ic S/general/checkmark circled Thanks for subscribing! Be on the lookout for our next newsletter.
ic S/general/checkmark circled Saved to Favorites.
Articles / Preparing for College / Can I Take an AP Exam Without the AP Class?

Can I Take an AP Exam Without the AP Class?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | May 28, 2020

Question: I am currently in an accelerated/honors chemistry class with an A+ average. I had signed up for the AP version of the class at my school, but I changed my mind at the last minute because I got worried about the possibility of messing up my class rank and GPA. Would there be any way for me to prepare myself to take the AP exam in May even though I haven't had the class?

There’s a good chance that you will be able to succeed on the AP Chemistry exam even though you didn’t take the AP course. You need to talk to whomever teaches the AP chem class at your school and ask what sort of preparation you can do on your own to take that exam.


If this is the same individual who teachers your accelerated/honors class, he or she should know exactly where to direct your independent study and will probably encourage your efforts. Hopefully, any other teacher would do the same. However, you need to steel yourself for the possibility that some teachers may resent the fact that you avoided the tougher course and now want to try the test anyway. Nonetheless, it’s certainly an idea worth pursuing. In fact, you may find that there isn’t a lot of difference between the materials covered in your chem section and those studied by the AP students.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

More on Preparing for College

See all
eliott-reyna-jCEpN62oWL4-unsplash

A Guide to Summer Programs for High School Students

Are you looking for an academic-focused activity to participate in over the summer? If so, you might be considering a college-hos…

Should You Take AP Exams If Colleges Won't Accept the Credits?

Should You Take AP Exams If Colleges Won't Accept the Credits?

As you've been slowly researching colleges and adding them to your list of places to apply, you might have realized that som…

pexels-zen-chung-5537936

Spring 2022 Scholarship Roundup: May and June

Scholarships for photographers, film buffs, pet lovers, and more. See our list of scholarships with deadlines coming up this May …

UChicagoPhoto1

At UChicago, Research Defines the Academic Culture

Original research is central to the University of Chicago’s mission. Any student who wishes to get involved in research has over …

christopher-alvarenga-IibRZfGCM10-unsplash (1)

A Year of Purpose: Exploring the Gap Year Option

Two years into the global pandemic, it's becoming clear that more and more students are exploring alternate routes to colleg…

Ace the SAT in Just 10 Minutes a Day!

Discover how you can make your college journey easier.

Get Started
Need Help Paying for College?
VIew Offers