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Is AP Seminar Hard? Is AP Seminar Worth Taking?

3 min readโ€ขnovember 18, 2020

@user51456809

Brandon Wu


Intro & Expectations

What's poppin? ๐ŸŽˆ๐Ÿ“Œ You've signed up for Seminar, one of the newest AP courses that serves as the first part of the two-part AP Capstone program. After passing AP Seminar and AP Research, in addition to four other AP exams, you'll earn the Capstone diploma!
This course is like no other AP class you've taken before; it is interdisciplinary and allows you to explore skills that are crucial for your success after graduation: research and argumentation.

AP Seminar Overview

Essentially, in Seminar:
  • You read ๐Ÿ“š
  • You brainstorm ideas ๐Ÿง 
  • You argue a thesis โœ๐Ÿผ
Of course, that is a VERY simplified version of what you will be doing in AP Seminar.
We will be explaining the nuts and bolts of what AP Seminar is throughout this guide, but you may be wondering: is AP Seminar hard, and is it worth taking?

Is AP Seminar Hard?

This is likely the first question every student thinks whenever they find AP Seminar on their course registration. Let's look at it first from a quantitative perspective.

Score Distribution

Year54321
20206.4%14.5%59.7%17.2%2.3%
20196.8%14.6%59.3%17.0%2.3%
20187.9%16.7%57.6%15.4%2.4%
Generally speaking, around 81% of students pass the AP Seminar exam.
Note: 2020's scores excluded the individual and team multimedia presentations from their calculations.

Workload

To be successful in AP Seminar, you have to stay organized. Different teachers choose different ways to teach this test, so there's no way to generalize the overall workload.
However, the point of the class is not to learn content and show knowledge of that content but to learn skills.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-NJpPsxKzjE06.png?alt=media&token=84152dd6-523a-430f-8fa8-7506dd4c853e

Just like the bookcase offers books of multiple lengths and genres, AP Seminar is very versatile and teaches you multiple skills! Image Courtesy of Pixabay

You will learn how to analyze and dig through a variety of different sources to pull out the main ideas, arguments, and evidence to support your argument.
The class may feel uncomfortable at first. If you like strictly right and wrong answers, you may struggle initially. However, as the course develops, those skills that you struggled with will become second nature.

Great Advice from Past Students

Here are some words of wisdom from some past AP Seminar students about the course!
"AP Seminar is not necessarily hard, but you need to be thoughtful and intentional with the work you do. You canโ€™t just BS your essays and expect a high score. It takes time to craft a thoughtful and well-developed essay." โ€”Yeidi Yuja ๐Ÿค”
"AP Seminar is not hard if you stay on top of your work. If you fall behind, youโ€™re going to be cramming, which doesnโ€™t show your best work."โ€”Aly Moosa ๐Ÿ‘‘

Is AP Seminar Worth Taking?

The answer: absolutely! One of the best benefits of AP Capstone is gaining either the AP Seminar and Research Certificate ๐Ÿ“œ (passing both classes) or AP Capstone Diploma ๐ŸŽ“ (passing both classes and 4 other AP exams). You can show this off to colleges and boost your college application!
There are several benefits you get out of AP Seminar:
  1. Learning to synthesize sources and construct arguments (useful in other classes like the Histories and Lang/Lit).
  2. Becoming a better reader, writer, and presenter, which will help you in the workforce or college.
  3. Access to great scholarship opportunities (for instance, a tuition waiver of up to 90% for four years at Bard College Berlin).
But don't just take it from meโ€”let's hear it from some other AP Seminar students:
"YES! However, I'd be more hesitant taking it as a junior or senior because you won't be able to use the AP Capstone Diploma on college apps, but either way, it's a FANTASTIC class that you learn a ton in." โ€”Dylan Black ๐Ÿ’ป
"Absolutely! Not only did it help improve my public speaking/presenting skills, but it also taught me how to โ€œresearchโ€ and create a logical argument, building life and academic skills for the future." โ€”Aly Moosa ๐Ÿ—๏ธ

Wrap Up

So, is AP Seminar worth your time? Should you make room on your schedule for it? Yes! This class will give you the skills to succeed in other AP classes, college, and in the real world. You'll be glad you didn't cap on Capstone ๐Ÿ˜‰.

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