Getting into Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school can seem intimidating, but it’s an achievable goal if you plan ahead and put in the work. Taking AP classes allows you to learn college-level material while still in high school, potentially earning you college credit through passing AP exams.

If you want to challenge yourself academically and get a head start on college academics, read on to learn the steps for getting into AP classes.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: meet with your guidance counselor early to discuss AP options, maintain excellent grades in prerequisite courses, and advocate for yourself by directly asking teachers about enrolling in AP classes.

Plan Ahead and Get Guidance Counselor Input

Getting into AP classes in high school requires careful planning and guidance counselor input. Here are some steps you can take to ensure you make the right choices:

Discuss options before high school begins

Before entering high school, it’s important to have a conversation with your guidance counselor about your academic goals and aspirations. They can provide valuable insight into the available AP classes and help you understand the requirements and expectations.

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Your guidance counselor is there to support you and provide guidance throughout your high school journey.

Map out a multi-year AP plan

Creating a multi-year plan for AP classes will help you stay organized and ensure that you’re on track to meet your goals. Consider the subjects you’re most interested in and the prerequisites for each AP class. This will help you determine the best course of action to take each year.

Did you know? According to a study conducted by the College Board, students who take AP classes in high school are more likely to succeed in college and have higher graduation rates.

Get guidance counselor recommendations

Your guidance counselor plays a crucial role in helping you navigate the world of AP classes. They have a deep understanding of your academic strengths and weaknesses and can recommend AP classes that align with your interests and abilities.

Expert tip: Take advantage of your guidance counselor’s expertise and schedule regular meetings to discuss your progress and any concerns you may have. Their guidance can make a significant difference in your AP journey.

Remember, getting into AP classes requires careful planning and guidance counselor input. By discussing your options early on, mapping out a multi-year plan, and seeking recommendations from your guidance counselor, you’ll be well on your way to a successful AP experience.

Excel in Prerequisite Courses

In order to get into AP classes in high school, excelling in prerequisite courses is crucial. These courses serve as the foundation for advanced subjects and demonstrate your ability to handle more challenging material. Here are some key strategies to help you excel in your prerequisite courses:

Review middle school performance

Start by reviewing your performance in middle school. Take note of the subjects in which you excelled and areas where you may need improvement. This self-reflection will help you identify the areas in which you need to focus more attention and effort.

Aim for As in lead-up classes

To prove your readiness for AP classes, aim for high grades in your lead-up classes. Strive for As and Bs to show your dedication and ability to handle advanced coursework. Remember to actively participate in class discussions, complete all assignments on time, and seek help from teachers when needed.

Stay organized and put in extra study time

Staying organized is essential to excel in prerequisite courses. Create a study schedule and stick to it, allocating dedicated time for each subject. Use study aids such as flashcards, mnemonic devices, and online resources to reinforce your learning.

Additionally, don’t hesitate to put in extra study time to fully understand the material and prepare for exams.

By excelling in prerequisite courses, you will not only increase your chances of getting into AP classes but also build a strong academic foundation for future success.

Advocate for Yourself

One of the most important steps in getting into AP classes is advocating for yourself. This means taking initiative and actively seeking out opportunities to show your interest and qualifications for AP courses. Here are a few ways you can advocate for yourself:

Ask teachers directly about enrolling

If you’re interested in taking an AP class, don’t be afraid to approach your teachers and express your interest. They can provide valuable insight into the course and may even be able to recommend you to the AP coordinator or department head.

Remember, teachers want to see their students succeed and are often willing to help if they know you’re committed.

Highlight strengths and interest on AP application

When filling out an AP application, make sure to highlight your strengths and interests that align with the specific AP course you’re interested in. This could include relevant academic achievements, extracurricular activities, or even personal experiences that demonstrate your passion for the subject.

By showcasing your enthusiasm and qualifications, you increase your chances of being accepted into the class.

Follow up on application status

After submitting your application, it’s important to follow up and check on the status. This shows your dedication and commitment to the AP program. If there’s a delay in the decision or if you haven’t heard back, don’t hesitate to reach out to the AP coordinator or department head for an update.

They’ll appreciate your proactive approach and may be able to provide you with additional information or guidance.

Remember, advocating for yourself is essential when it comes to getting into AP classes. By taking the initiative and showcasing your qualifications and interest, you increase your chances of being accepted into these challenging and rewarding courses.

Consider External AP Exam Preparation

Preparing for AP exams requires dedication and a strategic approach. While your high school classes will provide a solid foundation, considering external AP exam preparation can give you an extra edge. Here are some ways you can enhance your AP exam readiness:

Enroll in review courses over summer

One effective way to prepare for AP exams is to enroll in review courses over the summer. Many educational institutions and tutoring centers offer specialized courses designed to cover the content and skills necessary for success in AP exams.

These courses often provide comprehensive review materials, practice tests, and expert guidance to help students grasp the key concepts and improve their test-taking strategies.

Use AP exam study guides

Another valuable resource for AP exam preparation is the use of study guides. These guides are specifically tailored to each AP subject and provide a detailed overview of the exam format, content, and scoring criteria.

They often include practice questions, sample essays, and tips for effective studying. Using study guides can help you identify areas of weakness and focus your review on the most important topics.

Form study groups

Studying with peers can be a beneficial way to prepare for AP exams. Forming study groups allows you to discuss and clarify complex concepts, share study strategies, and hold each other accountable. Collaborative learning can help reinforce your understanding of the material and provide different perspectives on challenging topics.

Additionally, teaching others what you have learned can enhance your own comprehension and retention.

Remember, external AP exam preparation should complement your regular coursework and not replace it. It is important to strike a balance between external resources and your high school classes. By effectively utilizing external AP exam preparation methods, you can boost your confidence and increase your chances of success on AP exams.


Getting into AP classes requires planning, strong academic performance, self-advocacy, and commitment. By mapping out an AP plan early, excelling in prerequisite courses, directly asking about enrolling, and diligently preparing for AP exams, you can challenge yourself with college-level APs in high school.

Stay proactive and don’t get discouraged by any initial obstacles – with concerted effort over time, you’ll find AP classes within your reach.

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