Self-Studying for AP Tests: A Lucrative Option for Busy Students

Dylan Gates, Media Manager

AP tests are the culmination of an entire year of accelerated, college-level material. Scoring the coveted five-out-of-five on any AP test demonstrates a student’s academic prowess and additionally attracts attention to them from colleges, according to NBC News.  

However, some of these AP tests are easier than others and do not necessarily require an entire year of course-study. Self-studying for certain AP exams is a viable and effective way to pass and should be a strategy considered by all students.

Self-studying offers students the opportunity to explore courses not yet offered at Portola High. As of right now, our school only offers a limited amount of the most demanded AP classes. Some students are shorted by not being offered the niche AP classes they want to take, such as AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics and AP Government. For them, the best solution is to self-study.

“I think self studying is a good idea because if you’re successful it shows colleges that you’re capable of being independent and aggressive when it comes to your studies,” junior Annika Lai said.

Additionally, some students may already have prerequisite knowledge that when supplemented with self-studying could result in easily higher AP scores. For example, bilingual students have an advantage on the AP world language tests, where they can showcase their abilities without having to take an entire year-long course.

“By self-studying for [AP exams], it not only helps you get a good score and increase the amount of APs that you can use in college, but you also gain knowledge that you can apply to your other classes in school,” junior Patrick Cui said.

Beyond language exams, self-study supplementing is also a viable option for classes that are not AP, but do have AP counterparts. In the case of Portola High, Honors Chemistry is one example in which some supplementary studying could lead to good results on the AP exam.

“Some people take an honors level of a class, like biology or U.S. history, and decide to do extra studying so they can take the AP. I did that myself with [AP U.S. History],” college counselor Ellen McCammon said in an article published on Prep Scholar, a renowned source for college prep material.

Self-studying has never been easier due to the vast array of resources. For example, Khan Academy boasts an impressive collection of the science-related AP courses and also a few AP humanities courses. Nevertheless, when AP classes are offered, especially for unfamiliar subject matter, students should always take the class. A survey from Very Well Mind reported that 95% of students today are likely to procrastinate their studies meaning that many students will fall victim to procrastinating their self-studying.