Olympia

High School

1302 North Street
Olympia, WA 98501
Phone: (360) 596-7000
Attendance: (360) 596-7003
Fax: (360) 596-7001

Frequently Asked Questions about Honors/AP 

Q. What is the difference between Honors and AP?

A. Honors is pre-AP.  For example, there is no AP English class for 9th and 10th grade so we use "Honors" instead.  There is AP English for 11th and 12th grades (no Honors at this level).

Q. If I enroll in an AP class, do I have to take the AP exam in May?

A. You are expected and highly encouraged to take the exam, and colleges will see that you were in an AP class but did not take the exam.  However, it is not mandatory.

Q. Do I have to apply to be in an Honors or AP class?

A. See the main AP page for details about prerequisites.  Each class is slightly different.  Most honors/AP classes are open to anyone who meets the course prerequisites.

Q. How many Honors/AP classes can I take, or should I take?

A. Each student is unique.  Students must balance academics, sports, activities, jobs, social lives, health, and family commitments.  Keep in mind that AP classes are equivalent to college courses, and that 3 AP classes is equal to a full time college class load.  Also, each AP class is different.  Talk to the teacher about homework expectations, or talk to students who are in/have taken that particular class.  Be realistic about what you can handle while still challenging yourself.

Q. Are there any after school, evening and weekend study groups available?

Tutoring for all students is available every Monday through Thursday in the Library after school.  For additional assistance, talk to your Honors/AP teacher, or form a study group of your own!

Q. What if my grade point average goes down because AP classes are more difficult?

A. Typically, colleges and universities would prefer to see students push themselves and have a slightly lower GPA than to have a perfect 4.0 without any challenging coursework.  Speak to admissions offices for schools you are interested in attending for further confirmation.

Q. How do colleges look at students who take AP and Honors versus regular classes for admission?

A. AP classes are excellent predictors of academic success in college.  Colleges are always looking for students who push themselves.  According to an independent study requested by College Board, taking AP increases eligibility for scholarships and makes candidates more attractive to colleges.

  • 31 percent of colleges and universities consider a student’s AP experience when making decisions about which students will receive scholarships
  • 85 percent of selective colleges and universities report that a student’s AP experience favorably impacts admissions decisions
  • A 2008 study found that AP students had better four-year graduation rates than those who did not take AP. For example, graduation rates for AP English Literature students were 62 percent higher than graduation rates for those who took other English courses in high school.

“We often observe a discernible difference between students without any AP experience, who typically only devote a few hours to homework eachweek, and AP students, who have had to develop the time management skills and the discipline to do the type of time-consuming intellectual work that isrequired to be successful in college.”

─ Spencer A. Benson
Director, Center for Teaching Excellence
Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics
University of Maryland, College Park

Q. What are my summer commitments for AP classes?

Each class is unique.  Some classes do not have summer assignments, while others do.  Check on the main AP webpage to find out if your specific classes require summer homework.