What is Advanced Placement?

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Advanced Placement, AP, What is Advanced Placement, Advanced Placement Courses



What is Advanced Placement?

The College Board, a non-profit organization with operations in the United States and Canada, established the Advanced Placement (AP) program as an educational initiative. It provides high school students with college-level coursework and examinations. The Advanced Placement (AP) program, initially established in 1955, is now accessible to a vast number of students globally prior to college. Its primary objective is to facilitate a smoother transition into university life by allowing students to enroll in college-level courses throughout their high school education. While AP does not serve as a replacement for high school graduation, it does grant a certificate of academic proficiency to students who partake in the program.Colleges and universities in over 60 countries acknowledge Advanced Placement, and students who achieve high scores on the AP tests can attend these institutions and have their courses credited. The Advanced Placement Curriculum is developed by a panel of subject matter experts and university-level educators for each course offered in the program. The same group of experts who created the program administers the examinations, and seasoned educators as well as academics from colleges and universities score the exams on a scale of 1 to 5. Authorized schools and testing institutions administer Advanced Placement tests.

The Advanced Placement curriculum is characterized by its rigorous academic requirements, and students who aspire to partake in the program must demonstrate a willingness to embrace the program's demanding nature. The Advanced Placement program requires specific prerequisites for its offered courses. Prior to enrolling in specific courses, students in the program are required to complete prerequisite courses that will serve as the foundation for the subsequent courses. The Advanced Placement (AP) education and examination program enhances students' prospects of admission to a university. Depending on the specific AP courses completed and the university of interest, the university may provide course exemptions or lessen the required course load. Conversely, the inclusion of a student's participation and completion of an Advanced Placement (AP) education and examination program, along with the inclusion of AP courses on official transcripts submitted during university applications, conveys the impression that the student is eager to learn, willing to undertake a rigorous study program, and possesses the desired academic abilities sought in university students.

The Advanced Placement program has the potential to elevate students' rankings in university applications and provide access to a range of academic scholarships and honors, contingent upon their achievement in the program. Those who attain a score of 3 or above in the examinations conducted as a component of the Advanced Placement program experience greater academic achievement during their university years and exhibit a higher percentage of graduation compared to those who do not partake in the program. The Advanced Placement (AP) education and examination program, initially established in the United States and subsequently globalized, has become a recognized symbol of academic merit for universities worldwide. These institutions hold highly regard for students who participate in the program and successfully complete the requirements. Numerous colleges all over the world accept the Advanced Placement program, and it is valid in more than 100 nations.

Advanced Placement (AP) Curriculum

AP Capstone Diploma Program: AP Seminar and AP Research

The AP Capstone Diploma Program is a two-year program centered around two Advanced Placement (AP) courses, namely AP Seminar and AP Research. Colleges all over the world recognize academic accolades that students who meet the requirements can earn. The AP Seminar course assesses students in the program based on their performance in both ongoing activities throughout the academic year and final exams. The activities conducted throughout the academic year comprise two assignments: a collaborative project and a solo project. The assignments encompass a collaborative project, an independent research report, and a collective multimedia presentation. The individual project, however, is created using several source papers accessible to students and comprises a written discourse, a multimedia presentation, and an oral defense.

The end-of-course exam comprises two sections: the initial section requires students to peruse a single source of material and respond to three inquiries pertaining to its topic. In the second segment, students are tasked with perusing four source texts, discerning the thematic correlation among them, and constructing their own arguments grounded in this correlation. This end-of-course test does not have a multiple-choice part. The student's ultimate grade is determined by combining the assignments given throughout the course and the final test. The grade is then presented using the same 5-point scale as other courses. The team project accounts for 20% of the overall score. Individual projects account for 35% of the overall score, while the end-of-course exam accounts for 45% of the overall mark. Students in the AP study course undergo assessment based on their academic papers, presentations, and oral defense of their study. The academic paper is assessed according to its content, organization, formatting, conclusions, and students' proficiency in appropriately referencing sources. The paper makes up 75% of the research grade, while the presentation and oral defense together make up 25%.

AP Art and Design Program: The AP Art and Design Program has three distinct courses: AP 2-D Art and Design, AP 3-D Art and Design, and AP Drawing.

Advanced Placement Courses

AP Capstone Diploma Program

  • AP Research
  • AP Seminar


  • AP 2-D Art and Design
  • AP 3-D Art and Design
  • AP Drawing
  • AP Art History
  • AP Music Theory


  • AP English Language and Composition
  • AP English Literature and Composition

History and Social Sciences

  • AP Comparative Government and Politics
  • AP European History
  • AP Human Geography
  • AP Macroeconomics
  • AP Microeconomics
  • AP Psychology
  • AP United States Government and Politics
  • AP United States History
  • AP World History: Modern

Math and Computer Science

  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP Calculus BC
  • AP Computer Science A
  • AP Computer Science Principles
  • AP Precalculus
  • AP Statistics


  • AP Biology
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based
  • AP Physics 2: Algebra-Based
  • AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
  • AP Physics C: Mechanics
  • AP Psychology

World Languages and Cultures

  • AP Chinese Language and Culture
  • AP French Language and Culture
  • AP German Language and Culture
  • AP Italian Language and Culture
  • AP Japanese Language and Culture
  • AP Latin
  • AP Spanish Language and Culture
  • AP Spanish Literature and Culture


The AP score reflects the student's performance on the exam. Additionally, it serves as an indicator of a student's achievement in courses at the collegiate level. Universities utilize these ratings to ascertain whether to grant credit for courses that students have previously completed or to let them bypass identical courses. Typically, a weighted average of a student's performance on both the multiple-choice component and the free-response section determines their score. Several courses, such as Principles of Computer Science, Seminar, and Art Studio classes, incorporate assignments that students are required to complete throughout the program rather than solely relying on multiple-choice or free-response questions. The ultimate score is documented using a 5-point scale:

AP Exam Score


College Course Grade Equivalent


Extremely well qualified

A+ or A


Very well qualified

A-, B+, or B



B-, C+, or C


Possibly qualified



No recommendation


A qualifying score indicates that students have exhibited the ability to fulfill the prerequisites of an entry-level course offered in a certain academic field at the university they are seeking admission to. Several universities offer credit for 3, 4, or 5 units. Nevertheless, each university independently determines the specific range of scores within which it will admit candidates. In order to be eligible for credit or placement, students are required to submit their official score report directly to the university they intend to apply to. AP exam results are sent to the students who participated in the exam through a score report. Officials of the Advanced Placement program receive exam materials from schools. The Advanced Placement exam assesses students' performance in the program using the following scoring system: the computer scores the multiple-choice component. The answer sheets are scanned, and the multiple-choice score is determined by counting the total number of correct answers. The free-response part, which includes essays, open-ended questions, and in-course performance assignments, is evaluated at the yearly AP Reading event. Experienced teachers and specifically designated university professors grade this section of the exam. Teachers evaluate the performance assignments and presentation components given to students in AP Seminar and AP Research courses.

Frequently Asked Questions About What is Advanced Placement?

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