Advanced Placement classes represent challenging courses that offer high school students the opportunity to gain college credits. Students who take several AP classes may graduate college early, and taking a rigorous course load can make you more attractive to college recruiters. Every school establishes its own eligibility requirements, but you'll generally need to have a reasonably good academic record in the subject matter for which you're taking an AP class.

Academic History

AP classes are usually reserved for students who have good academic records. Some schools establish minimum grade-point averages for students interested in AP classes, while others require minimum test scores in the subject for which a student wants to take an AP class. Students who have taken honors classes often end up taking AP classes, and some schools require that students who have taken remedial classes show baseline knowledge before they can sign up for an AP class. This is because AP classes are challenging, and a student who does poorly in such a class can tank her GPA.

Placement Exams

Some schools administer placement exams to determine which classes are appropriate for students and may automatically track a student into an AP class based upon his test scores. The PSAT, a test some students take in their sophomore or junior year of high school, can provide administrators with helpful information about which AP classes a student might enjoy. Students may also have to request specific AP classes and provide evidence that they're prepared for the rigors of AP work.

Behavior and Maturity

Most schools only allow students to take AP classes in their junior and senior years because the rigors of AP work require maturity. Schools may also look at a student's behavior. A student who has an excellent GPA but a history of being disruptive might not be allowed to take an AP class. Students who display dedication and hard work, however, might be encouraged to enroll in AP courses.

Taking the Test

The AP test can get you college credit for your AP courses. To be eligible for the test, you'll need to complete an AP class. Some schools require that students take the AP test as part of their AP course. At St. Pius X Catholic High School, for example, students take AP tests at the end of the semester during finals.