Advanced Placement program (AP)

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What does AP stand for, and what is the point?

The Advanced Placement program was born in the 1950s and is run by the College Board, the huge education nonprofit corporation that also administers the SAT. AP classes are college-level courses, but they’re taught in high school. The goal is to expose students to the rigorous standards they will face in college, to increase college preparedness and to challenge students beyond regular and often beyond honors courses.

There are now almost 40 AP courses offered, though not every school offers every course. The College Board provides schools the curriculum for these classes and administers AP tests to students each May. If a student scores a 3, 4, or 5 out of 5 on a test, he or she is eligible to receive college credit for that class —and possibly be required to take fewer classes in order to graduate from college.

Structure

The first part of the exam usually consists of multiple-choice questions. A student is supposed to choose the best of four or five answer choices. Answers must be marked on your AP answer sheet (bubble sheet). The total exam score on the multiple-choice section is based only on the number of questions answered correctly. There is no negative marking for the incorrect or un-attempted question.

The second part of the exam usually consists of re-response questions that require the student to generate his/her own responses. Depending on the exam, responses could be in the form of an essay, a solution to a problem, a spoken response, and more. In most cases, students will be writing their response in pen in the free-response exam booklet.

The multiple-choice component of the exam is scored by computer, while the free response and essay portions are scored by trained Readers at the AP Reading each June. The scores on various components are weighted and combined into a raw Composite Score.

Scoring

This score will be used by colleges and universities to determine if they will grant you credit for what you’ve already learned, or allow you to skip the equivalent course once you get to college (this is known as advanced placement).

Your score is a weighted combination of your scores on the multiple-choice section and on the free-response section. The final score is reported on a 5-point scale as follows:

5 = extremely well qualified

4 = well qualified

3 = qualified

2 = possibly qualified

1 = no recommendation

“Qualified” means that you have proven yourself capable of doing the work of an introductory-level course in a particular subject at college. Many colleges and universities grant credit and placement for scores of 3, 4 or 5.

Future use

Some colleges use AP test scores to exempt students from introductory coursework, others use them to place students in higher designated courses, and some do both. Each college’s policy is different, but most require a minimum score of 3 or 4 to receive college credit.

In addition, completing AP courses help students qualify for various types of scholarships. According to the College Board, 31 percent of colleges and universities look at AP experience when making scholarship decisions.

Middle school and junior high school students who plan ahead and take algebra, a foreign language and computer courses by the eighth grade are better prepared for Advanced Placement and Tech-Prep courses in high school. Taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

(The AP designation may only be applied to courses offered at or above the ninth-grade level that have received authorization through the annual AP Course Audit process. The AP label cannot be affixed to courses and transcripts earlier than ninth grade. There is one exception to this policy: AP world language and culture courses. These courses focus on linguistic proficiency and cultural competency, so in rare situations, these courses can be successfully offered earlier than ninth grade among students who can already speak, read, and write the language with fluency. In summary, the AP Course Audit will only renew or authorize courses that are offered exclusively in grades 9–12, with the exception of AP world language and culture courses.)

Difficulty level

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) is a rigorous academic program that gives motivated students the opportunity to pursue university-level studies while still in secondary/high school. Available in over 20 subjects, taking AP Exams can help students to stand out in the college admissions process, earn college credit, and build skills that are essential for success in college and beyond.

Indian students thinking of heading to the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Singapore or other countries for undergraduate studies can benefit immensely from taking AP courses and exams. Established in the 1950’s, AP has helped students achieve their dream of university study around the world for more than 60 years. In 2017, more than 2.2 million students took over 4.5 million AP Exams worldwide and sent scores to over 3,000 universities in more than 60 countries.

Which are the most popular AP courses?

Just knowing which AP exams exist won’t help so we have got a list of courses that have been the most popular courses:

(Source: College Board)

S.No.   Course Number of Students who wrote this exam in 2016

1          English Language       547,575

2          United States History 489,291

3          English Literature       405,446

4          Calculus AB    308,215

5          Government & Politics

The United States  296,108

6          Psychology      293,350

7          World History 285,351

8          Biology           238,080

9          Statistics          206,563

10        Human Geography      184,663

What are the benefits for an Indian student taking an AP exam?

