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10 Online AP Courses that Every High Schooler Should Check Out

Taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school can significantly enhance your academic and professional prospects. These rigorous courses provide a challenging curriculum that, with an exam score of 3 or higher, will go towards your college credit. Going beyond standard high school classes, successfully completing AP courses demonstrates a strong work ethic, time management skills, and a willingness to take on intellectual challenges at a young age.

One of the key benefits of taking AP courses is the opportunity to earn college credit, many universities accept AP exam scores and grant college credit for a score of 3 or higher, enabling you to potentially enter college with the opportunity to attend more advanced classes. This will not only save you time and money, but also allow you to explore more advanced coursework during your time at university. 

AP Biology is a great course option for students who are interested in pursuing a general STEM major once they are at university. AP Biology covers all sorts of foundational STEM topics, like core scientific principles, theories, and processes that govern living organisms and biological systems. Through Crimson Global Academy’s AP Biology course, you will also get to design experiments and procedures to test a prediction or theory, in lieu of in-person dissections and labs. 

Enrolling in an AP Biology course would also push you to develop new skills that would heavily impact your future academic endeavors, such as collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data to draw conclusions and developing scientific claims with supporting evidence. These skills would benefit you in any college STEM course, and are great academic tools to have under your belt. 

Cost: $3,450 USD per course.

Eligibility: High school students aged 15-18. 

AP Exam Details: There are 60 multiple choice questions, and 7 free response essay questions. The total time is 3 hours and 15 minutes.

AP U.S. Government and Politics is a course that studies the framework and functioning of the U.S. government, as well as the dynamics of the electorate and politicians. As a student in this course, you will study American politics and government from an analytic lens. You will learn how to critically evaluate political data, hypotheses, concepts, opinions, and processes. Along the way, you will also develop your own theoretical analysis of American politics, as well as form your own political opinion. 

In Apex Learning’s AP U.S. Government and Politics course, you will spend time examining general propositions about government and politics in addition to studying the specific relationships between political, social, and economic institutions. AP U.S. Government and Politics would be one of the best AP courses for a student hoping to further study in political science, law, education, business, or history.

Cost: $380 per semester. 

Eligibility: High school students.  

AP Exam Details: There are 55 multiple choice questions and 4 free response essay questions. The total exam time is 180 minutes.

The AP Human Geography course, taught by University of Texas at Austin on Edx, explores key matters in human geography, including population, migration, and cultural patterns. You will learn essential academic skills, like how to interpret maps and analyze geospatial data, which will help discern different human geographical patterns or consistencies. AP Human Geography places an emphasis on recognizing relationships among patterns and processes of humans over time, as well as learning methods for defining regions and understanding regionalization processes. 

This AP class would be a good start for any student hoping to study political science, social science, anthropology, or history in university. The course is designed to provide you with the tools necessary to observe interconnections among places and people over time. It is also a fascinating course for any individuals interested in learning more about world cultures. 

Cost: $49.

Eligibility: All ages.

AP Exam Details: There are 60 multiple choice questions and three free response essay questions. The total exam time is two hours and 15 minutes. 

In AP Chemistry, you will learn about the fundamental concepts of chemistry, from structure and states of matter to intermolecular forces, and reactions. With this course being online only, you’ll also have the opportunity to design your own experiments and procedures to test a prediction or theory in place of in-person labs. From these experiments, you will learn how to create graphs, diagrams, and models that represent chemical phenomena. 

By the end of Crimson Global Academy’s AP Chemistry course, you should be able to explain how the microscopic structure of a substance determines its chemical properties, how to balance a chemical equation, and how to make a scientific claim and support it with evidence. These skills: creating your own experiments, graphing and modeling them, and then defending your own claims and theories- are key for any STEM course you will take in college, meaning this course will benefit you no matter what academic path you choose. 

Cost: $3,450 USD per course.

Eligibility: High school students ages 15-18. 

AP Exam Details: There are 60 multiple choice questions and 7 free-response essay questions. The total exam time is 3 hours and 15 minutes. 

In Aim Academy’s AP English Language and Composition course, there is a heavy blend of both fiction and non-fiction class materials to explore the many literary devices and functions you will learn in this class. AP English Language and Composition covers many aspects of the English language, such as literary devices like diction, syntax, and basic rhetorical devices. 

