last minute AP study guide“). This leads us to the next question: Is it better to get an A or a 5? I think you already know the answer to this one: It’s better to get an A and a 5. This is just the reality of AP courses. The course itself is challenging and time consuming and the test takes a lot of brain power and on-the-spot thinking.

Don’t forget that you are an individual

If, at this time, you feel that the best you could get in an AP class is a C and the best you could get on the exam is a 2, then that will not be time well spent. On the other hand, don’t sell yourself short. If you are getting As and Bs in your regular classes then you should definitely consider taking a AP course. You can always get some help from a private tutor who can guide you through the stress of the organization, the tight deadlines and the critical thinking involved in most AP courses. If you are great at taking exams but don’t think that you can make it through the year-long course, remember that you are not required to take the course in order to take the exam.

Think about where you want to attend university

This is really important. If you want to go to a top tier school then you will need multiple AP courses, 4s or 5s on the exams, as well as many other impressive things to add to your student resume. If the universities that you are interested in look at AP courses as an added bonus, then you might be putting too much pressure on yourself. It’s important to start looking at colleges in your sophomore year to get an idea of what will be expected of you in order to meet the admissions requirements (READ: “Five Tips For Your College Entrance Essay“).

That is a very long answer to your very short question. When it comes to higher education, most questions have long answers.

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