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TPS AP Courses – Top Scores for College Credit

Students who complete TPS AP® courses and follow our study guidance can expect to earn scores of 4 or 5 on those AP exams and get those credits from their college.

TPS is the top provider of online AP courses to independent students. We have the strongest record of test preparation success as measured by actual scores and percentiles each year. Our AP students score higher because we don’t just teach the AP topics and content — we also provide expert guidance and the latest resources for preparing to earn a high score on the AP exam. If you are planning to take an AP exam, then for best chance of earning a score that qualifies you for college credit you will want to take the certified AP course from TPS.

Why take certified AP courses from TPS?

  • TPS AP students are top scorers each year, with higher scores and percentiles than you will find elsewhere. Students who complete TPS AP courses and follow our study guidance can expect to earn scores of 4 or 5 on those AP exams and get those credits from their college.
  • Some TPS AP courses are eligible for direct college credit without taking the exam — a powerful option you will not find elsewhere. This allows the student to have two potential paths to college credit from one course, and to decide his best path based on his college choices and decisions. See the list below for details for each course.
  • TPS AP courses provide you the latest exam preparation guidance and resources provided by the College Board who writes and evaluates the exams. TPS AP courses are updated as often as needed (and more than you will find elsewhere) to stay up with the latest changes. (For example, during the 2020 AP exam changes necessitated by COVID-19 we updated our courses weekly and more to provide our students the latest and best guidance and resources.)
  • TPS AP teachers understand the grading process better than you will find elsewhere. We were the first (and maybe still the only) independent online provider with teachers selected as exam graders.

Which is better:  AP course or dual credit college course?

We get asked this often because we offer both with equal priority.

  • Advantages of AP Courses
    • AP exams are more universally recognized for credit by colleges than transfer credits from other individual colleges. This is especially useful if you are not sure where you want to go to college and you want maximum credit opportunity.
    • Colleges post their AP credit potential (i.e., what credits they provide or waive for scores of 5, 4 or maybe 3 on each exam) on their web site, so you don’t have to petition for credits to be accepted from another college.
    • AP exam scores are standardized (unlike transcript grades from high schools and colleges) and respected, so good AP scores generally carry more weight than good grades on a college application.
  • Advantages of Dual Credit College Courses
    • No AP exam preparation.
    • No single exam score to determine your credit potential.
    • If you know what college(s) you want to consider, you can check in advance to see if they will accept the credits from the dual credit college course(s) you might take.

If you know what college(s) you plan to consider and can be sure your colleges will grant or waive the specific credits you want for your dual credit courses, then the college course in high school is a great option. But if you want the strongest transcript and the widest acceptance of your credits — and if you’re ready to work for a 4 or 5 score on the AP exam — then the AP course that also prepares you for the exam is the better option.

Here is more discussion on considerations for choosing college dual credit courses.

Why take AP exams — why not just get credit for the AP course? 

  • Most colleges use good AP exam scores to allow you to gain specific credits and skip specific courses. No college gives credit for the AP course without the AP exam.
  • Competitive colleges use AP exam scores as part of academically ranking their stronger applicants. AP courses without the exam are considered like any other high school course on your transcript.
  • AP exam scores validate a transcript and make it stand out from a large pool of similar transcripts. AP courses without AP exam scores do not stand out in a positive way, and may even weaken a transcript in a competitive group.

How high do AP exam scores need to be? Competitive colleges require scores of 5 (highest) or 4 to receive college credit. Some schools give credit to scores of 3. Because higher scores matter, AP exams are usually taken in grades 11 and 12, sometimes in grade 10, and occasionally in grade 9.

What are good AP courses to take before grade 11?

A strong grade 9 and higher student should consider:

  • AP Human Geography – Standout HS social studies course. (Currently seeking a teacher.)

Strong grade 10 and higher students should consider:

  • AP U.S. History – Stronger alternative to a standard HS required course.
  • AP European History – Modern Western History course essential to a strong humanities curriculum.
  • AP World History – Modern – Stronger alternative to a standard HS World History course.
  • AP U.S. Government and Politics – Stronger alternative to a standard HS U.S. Government course.
  • AP Comparative Government and Politics – Excellent option for any student considering political or international affairs majors. (Currently seeking a teacher.)
  • AP Macroeconomics and Microeconomics– Stronger alternative to a standard HS requirement. Two HS credits in one year.

What are the primary considerations for choosing among the many AP courses?

Below is a list of AP courses offered by TPS. Where applicable, the corresponding dual credit college course is listed too. With each course, there are specific considerations for choosing that course. Some of this information is surprisingly hard to find elsewhere and provides answers to questions we are frequently asked about each course. TPS offers enough AP course options, preparation, guidance and support that every diligent high school student can boost his transcript with AP credit and exam scores.

