What is AP?
The Advanced Placement program, also known as AP, is administered by The College Board (the same organization responsible for the SAT and PSAT exams). It allows students to participate in a college-level course while still in high school. Secondary schools and colleges cooperate in the AP program to give students the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of and possibly earn college credit for specific college-level courses by taking the AP exam in May.
Because colleges and universities demand that AP courses offer the equivalent curricula as first-year college courses, all high school AP instructors must submit their course syllabi for an audit to the College Board, which reviews and determines whether to certify the course as AP-level. Certified courses and the high schools that offer them are published annually for college and university admissions boards.
What are the advantages of taking AP?
The main advantage of taking an AP course is better preparation for college. It has been shown that students:
- master in-depth content at the college level more easily after completing AP courses in high school
- acquire sophisticated academic skills and increased self-confidence in preparation for college.
Students who take and pass AP exams may receive college credit while still in high school. Check with the college you are interested in to see if they accept AP exams (and their minimum scores) for credits.
What is the typical AP student profile?
AP students come from diverse backgrounds and share a commitment to academic achievement and a love of learning. The AP Program is committed to encouraging participation in AP classes by a variety of students.
Successful AP students:
- effectively and efficiently organize their time
- balance homework with outside activities and commitments without getting behind
- motivate and discipline themselves
- are willing to research outside of class for additional information.
What background is needed to succeed?
The keys to success are motivation, self-discipline, and academic preparation.
The content of AP courses is more sophisticated than that in typical high school courses. Students should have practice in analyzing content, drawing comparisons, and reasoning through problems. They must be able to read perceptively and independently. Additionally, students need to have a solid foundation in clearly organized, mechanically sound essay writing.
Students who are not skilled in these areas must be even more highly motivated to make up deficiencies at the same time they are taking more rigorous courses. The earlier students prepare for AP or college courses by taking the most rigorous classes available, the more likely will be their success.
How does AP compare with International Baccalaureate (IB)?
AP and IB courses feature college-level courses and require students to prepare for exams in subject areas across curriculum. Both AP exams and IB higher-level examinations are recognized for college credit. AP exams are scored in the US; IB exams are often scored overseas.
In both the AP and IB programs, students may opt to pursue one or more subjects/classes. AP and IB classes both feature college-level curriculum. Universities typically offer college credit for certain scores on AP exams and IB higher level (two-year) exams.
The admissions offices at highly-selective school indicate that they are looking for students who challenge themselves by taking the most rigorous academic program available to them at their school.
Unquestionably, both the AP and the IB programs are excellent in preparing students for success in any college or university.
How can I assist my student with doing well in AP?
Your support is important. Preparation for AP courses should begin early. You can encourage your student’s academic pursuits, help her or him schedule time wisely, encourage and require strong study skills, set up good study atmosphere, and participate in college and AP planning with your student and the counselor, or teacher.
What do colleges think of the AP program?
Taking AP courses can improve a student’s chance of getting accepted to a competitive college. Colleges and universities recognize that applicants with AP experience are much better-prepared for the demands of college courses. Admissions officers are well aware of the difficulty of AP courses and exams. In addition, earning enough qualifying AP grades on exams can gain a student sophomore standing at many colleges.