I see that lots of people around here plan to study for AP exams. May I ask exactly why? The only two reasons that come to mind are:
1. to potentially earn credit for college
2. to potentially impress college admissions officers
I am just curious which factor is generally the prevailing one or if it is something else.
Also, I notice that naturally so, people intend to more often self study for the easier exams. For example, ones like Human Geography come up here more and more often. I also suspect that the vast majority of folks who do this sort of self-studying are ending up in our most elite universities, some of which may be less likely to award credit for some of these easier exams, and nothing short of a 5 when they do.
The only financial consideration that would make sense to me is someone who is very intelligent but is intending to go to their state school solely to save money (like a UC, a UT ...). Then I can imagine the APs getting accepted more readily and potentially securing sophomore standings upon entering.
From an admissions perspective, given that AP exam scores are self-reported in the college admissions process, do they hold much weight? And in particular, don't admissions officers know which exams are easier and thereby value them less?
I'm not trying to be a nay-sayer. I'm just curious what the rationale is. It strikes me like it could be a large time investment, potentially at the expense of studying for classes that make up your GPA, SAT and SAT subject tests, or substantial extracurricular involvement, any of which I'd imagine would hold notably more weight in the admissions process than a self-studied AP. Of course, if you've already nailed your standardized tests, are breezing through school, and are coasting through an Intel research project, for example.
I know the following path is rarely advocated, but I can imagine someone enrolled in honors US history or maybe honors biology self-studying for those exams because there might not be a substantial knowledge or skills gap. I don't have the sense though that is what people here are doing. It seems like on the other hand, people are saying why don't we just crack open Art History books from scratch to prepare for the Art History AP (or substitute another AP here for which the student is not enrolled in the honors level class and the AP is considered one of the easier exams).