Self-Studying APs: Improving Your App

<p>Yeah oasis, i got some questions (anyone can answer)...</p>

<p>How tough is Physic B for self study? I really have no previous physic background, but i'm good at math, and i successfully self study psyc (5), so i was thinking about physic B maybe along with the SAT 2 for it (any info on that is welcome also). </p>

<p>Also, does anyone have any experience with compsi AP test? I'm planning on taking a course for it, but i've heard it's very difficult (though the AP grade distribution looks alright...) and my teacher isn't that great. if i take the course, and study an AP book along with it, how hard is it to get a 5 (for A or AB)?</p>

<p>Well you're taking a course and using a prep book. That should be enough although I have no idea what your background with computers is so I can't really make an accurate statement regarding this.</p>

<p>Oh and oasis, I'm interested in Comp Gov. Do you think that's a good AP to self study? I was also wondering hwo I should study for that class, textbook + prep book or just prep book?</p>

<p>I've seen people post on this website saying that they took the Comp Gov. AP Exam beacuse it came free with the AP Gov. exam. Is this true for everyone or was this just some special thing they're school offered? If it is for everyone I'm interested in also taking AP Gov. </p>

<p>What kind of study materials do you suggest for the following courses btw:</p>

<p>AP Comp Gov
AP Gov
AP Env Sci
Both AP Economics</p>


<p>@llpitch - If you self-study for APs, you can put it in the "additional information" box. If you're writing an app like MIT's app that requires you to report your courseload, just put your self-studied APs as a regular course and put (self-study) beside it. That should be sufficient.</p>

<p>@ milki - AP Scholar with Honor and Distinction are fairly common AP awards. They aren't as prestigious as National Scholar - but I guess if you really want to go for it, Distinction is a good idea. Just note that it's not a HUGE award, if you're aiming for something like that.</p>

<p>@ mikenthemaddog66 - This is exactly why I suggest self-studying Bio. I took AP Bio this year and was assigned a bunch of useless "study guides" that served no educational purpose. The labs were also exceedingly easy and served no purpose whatsoever. I felt that sometimes it's just easier to go through some AP courses on my own, rather than sit through the toil and boredom of a bad AP class.</p>

<p>@ mario - I understand your initiative, and I think that kind of drive should be noted and appreciated by the adcoms reading your application. However, you should bear in mind that the colleges will have to take your word for it if you decide to self-study APs during your senior year. They have no way of verifying, so you really have t o make your message come across. I'm not too sure how you'll make this shine out - perhaps you can communicate your wish to your GC and he might be able to put in a good word for you. Take note also to explain your situation in the "additional comments" box on your application. As for what courses you should study, I guess it's entirely up to you. I wouldnt' suggest doing Physics C and Calc AB at the same time, since Physics C requires calculus principles (you might also want to take that into account before you start Physics). Comp Sci is easily doable if you have sufficient interest in the topic - so you might want to pursue that. There are many options, and I guess it's all eventually up to you to decide. Good luck!</p>

<p>@ SunPenguin - I'm sorry I don't know too much about Comp Sci as I'm quite terrible with Java, even though I took a year of Introduction to Java. As for Physics B - Physics B resembles a typical high school physics class in terms of topics covered but goes into more detail. I must warn you though that it will be VERY different from self-studying Psych. Psych is one of the easiest APs to tackle out there - but Physics is amongst one of the harder ones if you don't have a good physics background. As for the SAT 2, you can get a decent score on it if you had a year of Physics in high school and buy a prep book to practice. You should be able to do fine on it without studying AP Physics extensively.</p>

<p>@ llpitch (again) - I'm not sure if that 1 fee for 2 exam thing is still valid. I know for a fact that it doesn't work for Economics this year anymore...I had to pay twice. As for prep books, you can get PR for AP Gov, Smarty Pants (that's really all you need) for AP Env Sci, and PR+Barrons for Economics (PR gives you the overview, Barron covers the concepts more firmly.</p>

