Earning College Credit With Advanced Placement®
What is AP?
AP is the College Board’s Advanced Placement® program, where a student can show proficiency in a course by taking an exam to earn college credit for specific entry-level college courses. Almost all colleges award credit for some or all of the 38 available AP courses. The College Board administers the program through schools that arrange for testing centers where students can take AP exams. Homeschoolers have a slightly different sign-up process, but they take the exam at these locations arranged by the school. Exams are 90-120 minutes long.
Benefits of AP
AP credit courses demonstrate more rigor and can improve your transcript for college entrance. Qualifying for AP credit saves you the time and money of taking that course in college...add it up, and it can be a LOT of money. Each college determines the minimum AP exam score required to earn credit. It's possible to earn enough credit to bypass the first year of college or more.
Which Colleges Award Credit for AP?
While nearly all colleges award credit for AP, there are exceptions. The College Board® website has a database you can search for participating colleges. We also recommend confirming that information with your specific college choices.
At the time of this writing, the College Board will charge $93 to take an AP exam. This cost is in addition to the Thinkwell courses. The exams are only hosted in a two-week period each year, in May.
Thinkwell Courses for AP
Thinkwell offers these “Compatible with AP” courses, which are excellent preparation for the AP exams:
Government & Politics, US (American Government)
What's the difference between High School Courses, AP Courses, and College Courses?
High school courses are usually similar in scope and sequence to their introductory college course counterparts. In college, the syllabus may be deeper and more detailed, and they may move through content more quickly. AP courses are specifically based on the college versions of those courses. Thinkwell courses are frequently adopted by professors at many colleges and universities. You will be well-prepared to be successful on the AP exams after taking a Thinkwell course.
AP Versus CLEP Exams
CLEP is the College Board's College Level Examination Program®, for which some colleges also award credit. Advanced Placement® is generally considered somewhat more rigorous than CLEP; however, they both potentially result in college credit for qualifying exam scores. The passing percentage is slightly higher for CLEP than AP. CLEP exams are multiple-choice (except for College Composition), but AP exams will have additional types of free-response questions. The College Board offers AP exams once a year, while CLEP exams are available year-round. The costs are about the same.
The preparation for AP exams is generally to take an AP course, therefore, it is possible to have an AP course on your transcript even if the AP exam wasn’t taken. There are no designated “CLEP courses.”