Does StraighterLine Offer a Better Way to Earn College Credits than AP Exams? You Decide

Barry Lenson

Does StraighterLine Offer a Better Way to Earn College Credits than AP Exams? You Decide

AP ExamsDo AP Exams or StraighterLine courses offer you a better way to earn college credit and get a faster start on your college work? Let’s take a closer look.

What Are AP Exams?

The Advanced Placement (AP) program, run by The College Board, is made up of two components: AP classes that are offered in high schools and AP tests that are administered by The College Board. In order to earn college credits through the AP program, you need to pass an AP test and have those credits accepted by colleges where you are applying.

There are currently 34 AP courses that you can choose from. Topics include languages, history and politics, math, science, and even specialized subjects like music theory.

According to the official AP website, “Most four-year colleges in the United States and colleges in more than 60 other countries give students credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of AP Exam scores.” However, the process for getting AP credits accepted varies from college to college. If you want to be certain that college credits will be accepted for the tests that you take, be sure to speak with admissions representatives at the colleges where you are applying.

The current cost for each AP exam is $87.00.  Upcoming exam dates are May 7-11 and May 14-18, 2012. Plus, there are late testing dates this year between May 23rd and 25th.  You cannot take AP exams online; you have to take them at a high school or other test center that has been approved by the program.

How Are StraighterLine Courses and AP Exams Alike?

Both StraighterLine and AP exams offer you a way to earn college credits in more than 30 subject areas.  Plus, there is some overlap in subject matter.

But you will discover some significant differences too. They include:

  • The AP program works especially well for students who are enrolled in high schools that offer AP classes that “teach to the test.” You can also purchase books that can prepare you for the tests, or take StraighterLine courses in the subject areas where you will be taking AP tests. Yet unless you are enrolled in a high school that offers AP classes, preparing is fundamentally up to you.  
  • The processes for earning credits are different at different colleges.  Once you pass an AP exam, your college should grant you the same number of credits that you would earn after taking a college class – but be sure to ask ahead of time about the process of getting those credits awarded. The process at StraighterLine is different. Once you have completed a course, you can transfer the college credits that it earned to thousands of America colleges by using the credit-transfer process offered by the American Council on Education Credit.  Thirty-three of the courses offered by StraighterLine are currently eligible for college credit in this way.  To guide you through the credit transferring process, StraighterLine has established its own Credit Transfer Center.
  • You need to schedule and lock in AP exam dates ahead of time. In contrast, StraighterLine courses are flexible. You can complete your coursework at your own pace – even repeating different units if you desire - then you can finish your course and earn your grade whenever you are ready.  The result is that the outcome of your StraighterLine courses is often easier to control.
  • You can complete StraighterLine courses anywhere. There is no need to schedule a test in a remote physical location and travel to it. To learn more about what it is like to take a course at StraighterLine, CLICK HERE.

In Summary . . .

So, is it better to use the College Board’s AP program or a StraighterLine course to earn college credit? The answer is, it depends on whether you are currently a student in a school that offers AP classes, or whether you fit into another category. Be sure to check out both options and select the one that works best for you.

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