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How Have AP Courses Changed Over the Years? Part 2

How the AP exams that most students took in the past will never be the same

A continuation of the previous post, presented is part 2. This posts presents the other possible reasons to why AP courses have changed over the years and are explained in further detail below:

Subjects

There are now over 30 different AP subjects. Although some (US History, Biology, Calculus) are more popular than others, the AP program can test the college readiness of a wide variety of students. As the number of choices has increased, students began to take more subjects. Although this is not a completely negative trend, some experts still recommend sticking with just a few strong subjects, rather than a full load of advanced work.

Credit and Advanced Standing

One key benefit of AP exams is that a passing grade can equate to college credit. Others offer the chance to jump right into upper division coursework. However, some elite universities are no longer awarding credit for these tests. Some, like Dartmouth, instead take the term “Advanced Placement” literally and use it to determine the student’s abilities and readiness for more difficult work.

Curriculum and Requirements

Although the AP exams began as rough outlines of major themes, the amount of material covered by these classes bloated rapidly. By 2011, the College Board decided to address this by rolling out revised outlines for AP courses. The emphasis is now on broader themes and larger topics. AP exams are no longer about minutiae. Instead, the College Board hopes that AP exams will allow students to realize what is possible when they apply their knowledge from their coursework. Hands-on projects and laboratory work will figure more prominently into courses in the future.

Without a doubt, the AP program will continue to evolve over time. By keeping its history in mind, you should be even more prepared for your own AP journey!