Benefits of an AP curriculum

Enrolling in an AP class and taking the end of the year exam has lasting benefits:FirstYearandFourthYearGPA-1.png

  • Students who took one or more AP Exams generally earned higher GPAs (first year, fourth year) than peers of comparable ability [Hargrove, Godin, & Dodd (2008)]
  • AP students performed as well as or better than comparable non-AP students in terms of subsequent college course grades [Patterson & Ewing (2013)].

In fact, this data is most likely on the conservative side as members of the non-AP groups in the study could have been exposed to other advanced course work in high school, such as honors or the International Baccalaureate course work (these students were not screened out). The study's limitation is further exposed on certain interrelated exams. For example, students who took Calculus AB, or even students in the Calculus BC class who did not test could have been flagged as non-AP students for the Calculus BC group.



The experience has a positive student impact:

There is a positive relationship between AP participation and majoring in a related field in college (as determined by student selection of major in the beginning of their 3rd year in college) [Mattern, Shaw, & Ewing (2011)].Major-1.png


  • This was true across all content areas examined; however, the effect was stronger for STEM-related fields.
  • Those with higher scores on the AP exam had an increased likelihood of majoring in that content area.
  • The more number of AP exams taken in a discipline, the greater the likelihood of majoring in that particular discipline.
  • In fact, results showed that students who took no AP Exams were more likely to be undeclared by the beginning of their third year of college (though the effect was small).






There are many financial benefits:

Most colleges and universities nationwide offer college credit, advanced placement, or both, for qualifying AP Exam scores. You can search a college's credit policy here.4yrGradRates.png

  • AP Poly students get to take a college-level class without having to pay for tuition or textbooks. Moreover, majority of the cost for the end of the year exam is paid for by the district so that students will pay only $5 per exam for an unlimited number of exams. 

AP students are just as likely or more likely than non-AP students to graduate in four years or less (regardless of their performance on the AP exam) [Mattern, Marini, & Shaw (2013)].

  • Fewer than 4 out of 10 college students graduate within four years [Snyder & Dillow (2012)]. The typical college cost per year for a four-year public institution is $9,139 for in-state students. That cost could be as much as $23,410 if you include room and board, books and supplies, transportation, etc [Average Estimate Undergraduate Budgets 2014-15]. The cost of not graduating on time can be a significant financial hurdle. 



It will allow you to stand out in College Admissions:

Nationally normed results mean that admissions officers are partial to seeing "AP" on a transcript.

  • To receive authorization from the College Board to label a course "AP," it needs to be reviewed and approved through the annual AP Course Audit process.

Taking AP is a sign that you’re up for the most rigorous classes Poly has to offer.



It will enable you to become a better student:

You are not stuck with the intellect you are born with. Your brain is like a muscle that gets stronger with use and learning prompts neurons in the brain to grow new connections [Dweck (2015)].

  • The rigor of a college-level class will mean that you will need to hone in effective study skills to be successful.
  • You will develop better time-management and learning habits.
  • You will be exposed to a higher level peer group challenging you to go further than you ever have academically.


It is experiencing college while having the support of your AP teachers, school, and district:

Unlike actual college classes, enrolling in an AP class will not mean that you will either sink or swim.

  • Most AP courses are one-semester college-courses that you have the entire year to master. So, yes it's a college-level class but taking it in high school allows you to learn the material at a slightly slower rate.
  • Your AP teacher is available to meet with you outside of class time to cover material that you are struggling with.
  • The district has paid for your subscription to Shmoop.
  • The AP resource room will have tutoring available after-school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays (check the calendar under the "Tutoring" tab to see which teacher will be available on any given day). You can use this space to get help, study quietly, or to hold study group sessions.



The studies referenced above can be found at

Dweck, C. (2015). The Secret to Raising Smart Kids - Scientific American. Retrieved October 6, 2015.

Hargrove, L., Godin, D., & Dodd, B. (2008). College Outcomes Comparisons by AP and Non-AP High School Experiences – Research Publications – The College Board. Retrieved October 5, 2015.

Mattern, K., Marini, J., & Shaw, E. (2013). Are AP Students More Likely to Graduate from College on Time? – Research Publications – The College Board. Retrieved October 5, 2015.

Mattern, K., Shaw, E., & Ewing, M. (2011). Advanced Placement Exam Participation: Is AP Exam Participation and Performance Related to Choice of College Major? – Research Publications – The College Board. Retrieved October 5, 2015.

Patterson, B., & Ewing, M. (2013). Validating the Use of AP Exam Scores for College Course Placement – Research Publications – The College Board. Retrieved October 5, 2015.

Snyder, T. D., & Dillow, S. A. (2012). Digest of education statistics 2011(NCES 2012-001). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.