Self-studying is no easy feat, especially when it comes to AP classes. It requires time, energy, and much motivation. After all, AP classes are difficult enough with a teacher who guides and instructs you through the process, but choosing to self-study a course requires even more commitment.
In my past article, How to Self-Study for AP Classes, I described some of the resources that are available and some tips that will be truly helpful in your self-studying process. However, if you’re trying to decide whether to self-study a course or not, I would recommend considering the following factors.
Reasons why you should self-study an AP class:
- You’re already familiar with the subject. For example, if you already know how to code, AP Computer Science A may not be so difficult to practice. Also, if you are a native Spanish speaker, AP Spanish Language and Culture is a good course to self-study.
- You’ve done it before. This may be self-explanatory, but knowing how to self-study is definitely helpful, as you will have already taught yourself how to be disciplined and self-motivated.
- You have the resources. If you have prep books and videos at your fingertips, there is no reason for you to hesitate in self-studying an AP class.
- Your school does not offer this class. This is a common reason among students. If there are no teachers or courses available in the area, studying alone is the only way to master the material.
- Your schedule is already full. If you would like to boost your GPA but do not have any room for more classes in your current schedule, self-studying is a very feasible choice.
- Your teacher is inexperienced or inefficient. Some of my friends have recounted stories of teachers who did not finish half of the textbook at the end of the semester. Also, other students have described the difficulty of being in a class with a teacher who had never taught the subject before. If you are in such a class, self-studying may reassure you and guarantee your success in both the course and the AP test.
Reasons why taking a class may be more beneficial:
- You normally did not do well in that subject. For example, if math was never your forte, taking an AP Calculus BC course without a teacher may not be the most logical choice.
- You are not self-motivated. If you are the type of student who forgets deadlines, procrastinates, or simply cannot sit still for long periods of time, it may not be the best idea to self-study such rigorous courses.
- You have little to no resources. If you live in a home without access to Internet, if you cannot afford to buy any prep books, or if no libraries are close by, going to school and learning from an instructor may be more practical.
- You like to learn in a classroom setting. Some students prefer to have discussions with other students. Others believe that being in a study group helps them learn better. Such students should probably take advantage of the classroom experience if it is available.
- The teacher who teaches this class at your school is well-known and experienced. A trustworthy teacher with plenty of experience, resources, good tips, and strategies will be extremely beneficial.