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Extra Credit

Build Your Own Summer School with These Five AP Playlists

Want to keep learning over the dog days of summer? Start here.

The school year is nearly over, and the last thing anyone wants to do is go into the summer thinking about more classes. But after these last few months of online learning and trying out newly created digital education resources, there are more ways than ever to keep learning over the summer.

Since March, daily Online AP® Classes and Review Sessions on YouTube have been shared on YouTube to help AP students complete their coursework and prepare for their exams. But those videos are also a great way for any student of any age to extend their learning—and to audit a class a student might be interested in before committing themselves to signing up for it.

So take a break—you’ve really, really earned it! But when you start to think about how best to get more from your increased amount of indoor time this summer, these five AP courses and playlists are a great place to start.

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AP Computer Science Principles

Knowing how to write and read code is important to being successful in the 21st century workforce, but there’s more to computer science and engineering. A lot more. AP Computer Science Principles uses real-world issues and opportunities to lay that programming groundwork and build on it with strategies for thinking creatively, conceptually, and qualitatively about things like the internet, robotics, and data science. Coding and computer engineering is endlessly fascinating—but it’s also not for everyone. The AP CSP playlist on YouTube is a great way to get a sense of the course and see whether it connects with you.

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AP Human Geography

This might be a bit of a curveball on a list like this, but it feels increasingly relevant in our era of mass migration. More people than ever are leaving their homes (because of war, terrorism, famine, economic distress, and resource shortages), and it’s increasingly important to understand why people move and what it means for our communities, environment, and species. Using data, infographics, and other contextual resources, AP Human Geography helps make sense of our world and how people move through it—important knowledge as people begin considering issues like urban density and public space, postpandemic.

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AP 2-D Art and Design

When I was in high school, I put off taking my Studio Art requirement until 12th grade. I didn’t take it seriously, and I figured it would be a blow-off class to help me get through senior year. Boy, was I wrong. (Sorry, Mr. Aiken.) Not only was it challenging, creatively and educationally, it was so fulfilling that I wished I had taken it three years earlier and given myself the chance to develop creatively—and I wished I knew just what the class involved. In other words, I wished I had something like this AP 2-D Art and Design playlist to show me that a high school art class isn’t just about drawing and firing mediocre clay pots in a kiln—and that making art involves a lot more than knowing how to hold a paintbrush.

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AP Capstone

The AP Capstone™ course is a diploma program with two year-long courses—AP Seminar, then AP Research—that develop research, analysis, evidence-gathering, and writing skills, among others. It's an intense program, which is why the YouTube videos associated with the two courses are incredibly valuable. Students can watch them to see if they're up for the kind of work AP Capstone requires. And even if they find they're not, the 21 clips in the playlists (11 for AP Seminar and 10 for AP Research) offer valuable tools and insights that anyone can apply to their schooling. And with the videos running between 16–37 minutes, the commitment-reward ratio is high.

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AP Master Class

Not an AP course, per se, but more of a guest-lecture series that touches on numerous courses and involves experts, celebrities, and professionals ranging from former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen (AP Macroeconomics), Tony- and Pulitzer Prize–winning Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda (AP U.S. History), veteran journalist John Quiñones (AP Spanish Language), founder of the data and polling site FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver (AP Statistics), MIT engineer and Emmy-nominated host of Xploration Station Emily Calandrelli (AP Physics 2) and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (AP U.S. History), among many others. These Master Classes are intimate conversations, and none of the videos run longer than 45 minutes. You'll learn a lot about the speakers and how they got where they are, and pick up some good tips and advice for learning and studying, even if you're not an AP student. Check out the Master Class playlist for all the classes.