If you are stuck choosing between two different options, sometimes you could feel like you’re stuck with a problem. In this case, if you are choosing between AP math classes and Honors math classes then it’s a good problem to have. At this stage, if you are deciding to take AP classes then you should probably be heading into your junior year, and most likely have taken an Honors class or two. It is also possible you’ve gotten good marks in regular Algebra, and geometry classes and deciding between the two. 

So now you need to decide whether you would like to keep taking Honors classes or take Honors or AP math for the first time. Which would be the better option between the two? The question can be more complicated than it seems. Firstly you have to know what the courses are and what you will learn about, as well as when you could possibly take them, also what are the advantages and disadvantages of each. Of course, choosing to take an advanced math course is not a decision based on your math grades, but if you are able to apply yourself and get high enough grades. 

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What are AP math classes? 

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AP Computer Science is a good choice for those interesting in a career with computers. Source: Unsplash

There are several types of Advanced Placement classes that are based on mathematical material. One or more of these topics may spark your interest more than the others. The three types of AP math classes are:

  • Calculus AB or BC
  • Statistics
  • Computer Science A or Principles

These three subjects deal heavily with mathematics. As the name suggests they are “advanced”. There are also classes that offer a faster pace and therefore difficulty than the other. For example, AP Calculus BC is set at a faster pace, and therefore covers more material than AP Calculus AB. AP classes can earn you college credits if you earn a high enough grade on the exam.

On an AP exam, you are typically graded on a scale from one to five. Most colleges will require that you get a three on your AP exam, however, there are some colleges and universities that require at least a four. 

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of taking AP math classes

Advantages 

These are some of the reasons you should take an AP class such as those mentioned earlier:

  • College credits
  • College preparation
  • Better Curriculum for Colleges
  • Different options

College Credits 

Firstly the most important advantage is you will be extremely prepared for college if you can manage to find success in the AP math class or classes that you decide to take. As mentioned before you can earn college credits while you are still in High school. This can be a huge help to you starting out at a new level in college or university.

As AP classes are college-level classes you’ll be gaining a lot of college-level experience even before you set foot on a college campus. To pass these classes you must be extremely organized and prepared as well as know how to study, and how much you’ll need to study. 

College Scholarships

Another huge advantage is that it can be extremely beneficial to have AP classes on your high school resume. In terms of the difficulty of classes, having Advanced placement classes is what will draw the most attention. Advanced placement is more difficult than Honors math, therefore it will make colleges even more interested in you and give you a better chance at earning a college scholarship. 

Career Path 

There is also a choice between what type of AP math classes you can take. This can be related to what career you see yourself doing down the line. If you would like to work with computers doing computer programming and coding or networking, then you have the option of taking AP Computer Science. If you are looking to become an engineer or physicist AP Calculus may be the best option for you. If you are looking to get into accounting or economics AP Statistics can be a very good option. 

Disadvantages

  • Time-consuming
  • Not ready

There are not so many disadvantages apart from the fact that it can be too difficult. Taking AP classes requires a lot of studying and working, and if you are a busy person it can become extremely overwhelming. You have to make sure you don’t have too much on your plate already before taking an AP Class.

This is especially true if you got good grades in your regular math classes during your Freshman and Sophomore years and are thinking about making the jump directly to AP classes. It is something you need to discuss with your guidance counselor and teachers as taking AP directly without any Honors classes can be extremely challenging. 

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What are Honors Math classes? 

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Taking Honors math has a lot of advantages. Source: Unsplash

Honors math is not like Advanced placement classes. AP classes and exams are designed by CollegeBoard while Honors math classes and exams are designed by the teachers at your high school and following the regular math curriculum at a more advanced level. Here are the classes you can take if you choose the path of taking Honors Math:

  • Honors Algebra
  • Honors Geometry 
  • Honors Algebra II
  • Honors Pre-Calculus

These classes, follow the normal high school curriculum for math but are set at a higher difficulty meaning you’ll be learning at a faster pace, have less time to take exams, more coursework, and the overall need to work much harder for your grade in Honors Math. 

Advantages of Honors Math

  • Easier than AP classes
  • You can start earlier on
  • More points on GPA

Easier than AP Math

So while you may not get all of the rewards of an AP math class you will surely benefit from taking Honors math, and it may be a better choice for you to take this. You can view Honors math as a happy medium between normal math classes and AP classes. While you will be challenged you won’t be challenged at a college level.

You can begin earlier

If you already have the math skills you can choose to take Honors Algebra Geometry as early as your Freshman or Sophomore year in high school. It can also be a good indicator if you are ready to take the next step in AP classes when you reach Junior or Senior year.

Looks better on GPA

If you get an A or B in your regular math class you will have around a 4 on your GPA, for Honors math you’ll get a 4.5. Colleges value a high GPA score when you are applying for entrance and scholarships. If you are competing for a place in a college with someone that only takes regular high school Algebra or Geometry your resume will stand out much more. 

So which should you choose? 

Computer on desk with message
The choice between AP and Honors math can affect you for years to come. Source: Unsplash

It really isn’t an easy choice if you’ve taken regular math classes and want to take that leap to the more advanced classes. Both options are fantastic for different reasons. Comparing the two options AP classes are worth more and there is more variety. While Honors math is easier, however still it offers a more advanced option. 

Why choose an AP math subject? 

If you can really dedicate yourself to studying and having the time to study and have a good background in math AP math can be perfect for you. Another reason you can choose AP math classes is if you see yourself taking a college major in a STEM subject, which stands for Science Technology Engineering Math. Taking AP Calculus, Statistics, or Computer Science is a fantastic option. If you want a career in economics, or business, or computer programming then taking one of these AP courses makes complete sense.

Why choose to take Honors Math? 

Honors math is a fantastic way of gaining extra points and making your high school curriculum look really impressive with a few fancy “Honors” titles thrown in there. If you feel that AP Classes are just a bit too advanced for you, taking Honors math is a good option. That being said you also need more advanced math and organizational skills to pass these courses. Perhaps you don’t see yourself using math during your career, but still want an advanced subject on your resume. Taking Honors math would be the best option for you then. 

Having this problem of choosing between AP math and Honors math is a great one to have. IF you are a great student that can dedicate your time to either or both of these choices you’ll find yourself ahead in the future! 

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