What is Advanced Placement and why is it important?


You might have heard the words Advanced Placement float around in your friend groups or high school discussion groups quite a lot and might be wondering what they mean or how it could apply to you or your ward.

More and more applicants are taking AP tests every year with 1.24 million students in the class of 2018 applying for over 4.22 million tests in public high schools all over the nation. With the number of test-takers increasing each year you can infer the amount of importance the test may hold. Source: FL DOE

What Is the AP program?

AP or Advanced Placement is a program in the United States and Canada created by the College Board that offers college level curricula and examinations to high school students. The curriculum for each subject is created for the College Board by a panel of experts and college-level educators in the respective field of study.

For a high school course to have the designation, the course must be audited by the College Board to ascertain whether it satisfies the AP curriculum. If said course is accepted, the school will be allowed use the AP designation and the course will be publicly listed on the AP Course Ledger. Source: Wikipedia

What can attending an AP Course do for you?

Almost all colleges ask for AP scores as a part of the admission process, it is also used by colleges as a means for college credit or advanced placement. However, sometimes schools only award course credits if you score four or five on a test of five.

The most sought after advantage of attending AP Classes and writing AP exams is the upper hand you have when joining college. Having a background in the respective subject means getting admissions into a college in that course is now several times easier.

How do you get into an AP course?

In most institutions, you might just have to register to take the class. However, in some schools, you require a teacher’s recommendation or a minimum grade(typically B), to enter. However, most of the time, you can only take these courses in a College Board affiliated school.

With 38 different courses it won’t be hard for you to find a course which fascinates you. Some courses require preliminary coursework before they can be taken, while others have no such requirements.

When entering into an AP course keep in mind the textbooks and other important peripherals that you might have to keep in hand when joining.

What is the Advance Placement Exam?

The advanced placement exam is the test which will give you the credits for completing the course if you have scored the required marks.

AP Exams are scheduled every year in May and are administered at many high schools and exam centers. These exams are created and scored by AP teachers and college professors.

How is the test formatted?

The Advanced placement test is conducted very differently for each of the different subjects. However, they all are 2-3 hours and their first sections are Multiple choices with 4 – 5 different solutions.

The second part of the paper consists of free-response questions that could be given in written, verbal or equation form.

This is generally answered in pen on the free-response exam booklet.

With the advanced placement exams being quite tough and most institutions requiring an A to give you any credits at all, AP courses are generally considered to be rather taxing on students as a whole.

This is why many students rely on external agencies or personalized test preparation apart from self-study and school guided study to prepare for this exam.

With only 23.5% of the graduating class scoring 3 or above in at least one exam, you might understand why it is considered to be so hard.

However, over the past 10 years, the number of students scoring above a 3 on the AP test has grown nationally by 8.2 %. This is an indicator of progressing times and advancement in education.

Choosing to take the Advanced placement test at this age will benefit you in finding a College, opportunities, and learning about the field of your liking.