<p>hey! is your international school in taiwan in Taipei? because i'm pretty sure my friends used to go there.. Bethany i think it was called. </p>

<p>thanks for this thread! i'm a native speaker in Chinese, and i was thinking about taking it next year. is there any way to prep for it? did you find it difficult? and how exactly was it set up ( typing on the computer in pin yin , listening, etc.) ?? thanks!</p>

<p>This should be stickied.</p>

<p>Question: what are your thoughts on self-studying for AP computer science?</p>

<p>How many APs do AP State Scholars take? I'm planning on taking around 22 total, will that be enough? 5s aren't a problem, except for Calc, maybe. :(</p>

<p>I appreciate your feedback oasis, I'll just weigh my options a bit more and research for more information before I decide. Your feedback was a great start. </p>

<p>Thanks again :)</p>

<p>@ athenegoddess - I go to the international school in Taichung which is the "main campus" for Bethany ;) Our school has three campuses - two branches in Taipei (Bethany) and Kaohsiung and a main campus in Taichung.</p>

<p>AP Chinese isn't very difficult - it's just a little bit harder than SAT 2 Chinese. There's really no way to prep for it I think - I don't think people will write prep books for it or stuff. You just need to make sure you're able to read (at a Chinese School elementary level), write (typing through pinying or bopomofo), speak (without lapsing into English), and understand basic spoken Chinese (like what is the time, how is the weather...stuff like that). You can switch between traditional or simplified for reading, and for writing you can choose either pinying or bopomofo. You listen through a headset and speak through a mic. That's it, really.</p>

<p>@ kyle - I think Comp Sci is largely self-driven. If you are interested in learning the material and can pick up coding on your own, you should be fine. I never attempted self-studying Comp Sci just because I'm not really into that stuff. You'll know whether you're the "type" to be able to pull it off just through flipping through some CS prep books.</p>

<p>@ luurynx - 22?! wow, that's a lot! State scholar usually depends on what state you're in. In competitive states (CA, TX, MA, NY...etc.) I've heard the number is always in the 20's. I heard somewhere on CC that last year the qualifying amount for TX was 22, so if you're in a smaller state, I think you'll make it.</p>

<p>bump great topic</p>

<p>does anyone have a syllabus for 6th Edition Biology by Campbell and Reece ; I'm self studying and am wondering which of these 55 chapters and 1200+ pages are not needed to know for the exam</p>

<p>^ I need to know also, I have the 7th edition but it's basically the same</p>

<p>I'm already going to be a senior, so if I self-study for exams the admissions officers won't know my scores. Do you think it's still a good idea for me to self-study for a bunch of tests, so I can skip huge, annoying intro classes?</p>

<p>Also, would it be best to take and do well on as many AP tests as you possibly can? In other words, are there cases where it would be better to take an intro class in environmental science than to self-study and get a 5?</p>

<p>Also, does anyone know from experience if self-studying for AP Latin: Vergil a good idea?</p>

<p>I would DEFINITELY not self study Latin Vergil unless you have a really strong backing in 3-4 years.</p>

<p>I've taken Latin for three years. Yeah, I guess it would be hard to self study the Aeneid because without a good teacher it's hard to translate it by yourself. Okay, what about AP Biology? I'm going to be a senior next year, so colleges won't know until after I've been admitted. Should I self-study for that so I can skip intro classes?</p>

<p>@ Beavers - why do you need a syllabus for Campbell's Biology? Do you mean an outline of topics? I'd actually say if you are going to self-study Bio, get Cliff Notes first and read through it. Use Campbell to supplement the areas that you are still fuzzy on. I would NOT recommend reading through all of Campbell if you are just interested for AP credit (well sure, if you enjoy the material or want to try for the Olympiad or love learning for the sake of learning, by all means I invite you to read the entire text). Campbell does a lot with examples and synopses of research, both modern and older - you do not need to know all of that for AP Bio. Cliff Notes touches on the main concepts for AP Bio pretty well - so you can use that as a "guide," if you will, if you decide on self-studying for Bio.</p>

