When it comes to AP exams, there is a wide variation in the number of test takers for a given exam. Nearly 400,000 students take the AP English Language test, while other exams have fewer than 20,000 test takers. AJ Tutoring strives to provide exam preparation for all of these tests, big or small! Probably the biggest factor in the popularity of a given test is the number of schools that offer the associated course. However, for almost all courses (besides AP Research and AP Seminar), it is possible to take the exam without having taken an AP class, and AJ Tutoring, with both our academic offerings throughout the year and our specialized test prep, is also a great resource for helping students in that position.
Regardless of whether the plan is to take the test in as part of an AP Course or not, it is important to note that the College Board is changing the registration deadline for the test―rather than registering in the spring, students will be required to register in the fall or pay a hefty late fee. Students looking to take the exam without taking the course will need to reach out to the AP coordinator at a school that offers AP testing no later than October 4.
What are some great tests that don’t get as much attention as they deserve? Here are four of our favorites, chosen because they have relatively few test takers, but we feel they are valuable tests for many different careers. AJ can help with any of these tests, and dozens more!
AP Human Geography
AP Human Geography is a highly unappreciated test, often overlooked compared to other social sciences tests like AP US History or Government and Politics. However, this course provides a great introduction to popular majors like anthropology, sociology, and international politics or business. Many students also find the content more interesting and lively, since it is focused on the patterns of human behavior on a large scale in the present day, rather than in the past. After taking this class, students will be much better prepared for college courses like demographics, urban studies, cultural diffusion, and economic development, and more than any other class will help students gain a better understanding of the world around them!
AP Art History
While it often counts for credit in a Fine Arts category, Art History is also a great way to get another perspective on history, by learning how different cultures throughout history have used painting, sculpture, architecture, and other media to express themselves. The AP Art History curriculum includes learning about how both European and non-European art have gone through multiple phases, and asks students to write about art work based on the philosophical and aesthetic context it was created in. While the course does involve some memorization of artwork, the pieces that need to be memorized are published and definite, so students willing to do some work with flashcards – and a tutor to help them see the big picture trends! – can do very well on this test. It’s a great course for students interested in art who would like to get background on the styles and theories that have shaped art to this day, as well as students interested in anthropology, history, or philosophy.
AP Psychology is one of the less-common AP courses, and is most often taken by students in their Junior or Senior years. AP Psychology courses cover a wide variety of topics in psychology, including neuro-anatomy, human behavior, child development, and the study of abnormal psychological functions – all of which excite the minds of young science-minded students! The AP Psychology course is most similar to an upper-level Biology course in its density of terms and case studies, but lacks the “harder science” elements of AP Chemistry and Physics that prove challenging for some learners. While some schools do not offer an AP Psychology class, the AP exam itself is surprisingly coachable with a bit of outside studying: a standard psychology student can feel confident and capable to succeed on the AP Exam! If your student is interested in the sciences and looking for another AP to add valuable science credit to their college resume, consider reaching out and exploring AP Psychology!
AP Environmental Science
In AP Environmental Science, students use a holistic view of biological and political systems to explore how the human world and the natural world are interwoven in such a fashion that is sometimes mutually beneficial, while in other instances more problematic. Additionally, by understanding the methodologies, students can gain insight on how to identify environmental problems, evaluate risks, and examine potential solutions. The curriculum will discuss the earth’s individual systems such as water cycles, earth’s orbit around the sun, and tectonic plates along with how these systems are interconnected and have changed over geological time. This is a great course for students interested in any natural science, especially ecology, as well as those looking forward to studying political science or civil or environmental engineering.