Deciding what classes to take

Picking classes for the next school year, also known as subject selection, can be very confusing because of all the different types of classes and unusual names they have. Choosing between so many options for classes and different levels of difficulty can be overwhelming so here is a basic breakdown of all the main types of classes:

Regular:

  • Usually the easiest choice
  • Does not raise weighted GPA
  • Amount of homework varies by school
  • These classes will likely bring down your weighted GPA if it is above a 4.0. Don’t know what GPA is? Check out our posts that explain it!

Honors:

  • A bit more rigorous than Regular classes
  • A bit faster paced than Regular classes
  • Raises weighted GPA
  • Amount of homework varies by school
  • Course material will delve deeper into topics of the class

Advanced Placement (AP):

  • AP classes are often the equivalent to an introductory college-level class in that specific subject area
  • Here is a list of all the official AP classes that are offered
  • Raises weighted GPA
  • Rigorous and entail a large workload
  • Move at a very fast pace
  • Learning will oftentimes be self-directed and require frequent independent studying
  • TIP: Take as many AP classes as you, personally, can handle. For example, you should not take an excessive amount of AP classes if in the end you cannot study enough to pass all the final exams.
  • Your school will probably require you to take the AP exam at the end of the year for each AP class you choose to take
  • Some schools pay for AP exams, however, you will want to check with your counselor to make sure your school will pay for your exams
  • You can take some AP courses through FLVS if they are not offered at your school and you still want to take it. ***However, this recommendation is for students who find themselves to be independent learners. ***FLVS will pay for your AP exams
  • AP Exam Score Range: 1-5

International Baccalaureate (IB)

  • Their rigor is divided into different levels
    • Standard Level (SL)
    • Higher Level (HL)
  • Here is a list of all the official IB classes that are offered
  • Raises weighted GPA
  • Unlike AP classes, which are taught through the American College Board, the IB curriculum is the same throughout the world and is offered in 140 nations worldwide
  • Usually for students in an IB Diploma program at their school (there will soon be a post explaining the IB Diploma program in more detail)
  • IB Exam Score Range:
    • 1-7 for Subjects
    • E-A for Theory of Knowledge (TOK) & Extended Essay (EE)

Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE)

  • Broken up into two categories:
    • AS – Advanced Subsidiary
    • A – Advanced
  • Here is a list of all the official AICE classes that are offered
  • Raises weighted GPA
  • Exams are broken up in to various sections that can vary from written examination to submission projects that you work on throughout the year (these sections depend on the class)
  • Usually for students in an AICE Diploma Program at their school (there will soon be a post explaining the AICE Diploma program in more detail)
  • Exam scores are determined by “Grade Thresholds” and range from A-E (each class has its own grading scale)

Dual Enrollment:

  • These are classes taken at a local college
    • Example: Miami-Dade College or Florida International University
    • Some high schools offer Dual Enrollment courses. Check with your school counselor to find out if your high school offers any dual enrollment courses so you don’t have to take it outside of normal school hours.
  • Your principal and guidance counselor must approve these courses
  • Has to be outside of school hours, often in the evening or night
  • Can take up to two per semester
  • To qualify to take these courses, you will have to take the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT). The exam will test you on math and reading comprehension skills. Here is the link to Free PERT practice. ***This does not apply if you have taken the SAT and can report a score
  • Here is a link to the list of approved MDC Dual Enrollment Courses and FIU Dual Enrollment Courses
  • Final grade will be based off tests and quizzes without much homework to boost your grade like in a high school class. Make sure you study and are prepared for tests!
  • For more information on how to register for the classes make sure to visit your counselor because there is some paperwork is required to register
  • Transportation to these classes will not be provided and must be arranged
  • TIP: If you plan on attending a college in Florida, take advantage of dual enrollment courses to earn credits. This will save you money in the long run because most colleges in Florida accept these credits.
  • TIP: If you want to raise your weighted GPA, take dual enrollment courses (especially during the summer when you have less to worry about).
  • ***In my experience, dual enrollment classes have been easier than my AP classes, but it’s different for everybody.
  • ***Middle School students can take Dual Enrollment Courses if they are taking any high school class.

FLORIDA VIRTUAL SCHOOL (FLVS):

  • Does not fall into a category because you can take any level class: Regular, Honors, or Advanced Placement (AP) using this online program
  • Can take up to two classes at a time
  • Great for taking classes that are not available in your school or to clear up space in your school schedule
  • If you take an AP course through FLVS, they will pay for your exam

Hopefully, this post helps you understand all the types of classes and their different levels of difficulty. We hope this makes subject selection easier for you all!

Meet the authors of this post!

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*The School Bell Blog is not associated with any of the programs mentioned. All information is subject to change based on updates by any programs mentioned. The School Bell Blog encourages students to consult with their counselors and do their own research to confirm the information stated above and choose the classes best suited for their needs.

Please email me with any questions or requests for posts: schoolbellblog@gmail.com

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