The Student Room Group

Is A Level content sufficient for AP Exams?

Unfortunately, my GCSEs were weak in subjects for a field that I never planned to go into. I got 3 9s and an 8 for my maths/science which I am wanting to pursue, and then some decent and average grades for the rest.
I'm hoping to do well at my A Levels as I've only started and really want to go to a top Uni so know I need to foucs.
I'm wanting to apply to Uni in the US, but unfortunately they look at GCSE results quite heavily there. What methods are there for me to do extra things to compensate for this? First things that came to mind was AP Courses but I feel doing them alongside A Level study is too long and may negatively affect my A Levels and they aren't really required as A Levels can be translated more than well to US Unis. Then I looked up SAT Subject Tests but those had been discontinued. Then I was curious to know whether my learnt A Level content for Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Computer Science (most likely only most of Year 1 content as I just started Y12 and plan to include the AP Exam scores in my Uni Application next year) would be sufficient enough to only do AP Exams? Therefore, I complete the AP Exam without the hassle of doing the specified course throughout the year?
If there's any other academic related suggestions, I'd really appreciate it as I really do want to get into a top Uni for STEM in the US.
Thanks
(edited 6 months ago)
Reply 1
Original post by aayan___a
Unfortunately, my GCSEs were weak in subjects for a field that I never planned to go into. I got 3 9s and an 8 for my maths/science which I am wanting to pursue, and then some decent and average grades for the rest.
I'm hoping to do well at my A Levels as I've only started and really want to go to a top Uni so know I need to foucs.
I'm wanting to apply to Uni in the US, but unfortunately they look at GCSE results quite heavily there. What methods are there for me to do extra things to compensate for this? First things that came to mind was AP Courses but I feel doing them alongside A Level study is too long and may negatively affect my A Levels and they aren't really required as A Levels can be translated more than well to US Unis. Then I looked up SAT Subject Tests but those had been discontinued. Then I was curious to know whether my learnt A Level content for Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Computer Science (most likely only most of Year 1 content) would be sufficient enough to only do AP Exams? Therefore, I complete the AP Exam without the hassle of doing the specified course throughout the year?
If there's any other academic related suggestions, I'd really appreciate it as I really do want to get into a top Uni for STEM in the US.
Thanks

I think AP exams could help with your application and academic profile. I don’t know what the registration deadline is, but I think it’s soon. Also, what AP exams are you planning on taking? I think with further maths, you could probably do AP Calculus BC and then AP Physics mechanics and AP Computer Science A. From my knowledge, A levels complete more than necessary topics for AP exams, so I think you should be well prepared. You could also look for the AP course syllabus online to see what topics are covered.

Also if you are really interested, you could look up the common data set for the schools you are interested in to see what they are looking for. Some universities value different things like your essay, extracurriculars, academics and whatnot. If you do this information would be in section C of the common data set.
Reply 2
Original post by AhmedK86
I think AP exams could help with your application and academic profile. I don’t know what the registration deadline is, but I think it’s soon. Also, what AP exams are you planning on taking? I think with further maths, you could probably do AP Calculus BC and then AP Physics mechanics and AP Computer Science A. From my knowledge, A levels complete more than necessary topics for AP exams, so I think you should be well prepared. You could also look for the AP course syllabus online to see what topics are covered.

Also if you are really interested, you could look up the common data set for the schools you are interested in to see what they are looking for. Some universities value different things like your essay, extracurriculars, academics and whatnot. If you do this information would be in section C of the common data set.

Yeah, I was thinking similar ones to the ones you said. Calculus AB or BC depending on the content, Physics 2 or Mechanics and then CS A or Principles. I still need to have a deeper look as this was just a quick glance at the options I have but I still need to compare the curriculums to ensure that my courses do cover the relevant topics and units.

I will check for sure. I'm wanting to try getting into MIT because the culture there and resources available are some of the best for the engineering speciality I want to get into.
Reply 3
you said you took further maths, so I think BC would be better for you. Also with that I think Maybe taking mechanics would also be better if you are trying to get into MIT, bc of how competitive it is. AP CSA holds more value than AP CSP, but it’s also a harder class/exam, so do with that what you will. Good luck with MIT apps!
Reply 4
Original post by AhmedK86
you said you took further maths, so I think BC would be better for you. Also with that I think Maybe taking mechanics would also be better if you are trying to get into MIT, bc of how competitive it is. AP CSA holds more value than AP CSP, but it’s also a harder class/exam, so do with that what you will. Good luck with MIT apps!

I am a Y12 student. I started this September and plan to take the AP Exams at the end of Y12 (May 2024) therefore why I was asking if first year content would be sufficient for any of them. This is so I can actually use them for my Uni app the following months (Fall 2024). Looking at the FM curriculum, it doesn't seem to be that I learn Calc in first year, or enough to pass either exams so I'll obviously have to self-study that on top of my A Levels. Same with Physics C (Mechanics and E&M): I would rather do them over Physics 1 or 2, but will I be able to keep up with them considering I haven't ever touched proper Calc in my life? Only reason I was going CSP over CSA is because I've already done one of the CSP courses, offered by Harvard (there's two for the whole class: CS50T and CS50 - I've done most of CS50T) and also because for CSA, I'd have to learn another whole langauge (Java) whereas for A Level CS, I am learning VB (useless language, I know) and I'm going to be learning some Python or MATLAB on my own on the side. This is why I was wondering whether it'd be better to do AB or BC, and 1/2 or Mech/E&M regarding my current situations. Also, I'm trying to build my ECs as well so another factor I need to bring in.

