Understanding the Advanced Placement Program

The Advanced Placement Program (AP), run by the College Board (makers of the SAT) is a rigorous academic program that gives motivated high school students the opportunity to pursue university-level studies, while they are still in school.


AP courses and 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 US, Canada, UK, Australia, Singapore or other countries for undergraduate studies can benefit from taking AP courses and exams.

Understanding the Advanced Placement Program

Established in the 1950's, AP has helped students achieve their dream of university study around the world for more than 60 years. In 2014, more than 2.2 million students took over 4 million AP Exams worldwide, and sent scores to over 3,000 universities in more than 65 countries.

AP courses and exams, available in India in over 22 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, Harvard and University of Pennsylvania.

Benefits of AP
There are many benefits of taking AP Courses and Exams. Taking AP courses helps students stand out in the admission 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.

With AP, a student can illustrate his or her competence in a particular field of study and can also decide to study a subject that they are interested in but not able to study at their school.

AP Exams enable students to earn college credit or advanced placement before they even start college, which can enable them to graduate early, save tuition, pursue a double major, move into upper level courses sooner, or complete an internship. (College credit is earned by students through every course they take over the 4 years they attend college. Students require a certain minimum number of credits to complete their graduation requirements).

Over 90 percent of universities across the US offer credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of successful AP Exam scores. Additionally, nearly all leading universities in Canada and UK recognize AP for admission, credit or placement, as do many European universities.

Credit policies differ by college, so students should understand the policies of the colleges they are interested in. To view credit policies of universities across the world, student should visit https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/creditandplacement.

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. For more information, student can visit https://apscore.collegeboard.org/scores/ap-awards.

Succeeding in AP Exams can also help students earn academic scholarships and awards from colleges directly.

AP courses and exams help students develop essential skills, such as critical thinking, reasoning, problem solving and communication that are essential for success in college and beyond. This is especially important in the Indian context, as the studying methodology in our schools can sometimes be very different to what is 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.

Providing Flexibility
AP is flexible, allowing students to take as many or as few exams as they wish to. Students usually take AP Exams in Grade 11 or 12 or both, and some even start taking 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.

Registration and Exam Information
AP 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. The exams are scored on a scale of 1-5, and scores of 3 and above are considered successful.

The 2015 AP Exams will be held from May 4-15. Registrations for the exams will take place in Feb-Mar 2015. Students will be able to take AP exams at any of the 11 test centers across India - in Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Rajkot.

Information related to the Registration Process will be available on www.ap-india.org in January 2015. AP Exams are priced at Rs. 8,900 per exam. Some test centers might add an administration fee on top of this price, so students should check the price at the test center of their choice before registering.

The College Board also offers students the option to take AP Exams during the ‘Late Testing' period, which will be from May 20-22, 2015. 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.

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