How AP Courses Boost Your GPA

Boost your GPA and Stand Out to Colleges with a Weighted GPA

Advanced Placement® Courses are a great way to challenge yourself academically, earn college credit and make yourself stand out when applying to universities. Many high schools recognize that AP courses involve more commitment, longer hours and greater effort to do well, and as a result, they are graded on a weighted scale to reward dedicated students who do well, as well as avoiding punishing students who are more challenged by the tougher classes. Continue reading to learn more about the AP GPA grading scale and how much AP classes boost GPA.

How does the AP GPA scale work?

Grades in high school are typically assigned using a traditional 4.0 scale where an A is worth 4 points, a B is worth 3 points, a C is worth 2 points, a D is worth 1 point, and an F is worth 0 points. 

However, AP courses are graded on a weighted scale that goes up to 5.0. On this weighted scale, an A is worth 5 points, a B is worth 4 points, a C is worth 3 points, a D is worth 2 points, and an F is worth 0 points. This means that students who take AP courses can earn a higher GPA than those who do not take them.

So, a B in an AP class is actually a really good grade, and you can still get a 4.0 GPA if you have a B in an AP class. Additionally, if you have an A in an AP class, that opens up the possibility of achieving a GPA above 4.0!

The purpose of a weighted GPA is to recognize the additional effort and rigor involved in taking AP courses. A weighted GPA takes into account the grades earned in advanced courses, such as AP courses, Honors courses, and Dual Enrollment courses, and assigns them a higher point value. This allows high-achieving students to distinguish themselves from their peers when applying to colleges and universities.

In some schools, only AP courses are weighted. In others, any course that is more challenging than the standard curriculum is given extra weight. The weighting system varies from school to school, so it’s important to check with your school counselor to find out the specific policy for your high school.

How much do AP classes boost your GPA?

AP classes can boost your GPA by 1 point because AP courses are graded on a five-point scale. Excellent students can achieve a GPA higher than a 4.0. The 5.0 scale is meant to reward students who excel in AP courses, as well as avoid penalizing students who want to challenge themselves with more difficult courses. It’s possible to get a B in an AP course while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

When applying to college, admissions officials will look at both the weighted and unweighted GPAs of applicants. In many cases, an unweighted GPA is the standard measure of a student’s academic performance, but a weighted GPA is also viewed as an indication of how rigorous a student’s course load was. Certain careers require high GPAs at the high school level because of how competitive they are. For example, anesthesiologists should have a high GPA in high school to stand out when it’s time to apply for college and medical school.

Do online AP classes boost GPA?

Yes! Online AP classes can boost your GPA. Although they are outside a traditional classroom setting, online AP courses are real classes for high school credit, and your grade will affect your GPA. eAchieve Academy’s online AP classes are accredited by the College Board and taught by certified Wisconsin teachers with years of experience.

Your grade in any online AP class through eAchieve will count towards your high school GPA whether you are enrolled with us full-time or just taking one or two online classes as a part-time online student.

Calculate how much AP classes would boost your GPA with this GPA Calculator.

Does the AP exam affect GPA?

No, the AP exam does not impact your grade for the class or your cumulative GPA. Only your final grade in the AP class will affect your GPA. However, if you do well enough on the AP exam you may be awarded a class credit for the corresponding intro-level class in college. Colleges have differing standards for what they consider a passing score on the AP exam. At most schools, a 4 will qualify you for a college academic credit, although some schools only require a 3 and elite level schools may require a 5.

Do Pre-AP classes boost GPA?

No, Pre-AP classes won’t help your GPA because they are not weighted in the way AP classes are (i.e. a “B” in a Pre-AP class doesn’t count as an “A”).

Pre-AP classes are intended to prepare high school students to take AP classes. They’re usually taken by high school freshman, although some Pre-AP classes are for sophomores, too.

AP Classes and Weighting in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, the weighting of AP courses is left to individual school districts. Some school districts weight AP courses more heavily than others, and some do not weight them at all. It is important for students in Wisconsin to check with their school district to find out their specific policy on weighting AP courses.

In general, taking AP courses in Wisconsin can be beneficial for college admissions and earning college credit. Many colleges and universities in Wisconsin offer credit for AP courses, but each institution sets its own policy on what scores are required for credit. Some colleges require a score of 4 or 5 on the AP exam to earn college credit, while others may accept a score of 3. It is important to check with the individual college or university for their specific policy.

In addition to AP courses, Wisconsin also offers Youth Options, a program that allows high school juniors and seniors to take courses at a college or university for both high school and college credit. The courses taken through Youth Options are not weighted, but they do count towards a student’s high school graduation requirements.

Wisconsin high school students are eligible for FREE online AP classes

Students in any Wisconsin public school district have the option of enrolling at eAchieve Academy. You can even stay at your current school and take advantage of our free online AP courses to boost your GPA.