You will also learn crucial skills, like how to build successful arguments and evaluate your ability to create real-world, important change. You will also learn the subtleties and social importance of irony, satire, and allegory as well as Aristotelian rhetorical appeals (Logos, Pathos, and Ethos) in classic, modern, and contemporary texts. 

This course is also unique on this list as it offers live meetings via a Zoom Meeting Center that occur every week on Wednesday at 1 p.m. EST. These meetings will consist of lecture material and interactive discussion time with fellow students and your professor- but all course meetings are optional and will be recorded for your listening convenience.

Cost: $799

Eligibility: High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. 

AP Exam Details: The exam consists of 45 multiple choice questions and 3 free response questions. The total exam time is 3 hours and 15 minutes. 

AP English Literature places an emphasis on analyzing and assessing works of fiction, poetry, and drama that span diverse periods and cultures. In Crimson Global Academy’s AP English Literature course, you will learn to read a text closely and draw conclusions from the details as well as identify the techniques used by an author and their effects. For the many materials you read, you will be expected to analyze them enough to form an opinion, build an essay, and defend your position. 

This course would be a great option for students looking to potentially major in English, History, Political Science, or Social Science. However, the tools you will learn in this course would be helpful with any academic path you choose.  

Cost: $3,450.

Eligibility: High school students aged 15-18. 

AP Exam Details: The exam consists of 45 multiple choice questions and 3 free response questions. The total exam time is 3 hours and 15 minutes. 

AP Psychology is a course that studies current psychological research methods and theories. As a student in Apex Learning’s AP Psychology class, you will explore the practices used by professional counselors and clinical psychologists while examining different reasons for normal human reactions. Different topics include: how people learn and think, the process of human development and human aggression, altruism, intimacy, and self-reflection. 

You will be expected to study core psychological concepts, including the anatomy of the brain and sense functions, as well as learn to gauge human reactions, gather information, and form meaningful syntheses. 

Cost: $380 per course. 

Eligibility: High school students. 

AP Exam Details: There are 100 multiple choice questions and two free response questions. The total exam time is 2 hours.  

Through Edx’s online Calculus BC course, the topics that are not covered in the Calculus AB curriculum are discussed in full by engaging with video instruction, exam-style questions and interactive activities. This specific course is designed for students who have already taken (or are currently enrolled in) Calculus AB. With this in mind, this course (along with a traditional Calculus AB course) will fully prepare you and your peers to take the Calculus BC exam.

Some of the topics covered in this course include parametric equations, series convergence, series manipulation, arc length, Euler’s method, improper integrals, integration techniques, and the calculus of polar functions. You’ll study these topics and more while also building graphical intuition through interactive graphing experiments and projects. 

Cost: $49.

Eligibility: High school students aged 15-18. 

AP Exam Details: There are 30 multiple choice questions, and one free response question. The total exam time is three hours. 

This AP Physics course, hosted by Rice University, offers you the opportunity to learn the physics of our world at your own pace. Requiring just 3-4 hours a week, this course covers Newton’s Laws and motion, the conservation of energy and momentum, gravitation, electric charge in matter, electric forces and fields, DC circuits, and waves and sound. This course would be a great option for a student debating on if they want to pursue physics at a higher level of education. With its flexibility and foundational information, Edx’s AP Physics is a wonderful starting point for any beginning physicist. This course is also free of charge, with optional upgrades available. 

Cost: $49. 

Eligibility: High school students. 

AP Exam Details: There are 50 multiple choice questions, as well as five free response questions. The total exam time is three hours. 

AP World History, hosted by Khan Academy, is a rigorous course that will take you through the history of the world. From politics, to climate changes, to culture and more, this class is designed to help you study as much information about our world as possible within the allotted AP timeframe. This course would provide a fabulous historical foundation for any student, but specifically those hoping to study history, political science, anthropology, or social science in university. 

On Khan Academy, you can quickly click through the modules for this course to get a brief glimpse into what this course is all about- there is much more reading involved with this course as compared to an AP STEM class that can substitute readings with projects. However, this course would benefit any high school student hoping to learn more about the wide world around them before pursuing a college degree. 

Cost: Free. 

Eligibility: High school students. 

AP Exam Details: This exam consists of 55 multiple choice questions, 3 short answer questions, 1 document based question, and 1 essay question. The total exam time is 3 hours and 15 minutes. 

Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you enjoy taking on academically rigorous opportunities and want to push yourself outside of the classroom, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Mandy Brenner is a current junior at Harvard University. She is concentrating in History and Literature and loves to read and write in her free time.

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