I appreciate the support!
Reply 5
so i actually gave AP Calc BC this year just after my AS levels ended (along with AP Microeconomics and Macroeconomics). Definitely give Calc BC coz its just 2 more chapters (compared to AB) and valued much more. It shouldn't be hard to do with your A Levels (I forgot i had registered and ended up with a little over 3 weeks to study for the exams🥲, did Micro and Macro in 6 days each and Calc BC in 10 days). Khan Academy will be a lifesaver. The content was new but not that hard and BC does help out a bit in Further Math later (integration especially).
Ended up with 5 in Micro and Macro and 4 in Calc BC (subscore 5). Looking back should have focused more on Maclaurin series in the last chapter since i lost the 5 due to that question.
Also some random advice do very well in AS and then start studying for APs, coz AS will save your A Level grade
All the Best
Reply 6
Original post by ZeraAura
so i actually gave AP Calc BC this year just after my AS levels ended (along with AP Microeconomics and Macroeconomics). Definitely give Calc BC coz its just 2 more chapters (compared to AB) and valued much more. It shouldn't be hard to do with your A Levels (I forgot i had registered and ended up with a little over 3 weeks to study for the exams🥲, did Micro and Macro in 6 days each and Calc BC in 10 days). Khan Academy will be a lifesaver. The content was new but not that hard and BC does help out a bit in Further Math later (integration especially).
Ended up with 5 in Micro and Macro and 4 in Calc BC (subscore 5). Looking back should have focused more on Maclaurin series in the last chapter since i lost the 5 due to that question.
Also some random advice do very well in AS and then start studying for APs, coz AS will save your A Level grade
All the Best

Damnn, that's crazy good. Yeah, I started a bit and Khan Academy is just an absolute W. Would you recommend getting ahead of the A Level curriculum for my subjects and then using my extra frees to do the AP content, even if it is very small amounts because I'd have till May?
Original post by aayan___a
Unfortunately, my GCSEs were weak in subjects for a field that I never planned to go into. I got 3 9s and an 8 for my maths/science which I am wanting to pursue, and then some decent and average grades for the rest.
I'm hoping to do well at my A Levels as I've only started and really want to go to a top Uni so know I need to foucs.
I'm wanting to apply to Uni in the US, but unfortunately they look at GCSE results quite heavily there. What methods are there for me to do extra things to compensate for this? First things that came to mind was AP Courses but I feel doing them alongside A Level study is too long and may negatively affect my A Levels and they aren't really required as A Levels can be translated more than well to US Unis. Then I looked up SAT Subject Tests but those had been discontinued. Then I was curious to know whether my learnt A Level content for Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Computer Science (most likely only most of Year 1 content as I just started Y12 and plan to include the AP Exam scores in my Uni Application next year) would be sufficient enough to only do AP Exams? Therefore, I complete the AP Exam without the hassle of doing the specified course throughout the year?
If there's any other academic related suggestions, I'd really appreciate it as I really do want to get into a top Uni for STEM in the US.
Thanks

AP classes are at the same level as A-levels. There's no point doing both in the same subjects, they're equivalent. It'd be like just doing the same A-level again with a different exam board.
Reply 8
Not really, A Level is much more rigorous than AP Exams. Yes, statistically Universities may look at them equivalently but I'm pretty sure Admissions Officers would recognise an A Level more than an AP. According to Oxbridge, 3 APs equal one A Level. That isn't the point anyhow. My high school transcript (GCSEs) were weaker in writing subjects; not crazy horrendous but average (5&6s). I want to be able to compensate them with something high school level equivalent in the US that just may guve an extra boost in my application, as US unis look heavily at High school grades.
Reply 9
Original post by aayan___a
Damnn, that's crazy good. Yeah, I started a bit and Khan Academy is just an absolute W. Would you recommend getting ahead of the A Level curriculum for my subjects and then using my extra frees to do the AP content, even if it is very small amounts because I'd have till May?

thank you:smile:
its not really necessary if you do your AP syllabus gradually since you won't be falling behind at A Levels at all. I would recommend doing both together so you aren't in a tough spot for either. Just don't leave your APs for the last minute coz then your A Levels might suffer as you would be devoting all your time to the APs. Even if you do want to move forward, make sure you are covering common topics, like integration (useful in Calc BC, Maths and Further Maths), first which will help you cover both the syllabuses. Do the extra concepts whenever you find a bit of time.
Reply 10
Original post by ZeraAura
thank you:smile:
its not really necessary if you do your AP syllabus gradually since you won't be falling behind at A Levels at all. I would recommend doing both together so you aren't in a tough spot for either. Just don't leave your APs for the last minute coz then your A Levels might suffer as you would be devoting all your time to the APs. Even if you do want to move forward, make sure you are covering common topics, like integration (useful in Calc BC, Maths and Further Maths), first which will help you cover both the syllabuses. Do the extra concepts whenever you find a bit of time.

Ah alright. Bet. Thank you!

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