<p>@ dchow - AP credit is good if you are going to a school that allows you to bypass a lot of intro classes with AP credit. The majority of colleges let you do that - but there are some that are very stringent about the classes for which they offer credit (like MIT, for example). I'd say that research the AP policy of the schools you are going to first and decide. But in sum, I'd recommend having taken at least Calc, English, Bio, Chem, and Physics before college if you are thinking about going into science (don't try to self-study Calc, English, or maybe Physics if you haven't, though). They are good previews for college classes IMO and it's good to go in with a foundation, regardless of whether you get credit at the college you end up attending. For the "non-core" AP classes, then it's just up to your discretion on how much is "good." You can put self-study APs on your college apps, but again, it's at the discretion of the colleges on whether they will take that as a mark of academic rigor, since it's your senior year already.</p>

<p>People generally self-study "non-core" AP exams (like Env Sci) for AP Scholar awards. If you are seriously thinking about going into a field like Env Sci, I think it's still better to have taken the equivalent college course. Of course, if you are just aiming to use the 5 on the Env Sci test as elective credits in college (MIT allows many AP exams to be used as "elective" credits - so you won't have to take extra elective classes but does not allow you to bypass the course equivalent of the AP exam at MIT), then it's a different story.</p>

<p>The bottom line is I would recommend you to peruse some AP policy at possible colleges that you want to apply to and decide then. The AP policies at colleges are very diverse and it's hard to give a definite answer that generalizes for all the schools.</p>

<p>Just to reinstate:</p>

<p>It is more to your advantage to self-study AP courses before senior year, as satisfactory performance on them will enhance the application. For senior year, it's more a question of whether you want to bypass introductory courses rather than "looking good" on the application.</p>

<p>If anyone has more self-study AP questions, please ask! That's what I'm here for :]</p>

<p>would you recommend self-studying like 1 or 2 AP's, alongside a rigorous IB schedule? i will be taking 4 AP exams (Bio, Eng, USH, Span) my junior yr and since i want to be Nat'l AP scholar, i need 2 more. I wanted to take psychology as my IB elective, but my school no longer offers it so i will self-study AP psych on my own and/or take an online class. this leaves one more.... </p>

<p>AP Chem?? i had a year of honors chem, and will be taking "IB Chem" next year- how hard would it be to self-study?
AP Euro History?? it looks freakishly detailed and difficult but then again i took AP World, would this help?</p>

<p>any other suggestions?</p>

<p>First off, thank you SO MUCH for the post. It helps a lot. I'm a rising freshman and I was already planning to self-study AP Psych next year, but based on your post I think I can handle Env. Sci as well (I'll be in Honors Biology)--will this be too much?</p>

<p>Edit: Also, which textbooks do you recommend? I didn't read the whole thread, so if you already said, I apologize.</p>

<p>Thanks, oasis, for posting this information. </p>

<p>I've been to your alma mater high school, back when we lived in Taiwan.</p>

<p>@ Vicky - If you are taking IB Chem, I think it should be adequate for AP Chem. Often, the IB equivalent of the AP class is more rigorous than the AP exam so I think you should be fine. I'd advise going against self-studying Euro if your schedule is already jam-packed because Euro covers a fair amount of material that isn't in AP World. Granted, you can read through all of REA and get a 5 (that's what I did ^^") but it's kind of boring and not fun when your schedule is already packed to the max. Chem would be great.</p>

<p>@ mj93 - Env Sci is a natural extension to Bio, so it shouldn't be too hard. I didn't use textbooks for either self-study, so I'm not sure @@" =p. There is a thread on this forum that talks about the best textbooks to use for different exams, so perhaps read that. For prep books, get Smarty Pants for Env Sci and PR for Psych. That's all I used to get the two 5s.</p>

<p>@tokenadult - Nice to know! =) Any comments on it? haha</p>