  • AP Art History
    • Available from TPS as AP exam preparation or direct college credit (or both). Students choose in the beginning of the course whether to pursue just the direct college credit option (standard high school course workload) or do the additional work (approximately two additional hours per week) for the AP option.
    • Direct college credit option is one college semester of content that provides direct (no AP exam required) dual credit with a transcript from Belhaven University for ART 215 (3 credits).
    • Full AP option is more content and work to prepare for the full scope of the AP Art History exam. (The AP option also provides the direct college credit.)
  • AP Biology
    • No direct dual credit option so AP exam must be taken to seek credit through the college application process.
    • College Board requires both high school Biology and Chemistry as prerequisites, and so this course is usually taken in grade 11 or 12.
    • AP exam requires significant laboratory experience so the AP Biology course has extensive lab component.
  • AP Calculus AB
    • Available from TPS as AP exam preparation or direct college credit (or both).
    • Direct college credit option is one college semester of content that provides direct (no AP exam required) dual credit with a transcript from Belhaven University for MAT 207 (3 credits).
    • AP option is same content but student prepares for and takes the AP exam to seek credit through the college application process.
  • AP Calculus BC
    • Available from TPS as AP exam preparation or direct college credit (or both).
    • Direct college credit option is two college semesters of content that provides direct (no AP exam required) dual credit with a transcript from Belhaven University for MAT 207 (3 credits).
    • AP option is same content but student prepares for and takes the AP exam to seek credit through the college application process.
    • This course has the additional unique option that if a student takes the AP exam and scores a 5, he is eligible for direct dual credit with a transcript from Belhaven University for MAT 207 + MAT 208 (6 credits).
    • Student taking the exam must wait for exam results for any direct credit. Student may not apply for MAT 207 prior to exam results then MAT 208 after exam results.
  • AP Chemistry (currently not offered)
    • College Board requires high school Chemistry as a prerequisite, and so this course is usually taken in grade 11 or 12.
    • AP exam requires significant laboratory experience so the AP Chemistry course must have an extensive wet lab component.
    • TPS previously offered this course and even had amazingly high scores for a time. However, due to the extensive wet lab experience that is supposed to be part of this course, colleges asked us to reconsider the academic value of this course outside of the lab. Even with a high AP score, many colleges would prefer that this particular hands-on course be taken on campus in a full lab, and may be reluctant to give credit for it.
    • Students considering this course should check with their preferred colleges, and may find that they don’t stand to gain much from the significant time and money they will spend on trying to take it at home.
  • AP Comparative Government and Politics (currently seeking a teacher)
    • Strong analytical and essay skills required. Suitable for strong grade 10 and up.
    • Standout option for a student pursuing a degree or career in anything international.
  • AP Computer Science A (Java)
    • Though there is no formal prerequisite for this course recommended by the College Board, the content of the exam is advanced and students taking this course should already have a full-year Java Programming course or the equivalent experience prior to taking AP Computer Science A (Java) to prepare for the exam.
    • For a student who gained programming experience in high school, this AP exam is a great way to convert that experience into transcript recognition for college application.
  • AP English Language and Composition
    • This exam tests a specific set of writing skills. The TPS courses focuses on those skills, so our AP English Language students score considerably higher than others. If you don’t want to work for a high score on the AP English Language exam, take TPS English 5/6 College Composition for direct dual credit instead.
    • TPS offers a direct (no AP exam required) dual credit writing course, English 5/6 College Composition, with a transcript from Belhaven University for ENG 101 (3 credits).
    • A 4/5 score on the AP exam is generally worth more credit in more places, but the direct dual credit option is sufficient for many students to get college credit from their preferred college(s).
  • AP English Literature and Composition
    • This exam covers a broad set of literature analysis skills and objectives. The TPS courses focuses on those skills, so our AP English Literature students score considerably higher than others. If you don’t want to work for a high score on the AP English Literature exam, take one of the several TPS English 4/5/6 College Lit and Comp courses for direct dual credit instead.
    • TPS also offers direct (no AP exam required) dual credit Lit and Comp courses, including British Lit and American Lit, both of which earn a transcript for three college English credits from from Belhaven University.
    • A 4/5 score on the AP exam is generally worth more credit in more places, but the direct dual credit option is sufficient for many students to get college credit from their preferred college(s).
  • AP Environmental Science
    • Advanced science course that does not require a strong science background.
    • Standout transcript booster for a student needing a science course after Chemistry but who may not enjoy pure science or lab courses.
  • AP European History
    • Strong analytical and essay skills required. Suitable for strong grade 10 and up.
    • This exam applies a broad set of history analysis skills and objectives to European history. The TPS courses focuses on those skills, so our AP European History students score higher than others. If you don’t want to work for a high score on the AP European History exam, take TPS College Western Civilization – Ancient to 1780 for direct dual credit instead.
    • TPS also offers a direct (no AP exam required) dual credit world history course, College Western Civilization – Ancient to 1780, with a transcript from Belhaven University for HIS 107 (3 credits).
    • A 4/5 score on the AP exam is generally worth more credit in more places, but the direct dual credit option is sufficient for many students to get college credit from their preferred college(s).
