AP Self-Study: Does it Work?

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: July 2004 Archive: AP Self-Study: Does it Work?
By Chrisbo (Chrisbo) on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 09:35 pm: Edit

I'm ready for a demanding course load next year (senior year). I'm taking about 28 credits of community college courses (I'm in the PSEO program). I'm also interested in taking some of the AP courses, without an AP class to go along with it.

Is this a bad idea? I'm interested in taking the following AP tests:

1.) English Language (took English 1010 and English 1020; native speaker of English)

2.) English Literature (see above)

3.) U.S. Government & Politics (took a Politics 1010 course)

4.) Psychology (took a Psychology 1010 intro course)

5.) U.S. History (took a U.S. History course freshman year; going to take a History course this fall)

I know this might sound like a lot of work, but I'm determined and assiduous. If this is possible, what books should I use to study? If I read through multiple study guide books for each subject, will I gain a comprehensive understanding applicable to the AP test?

Thanks in advance.

By Feuler (Feuler) on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 12:26 am: Edit

First of all, check where you're thinking about going to college, and make sure you're going to get credit. If not, there's no point. However, if you can get credit, by all means go for it. AP tests are pretty easy to crack if you have a basic understanding of the topics tested and have a little practice with the format. I learned Stat over the course of two weekends and some free time this year and got a 5. Granted, Stat is probably the easiest AP, but if you've taken courses in the topics already, you have a pretty good shot to do well.

By Tweaks (Tweaks) on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 01:04 am: Edit

I did Psych, Stats, and Physics B (was taking honors physics concurrently) by myself, and managed 5's on all of them (I studied well in advance, although I overprepared by some measures) ... I did 5 other AP tests, although it might not match up to your college workload? Unsure there.

The REA book is reputed to be good for US History; I used Barron's for Psych.

By Macramequeen (Macramequeen) on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 01:35 am: Edit

how abour self-study for AP Bio? is it really bad to take it without the class?

By Renegade4box (Renegade4box) on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 02:41 am: Edit

I wouldn't do a self-study english class, the others you should be fine with though.

By Feuler (Feuler) on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 03:56 am: Edit

I have to disagree about English... while they are by no means easy exams, they are not testing the material you were taught in a class so much as skills you've accumulated all your life. So if you're capable of getting a 4/5 on the test, you probably would get a 4/5 whether you take the class or not. Of course, read up a little bit on how the essays are scored, but other than that, there's not really much to "study," as such.

By The007expert (The007expert) on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 04:18 am: Edit

Self-studying does work. But, a class would have helped me get more 5s instead of 4s. Nevertheless, I will still receive credit for all the AP exams I took this year.

By Manderz (Manderz) on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 04:28 am: Edit

If you take the classes at a community college, there's no point in you taking the AP tests...or at least to my knowledge. You really have nothing to benefit from it, because your units from college would be more likely to transfer than an AP test.

By Elizabeth22 (Elizabeth22) on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 07:38 am: Edit

I took the AP English Language test without a class, with minimal prep, and got a 4. I took US History with a class and got a 3 (but the class was a waste of time- I would have been better off using the 2.5 hours a day to study on my own). I really agree with Feuler on English- while a class may mean the difference between a 4 and a 5, the skills and knowledge you need really aren't ones you can develop in a year. I think if you're a strong English student with skill in explication you ought to do fine on Language. Only two kids from my school (including me) took the exam and the other kid got a 5- so it's definitely possible.

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