There are many benefits for an Indian student taking AP Courses and Exams.

  • Taking AP courses helps students stand out in the college admissions process, by demonstrating to admission officers that they have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them. Universities around the world look favorably upon students who take AP courses and exams because performance in AP demonstrates a student’s commitment and ability to succeed at university-level studies.
  • AP Exams enable students to earn college credit or advanced placement before they even start college, which can enable them to graduate early (students can sometimes save as much as a year at college), save tuition, pursue a double major, move into upper-level courses sooner, gain time to travel abroad, or complete an internship. Over 90 percent of universities across the U.S. offer credit, advanced placement or both, on the basis of successful AP Exam scores. Additionally, all leading universities in Canada and UK recognize AP for admission, credit or placement, as do many European universities. Credit policies differ by the college, so students should understand the policies of the colleges they are interested in. To view credit policies for US colleges, students can visit www.collegeboard.org/apcreditpolicy and to check AP policies at universities outside the US, visit www.collegeboard.org/apintl.
  • The AP Program recognizes high school students who have demonstrated outstanding college-level achievement through AP courses and exams, with the AP Scholar Awards (non-monetary). Indian students also have the opportunity to earn the Advanced Placement International Diploma (APID), by achieving a score of 3 or higher in 5 or more AP Exams. Succeeding in AP Exams can also help students earn academic scholarships and awards from colleges and universities directly.
  • AP can help a student illustrate his or her competence in a particular field of study and can also give students an opportunity to study a subject that they are interested in, but not able to study at their school. Some students take AP Exams to complete their General Education requirements at the university.
  • AP courses and exams help students develop the critical thinking, reasoning, problem solving and communication skills that are essential for success in college and beyond. This is especially important in the Indian context, as the studying methodology in schools following the Indian curriculum, can sometimes be very different to what has practiced abroad.
  • Universities across the world recognize the AP Program, and AP Exams are taken by students in more than 120 countries. A score of 5 in an AP Exam is interpreted the same way, whether that student is from Nairobi, New Delhi or New York. Hence, AP Exams also allow Indian students to provide a score from a standardized and globally recognized academic program in their college applications.

Who creates the content for AP and what subjects are exams available in?

AP courses and exams, available in India in 23 different subjects across Sciences, Mathematics, Social Science, Languages, and Art, are developed by committees of American and international university professors who work alongside expert high school teachers. AP committee members teach at top colleges and universities such as Columbia University, Harvard and The University of Pennsylvania.

When can students take AP Exams and what is the exam format?

AP is flexible, allowing students to take as many or as few exams as they wish to, in any given year. Students usually take AP Exams in Grade 11 or 12 or both, but some take them earlier, in Grade 9 or 10. Some students also choose to take AP Exams in a gap year after completing high school, before they go to college. AP courses are taught in several schools in India, but students also have the option to self-study and take AP Exams. The exams, that take place in May every year, have a combination of multiple choice and free-response questions, and are between 90-200 minutes in length, depending on the subject.

How can students register for AP Exams in India and what is the cost?

The 2018 AP Exams will be held from May 7-18, and the registrations for the exams are open from February 14 – March 21, 2018. Students will be able to take exams at any of the 16 test centers spread across India. All information related to the Registration Process is available on www.ap-india.org. AP Exams are priced at Rs. 9,500 per exam (Rs. 10,000 in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi).

The College Board also offers students the option to take AP Exams during the ‘Late Testing’ period, which will be held from May 23-25, 2018. If students cannot take AP Exams during the Regular Testing period due to unavoidable circumstances, such as a clash with other national exams, extreme illness, etc., they can register for AP Exams during Late Testing.

Who administers AP Exams in India?

A few schools, along with authorized AP test centers (http://ap-india.org/) are able to administer AP Exams in India. Check with your school’s AP Coordinator to confirm if you can register for and take exams at your school. If your school does not offer a particular AP Exam you wish to take, or if your school opts to not administer any AP Exams, you may register with one of the other test centers. Note that AP Exam fees and registration procedures may vary across test centers. Refund, late testing, and registration policies may also vary for AP authorized test centers

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