  • AP French
    • TPS foreign language courses are well-known for being excellent preparation for their respective AP exams, and TPS AP French students score considerably higher than other students.
    • Ideally the AP language course is taken as the fifth year of the language study, but this requires the student to enter grade 9 at the second-year level, so it is also feasible to take the AP course as the fourth year of the language study.
  • AP German
    • TPS foreign language courses are well-known for being excellent preparation for their respective AP exams. The TPS AP German is new for 2020-21, but the program through level 4 is already highly-regarded an advanced German language program with no equal in the online community.
    • Ideally the AP language course is taken as the fifth year of the language study, but this requires the student to enter grade 9 at the second-year level, so it is also feasible to take the AP course as the fourth year of the language study.
  • AP Human Geography (currently seeking a teacher)
    • Ideal first AP course for strong grade 9 and up.
    • Some analytical and essay skills required.
  • AP Macroeconomics and Microeconomics
    • Strong analytical and essay skills required. Suitable for strong grade 10 and up.
    • Standout alternative to the standard Economics course required for high school graduation by many U.S. states.
    • Taking both macro- and microeconomics together enhances and reinforces knowledge of both subjects and helps students earn higher AP exam scores on both exams.
    • Transcripts and credits as two AP courses (students must complete the entire course to receive any credit and may not take either semester separately).
  • AP Physics 1
    • No direct dual credit option so AP exam must be taken to seek credit through the college application process.
    • AP Physics 1 replaces a high school physics course (high school Physics is not a prerequisite).
    • AP Physics 1 (algebra-based mechanical) can be followed by AP Physics 2 (algebra-based electricity and magnetism). (There is also the AP Physics “C” series, which are calculus-based. These are rarely offered in high school since calculus is a prerequisite.)
    • AP exam requires significant laboratory experience so the AP Physics 1 course has extensive lab component.
  • AP Psychology
    • A standout social science option with an exam that is generally considered among more attainable high scores on AP exams.
    • TPS AP Psychology course is particularly strong in incorporating a biblical worldview into an otherwise secularized topic.
  • AP Spanish
    • TPS foreign language courses are well-known for being excellent preparation for their respective AP exams, and TPS AP Spanish students score considerably higher than other students (some years they all get 5’s).
    • Ideally the AP language course is taken as the fifth year of the language study, but this requires the student to enter grade 9 at the second-year level, so it is also feasible to take the AP course as the fourth year of the language study.
  • AP Statistics
    • Statistics is a requirement for sciences, social sciences and any other data-driven fields of study. Many students in college wish they took statistics in a full-year high school course first because the semester college course moves too quickly for them.
    • Though Statistics is not really a math course, it replaces a math course as a standout transcript option for students who have completed Algebra 2 and do not need Calculus.
  • AP U.S. Government and Politics
    • Strong analytical and essay skills required. Suitable for strong grade 10 and up.
    • Standout alternative to the standard U.S. Government course required for high school graduation by nearly every state in the U.S.
  • AP U.S. History
    • Strong analytical and essay skills required. Suitable for strong grade 10 and up.
    • Standout alternative to the standard U.S. History course required for high school graduation by nearly every state in the U.S.
    • This exam applies a broad set of history analysis skills and objectives to U.S. history. The TPS courses focuses on those skills, so our AP U.S. History students score considerably higher than others. If you don’t want to work for a high score on the AP U.S. History exam, take TPS College U.S. History for direct dual credit instead.
    • TPS also offers a direct (no AP exam required) dual credit world history course, College U.S. World History, with a transcript from Belhaven University for HIS 105 (3 credits).
    • A 4/5 score on the AP exam is generally worth more credit in more places, but the direct dual credit option is sufficient for many students to get college credit from their preferred college(s).
  • AP World History – Modern
    • Strong analytical and essay skills required. Suitable for strong grade 10 and up.
    • This exam applies a broad set of history analysis skills and objectives to modern world history. The TPS courses focuses on those skills, so our AP World History – Modern students score considerably higher than others. If you don’t want to work for a high score on the AP World History – Modern exam, take TPS College Contemporary World History for direct dual credit instead.
    • TPS also offers a direct (no AP exam required) dual credit world history course, College Contemporary World History, with a transcript from Belhaven University for HIS 205 (3 credits).
    • A 4/5 score on the AP exam is generally worth more credit in more places, but the direct dual credit option is sufficient for many students to get college credit from their preferred college(s).

To find more details on these courses, please select the AP category in our Course Catalog.

*TPS has several sources for this data: Each year we survey our students after the exams to find out their scores and we query the College Board for their scores, and then we cross-check the data to compile a valid TPS data set of scores for each exam. We analyze the TPS data set against the national AP® scores and subscores (data is released by the College Board after each exam cycle) to statistically assess TPS scores and subscores for each exam each year. We also analyze our AP® course grades against the AP® test results, to ensure that our courses continue to support the level and content of each AP® test.

Courses indicated as AP® have received College Board review and approval. AP® is a trademark owned by the College Board, which is not affiliated with and does not endorse this site.

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