Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement: What You Need to Know

Advanced Placement (AP) is a program developed by the College Board that allows high school students to take college-level courses. 

AP classes are tough and cover college-level material. When students take these classes, they learn what they need to do well in college and beyond.

The AP program offers 38 courses in various subjects, including English, math, social studies, science, and world languages. Each course is designed to prepare students for the corresponding AP exam, administered once a year in May.

When students take AP courses and score 3 or higher on the AP exam, they can get college credits and skip similar college classes to jump into more advanced studies.

The AP program is an excellent way for students to stand out in college admissions. Colleges and universities favor students who have taken AP courses because it shows they are willing to challenge themselves and have the confidence to tackle college-level work.

AP Courses

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are college-level classes for high school students. These courses are designed to provide students with an opportunity to tackle college-level work while still in high school. 

AP courses cover many subjects, including physics, biology, English, history, arts, math, computer science, sciences, chemistry, and world languages and cultures.

Course Subjects

AP courses cover various subjects such as social science, world languages and cultures, and the arts.

Some popular AP courses include Comparative Government and Politics, European History, Psychology, Human Geography, U.S. Government and Politics, World History, Calculus, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Italian Language and Culture.

Course Structure

AP courses aim to offer students a college-level education. They are divided into units, with students having assignments, readings, and exams to complete during the course.

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These courses are intentionally demanding, fostering critical thinking and academic writing abilities.

Enrollment Process

To enroll in an AP course, students must speak with their school counselor or AP coordinator. They will need to sign up for the course and may need to complete an application process.

There is a fee associated with taking AP exams, and students are responsible for covering the cost of the exam.

Course Benefits

The benefits of taking AP courses are numerous. Students who take AP courses have the opportunity to earn college credit and placement, which can save them time and money in the long run. 

AP courses also provide students with a chance to challenge themselves and develop critical thinking and scholarly writing skills. 

Moreover, enrolling in AP classes can enhance their competitiveness in college and university admissions.

Resources for Success

To succeed in AP courses, students should take advantage of the available resources. AP Central is an online resource that provides students with practice exams, course descriptions, and other helpful information.

Additionally, students should work closely with their AP teachers and consider joining extracurricular activities related to their AP courses.

AP Exams

Exam Overview

The College Board creates AP Exams as standardized tests to evaluate the knowledge and skills of high school students across a range of subjects.

These exams are typically taken in May at designated test centers across the United States and other countries. 

The exams cover a range of topics and are designed to be challenging, with multiple-choice questions and free-response questions.

Scoring and Results

The AP Exam scores go from 1 to 5, with 5 as the top score. If you do well, colleges and universities might give you credit for your classes.

The College Board releases AP Exam scores in early July, and students can access them online. Students can also send their scores to colleges and universities for free during a designated time frame.

Exam Fees

The cost of each AP Exam varies depending on the subject and the location of the test center.

In the United States, the fee for each exam is $95, but fee reductions may be available for students with financial needs. Additionally, students who cancel or do not take their exams may be charged a fee.

AP and College Credit

AP courses are created to offer high school students the opportunity to engage in college-level classes across various subjects.

Students who complete AP courses and pass the corresponding exams may be eligible to receive college credit, advanced placement, or both. This section will discuss the relationship between AP and college credit.

College Credit

Many U.S. colleges and universities offer college credit to students who have taken AP courses and passed the corresponding exams.

This credit can be used to fulfill degree requirements and may allow students to graduate early or pursue additional coursework.

However, each college has its policy regarding AP credit, and students should research the policies of the colleges they are interested in attending.

AP and U.S. Colleges

U.S. colleges and universities widely recognize AP courses and exams, and many institutions use AP scores in admission decisions.

However, the weight given to AP scores varies from school to school. Some colleges may require a certain number of AP courses for admission, while others may not consider AP scores at all.

AP and Majors

AP courses can particularly benefit students majoring in a specific subject area.

Many colleges offer AP credit in mathematics, science, and foreign languages, which can be especially helpful for students pursuing degrees in these fields.

However, students should be aware that some majors may have specific requirements for AP credit, and they should research the policies of the schools and departments they plan to apply to.

Special AP Programs

Advanced Placement (AP) offers various programs that go beyond the traditional AP courses. These special programs offer students unique opportunities to gain college-level knowledge and skills. Here are some of the special AP programs:

AP Research

In AP Research, students spend a year focusing on a topic they love. They learn to research, think critically, solve problems, and communicate effectively.

At the end of the course, students submit a research paper and give an oral presentation. AP Research is an excellent way for students to prepare for college-level research and to showcase their skills to colleges and universities.

AP Seminar

AP Seminar is a two-semester course that develops students’ research, collaboration, and presentation skills. Students learn to analyze and evaluate sources, work in teams, and communicate effectively.

They also explore real-world issues and develop solutions to complex problems. At the end of the course, students complete a team project and an individual research-based essay.

AP Seminar is an excellent way for students to prepare for college-level coursework and to develop skills that are essential for success in college and beyond.

AP Coordinators

AP Coordinators are responsible for managing the AP program at their school. They work closely with teachers, students, and parents to ensure the program runs smoothly.

AP Coordinators help students register for AP exams, order materials, and administer the exams. They also provide support and resources to teachers who are teaching AP courses.

AP Coordinators are vital in ensuring students have access to high-quality AP programs and are prepared for college-level coursework.

Additional Benefits of AP

Advanced Placement (AP) courses offer various benefits to high school students. In addition to earning college credit, taking AP courses can help students develop valuable skills and prepare for college and beyond.

Time Management

AP courses require students to manage their time effectively. The courses are more rigorous and demanding than regular high school courses, so students need to learn how to balance their workload and prioritize their tasks. This skill is essential for success in college and the workforce.

Internship Opportunities

Taking AP courses can increase a student’s chances of landing an internship. Many employers look for candidates with a solid academic record, and AP courses demonstrate a student’s commitment to academic excellence. 

Additionally, AP courses can equip students with the essential knowledge and abilities to succeed in their selected career paths.

Introduction to College-Level Courses

AP courses provide students with an introduction to college-level courses. The courses are designed to be challenging and to mimic the rigor of college courses. 

This gives students a taste of what to expect in college and can help them prepare for the academic demands of higher education.

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