Ask a Nerd!

Question: Do I have to take an AP class in order to take the AP exam

Brief: The simple answer is no, but there are some things that you should think about and discuss with your Irvine private academic tutor before making that choice.


No, you do not have to take an AP class in order to take the AP exam. But should you? The AP exams are college level courses so, taking the AP exam without taking the class would be like showing up at college two years early on the day of the final exam and keeping your fingers crossed. Of course, there are some situations when this may be your only option but you still want a shot at doing well on these exams. For example, if your school doesn’t offer the AP course that you wish to take or if you attend a school that doesn’t offer them at all (READ: “Last Minute AP Exam Study Guide“).

If you find yourself in a position where the only way you can take the AP exam is without taking the AP course, I recommend the following plan of action:

1. Examine your motivations for taking the AP test without the course. If you absolutely LOVE the subject or if you must take this exam to apply to a certain university program, then by all means go ahead. But, if you just don’t feel like taking the course, think about the advantage that your classmates who did take the course will have on exam day (READ: “The Student’s Guide to Study Breaks“).

2. Order a test prep study book for the test you are taking as well as the full length text book for the course and get started right away.

3. Have an Orange County in-home tutor who specializes in that particular AP course help you make a plan of action for your studies as well as help explain new and challenging topics.

4. Stick to your plan of action schedule. If most students, who are taking the course, are studying six hours a week at home and are in class for five hours a week, then you should be studying a total of 11 hours per week as well.

5. Take several practice tests and self grade them. Determine patterns of error and get help from a specialist for the areas that you need to improve.

Irvine-AP-tutoringOn the other hand, if you want to take the European history AP exam and your school offers AP Euro, then I highly recommend that you take the full course -as well as consider one of our Irvine history tutors . There is so much to be gained from taking the course and you will have a much better chance of getting a score of 3, 4 or 5 on test day. Of course, there are exceptions. If you are bilingual English/Spanish and you want to take the AP Spanish exam, then you may do just fine taking the exam without taking the course. Make sure that you do your research though. There is a cultural component to this exam so you will still have to study, learn and fully comprehend the cultural aspect of this exam (CLICK: “Additional Information on AP Exams“).

Bottom line: If the course is offered, it’s best to take it 99% of the time. If it’s not offered, giving yourself a shot at AP success requires hard work, planning, and probably quite a bit of help from a specialist.

Have a question for one of our nerds?

Tweet it to us @TutorNerds. Give yourself the TutorNerds advantage by checking back often for the latest in our “Ask a Nerd” series.

tutor logo Ask A Nerd! SAT Subject Tests All blog entries, with the exception of guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at [email protected] for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

The beginning of a new school year is crucial for establishing a strong academic performance. In other words, if your child wants to reach his or her potential, they can’t fall behind from the start. Hiring an Orange County private tutor is much more than extra academic help, it’s a confidence boost. Have your child be the first to raise their hand in the classroom by hiring a college educated tutor from TutorNerds. Contact us today!

Call Us at (949) 510-9361 To Get Started Immediately

…or fill out the form and we will get back to you.

    100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    You’ll love your tutor, or you don’t pay.

    Great Job!
    We applied to St. Margaret’s, Sage Hills, Santa Margret’s, and JSerra/ Engineer magnet program. We were pleased to get acceptance from all of them.