Depending on the score they receive on the AP exams, students can test out of a lot of general education requirements, saving themselves time and money. Many universities have math and writing requirements for all students, regardless of major, and a score of 3, 4, or 5 on the right AP Exams can help a student bypass some (or all) of those subject requirements, allowing him or her to dive right into the classes he or she is interested in.
For a science or engineering student, taking a course like AP Calculus can seem like a no-brainer.
If college is a time to play to one strengths, high school is a time to explore (though college can also be a time to explore, of course). Math stars should take art classes and read The Great Gatsby and bookworms should embrace chemistry and advanced algebra. Everyone has areas where they naturally excel, but they also need to push themselves and move out of their comfort zones when reasonable.
But even for an English or fine arts student, the AP Calculus exam can be helpful. Oftentimes, students whose majors require zero science or math will still need to fulfill a math or science requirement for graduation and testing out of that requirement with a science or mathematics AP score can really help. Psychology and economics students are often required to complete statistics courses, so AP Statistics can be especially useful for them.
Of course, it’s important for students to play to their strengths. A book-worm who’s struggling in math shouldn’t take AP Stats or Calculus if it’s likely that he or she won’t get a good grade in the class or receive a passing score on the exam; he or she should stick to AP English Language instead. Similarly, stellar science students shouldn’t try to take AP US History if they don’t think they have a reasonable chance to excel. But college bound high school students should think seriously about all of the benefits of AP courses when choosing their course schedules each semester.