Eat a Cookie: Deciphering AP Exams and Dual Credit through a Tasty Treat

Advanced Placement Classes

To take AP (Advanced Placement) classes, or not to take AP classes? That is the question.

When high school students are driven to attend an accredited college and make top marks for graduation, AP classes are a viable option. It challenges students to complete work at a college level.

Also, AP classes are just like baking cookies.

When baking cookies, there’s a recipe to be followed. Mix in the sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, and other baking needs found around the kitchen.

Mixed all together, the results make for a delightful dessert. The effort is worth the end product. AP classes are the same way.

AP classes are not for the lazy. It is college material for a high school student. In order to get the full benefit, you have to study the material, be engaged in class, and prepare early for the AP exams.

The great thing about AP exams is that the tests can potentially gain you college credit before even attending college. Not to mention the exams are less than one hundred dollars.

However, AP classes don’t work if you don’t follow the recipe. Lack in coursework and unpreparedness for the national exam could cost you the college credit.

Taking an AP class doesn’t automatically guarantee college credit. There’s an entire process to follow. Even if all ingredients are included, not all colleges accept the same scores. Some colleges accept scores of two or three, while others require a four or five. It all depends on which college you attend.

In my personal experience, AP exams boosted my college credit at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My History and English scores counted toward multiple requirements, allowing me to fulfill all of my general education requirements in my freshman year.

However, I didn’t focus on my calculus and chemistry AP exams as much as I should have. I didn’t receive satisfactory scores, so I didn’t receive college credit.

It’s not always a given; you have to put in the effort. Still, what I did accomplish made for a pretty sweet cookie to have when entering college.

Dual Credit Courses

Sometimes it’s best to purchase the store-bought cookies. Whether that’s the delectable treats of Little Debbie or your local bakery, the taste can be just as sweet as if you had baked the cookies yourself. Packaged cookies are like dual credit courses.

Dual credit courses provide college material to high school students, just not in the high school itself. By taking courses at a local college while in high school, you’re gaining college credit before even receiving your high school diploma. Differing from AP exams, this college credit is ensured as long as you receive satisfactory grades.

Still, be mindful. Packaged cookies aren’t always what you expect. These credits may not transfer to all universities and colleges. Plan ahead and see if these credits transfer to schools that interest you. Talk with your advisor at your high school or at the college where you’re receiving dual credit. Double check to see course equivalences with this easy-to-use website.

Cookies are fun and tasty, but this dessert isn’t all fun and games. There are a few ideas keep in mind before indulging in the treat:

  • Think realistically about whether the material and course load is right for you. College level courses require more work. Students are expected to read the text and use class as a clarification tool, rather than a crutch to get you through.
  • Use time management. College courses require more of your time for reading, writing papers, and studying for exams. Not only that, but AP exams require weeks of studying to be prepared. Make sure this can fit in your schedule. If you are involved with lots of activities and clubs, find out if your coach or mentor is flexible with hours, so you can participate in all your interests.
  • Talk with your counselor about how AP classes or dual credit courses will fit into your schedule. How will these classes help fulfill your high school graduation requirements? Are these classes a good match for you?

If these bullet points receive positive feedback from you and your academic support system, indulge in cookies all you want! Packaged, pre-mixed, or baked from scratch, these cookies are fantastic treats that can set you ahead in college.

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Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs is a sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pursuing a News-Editorial Journalism degree. An avid bookworm, Rebecca reads all texts Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut when she’s not busy writing for The Black Sheep on campus. Back home, she spends a vast amount of time enjoying nature with loved ones.