I am considering going to De Anza College (California community college) and trying to transfer/TAG into a UC or similar college.
Is it worth it to, for example, use my APCS A test (got 5) or AP Calc BC (5) to exempt some of the entry-level courses that I need to transfer? Or is it more worth it to be conservative and maximize grades? Will colleges look down on students that have AP scores yet take a similar course in college? How would this affect my eligibility to TAG into the various UCs with the program?
Note: I have finalized my choice to enroll in a cs program if I were to attempt a transfer.

Other AP scores that I currently consider using:
AP Chinese (will take)
AP Chem (4)
AP Physics C (will take)

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    Why be bored? You will get the opportunity to take more advanced courses if you skip redoing what you already know.
    – Buffy
    Apr 27, 2021 at 0:12
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    I don't think that this is a good place to ask this question. I think that you are much better off asking an advisor at De Anza College, as well as faculty in the relevant areas. Personally, I think that AP classes (at least, AP Calc and AP Stats) are pretty close to worthless, and would advise students to take the college versions of those classes, but this is going to depend on a lot of variables. If your goal is just to "get your ticket punched", then you probably should do everything you can to get those placements. Apr 27, 2021 at 0:14

1 Answer 1


You should maximize learning and not grades. If you already took an AP course and actually learned the content, don't take a course that is the same as the AP course unless you are required to do so.

Repeating courses for an 'easy A' will waste lots of your time and potentially your money too. And there's no guarantee the course won't turn out to be much harder than you expect.

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    Years ago, I had a physics major take Calc I from me during his last semester before graduation. He had used AP credits to avoid taking it as a freshman, but wanted an easy A. Unfortunately, my version of Calc I is a lot more rigorous than what AP offers. He squeaked out a C. (Best comment from the course: as I was explaining how to compute $d/dx (x^3)$ from the definition of the derivative, he said "But there's a shortcut! Why don't you just write $3x^2$?!). I don't think that it is safe to assume that someone who has taken AP Calculus actually learned the content at a college level. Apr 27, 2021 at 0:43
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    To be clear, I am not suggesting that a student take a college course that they can get out of via AP credits (expediency may outweigh the desire for content mastery; the courses may not be terribly relevant to the student; etc---and I would strongly advise against taking such a course for an "easy A"). I just want to push back a little against the idea that AP classes are the equivalent of college courses and that there is nothing to be gained by "retaking" such a course. Apr 27, 2021 at 0:50
  • Agree. AP may or may not be the same as the college course with a similar title. Apr 27, 2021 at 3:28

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