To AP or not to AP?…that is the question

Some of our most frequently asked questions have to do with Baylor’s policies for credit by examination: what can I get credit for with an AP score of 3/4/5?  What about IB or CLEP?  Does Baylor accept dual enrollment credit?  For specific information on course credit policies, check out the score requirements here or the transfer credit course equivalency tool here.  If you are wondering, “Should I retake [insert class in question here] even if I have credit?” keep reading for the advice of Dr. McGrath and the perspective of current students!

Quick guide to some introductory Baylor courses in chemistry, biology, and physics:

  • CHE 1100/CHE 1300: Introductory Chemistry (and its corequisite lab) for non-majors.  This course does not meet any requirements for chemistry or biochemistry majors.
  • CHE 1101/CHE 1102: General Chemistry Laboratory I and II.  These labs are usually taken freshman year.
  • CHE 1301/CHE 1302: Basic Principles of Modern Chemistry I and II.  Often referred to as “Gen Chem” or “Chem 1 and Chem 2,” these classes are the prerequisites to all other upper-level chemistry courses here at Baylor.
  • BIO 1401: Current Issues in Human Biology.  This class is also for non-science majors and does not count towards a biochemistry or biology degree.
  • BIO 1105/BIO 1106: Modern Concepts of Bioscience Laboratory (two semesters).  These labs accompany both semesters of introductory biology for science majors.
  • BIO 1305/BIO 1306: Modern Concepts of Bioscience (both semesters) or Bio 1 and 2.  Biochemistry and biology majors (as well as all premeds) usually take both classes during freshman year.
  • PHY 1405: General Physics for B.A. Students.  This course is designed for non-science majors and does not count for either biology, biochemistry, or chemistry majors.
  • PHY 1408/PHY 1409: General Physics for Natural and Behavioral Sciences I and II.  These physics courses are algebra-based and fulfill the requirements for some biology, psychology, and neuroscience degree plans.
  • PHY 1420/PHY 1430: General Physics I and II.  However, chemistry and biochemistry majors need both semesters of calculus-based physics.


Our advice for science courses:

In general, we recommend that you retake your freshman level chemistry (and biology, if applicable) courses, even if you have already received credit by examination.  College classes are much faster than high school courses, and professors require you to learn more material faster and much more in depth than your high school teachers.  In addition, the transition from high school to college is more than just academic, and it can be helpful to have some familiar content while you navigate all the changes.  If you are looking for a challenge, maybe take the Honors sections for some of these introductory science classes for a smaller class size and more difficult material (Honors Gen Chem 1 and 2 with Dr. McGrath is a true bonding experience).  For our premed/prehealth students, be aware that some medical schools do not accept AP credit for key subjects such as biology and chemistry, so do some research.  Do not worry; you will not be “behind” if you choose to start with CHE 1301 and BIO 1405.  That is the standard degree plan, and you will have plenty of time to complete all the requirements.  If anything, use your AP (or other) credit to exempt the labs and still retake the lectures for some quality instruction.

However, if you would still like to use your credit, I would strongly encourage you to still retake CHE 1302 if anything at all.  Most of CHE 1302 is about equilibrium and goes in much greater depth than the AP exam.  CHE 2416 (Laboratory Measurements and Techniques, more often abbreviated “achem” for analytical chemistry) is a required class for all chemistry and biochemistry majors, and many students find the section on chemical equilibrium to be the most challenging.  I would NOT recommend beginning your first semester with CHE 2416 and CHE 3331 (Organic Chemistry I).  You may be in a rush to start tackling your upper-level chemistry classes, but we are here to tell you to slow down.  There is still so much to learn, and Baylor professors are amazing–for all chemistry classes, not just upper-division courses.  You will thank us later.


On credit for classes in other fields:

For classes in other fields, use your discretion, and explore your interests.  Part of your Baylor education in the College of Arts and Sciences is the core curriculum.  Feel free to use your hard-earned course credit to meet those general education requirements because that will give you more time to take other classes that simply interest you or add a minor in another field.


College is not just about checking boxes off your degree plans, but about learning and exploring your academic passions.  Baylor faculty are phenomenal, and instead of trying to “skip” classes, approach your courses not as requirements you have to meet but opportunities you have to learn from your professors and your classmates.  You will always be surprised if you keep an open mind.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact us, or leave a comment below!




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