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There is no limit to the number of advanced placement (AP) courses students can take. However, taking four or five AP courses in a single year is a rigorous commitment requiring unusual motivation and above-average scholastic aptitude. On average, advanced students will take several AP courses their junior year and several their senior year.

What is the advanced placement program?
AP is a program of college-level courses and exams for secondary school students. College Board reports the following facts regarding the AP Exam:

  • In May 2004, 1,887,770 AP Exams were taken.
  • AP Exams are administered at nearly 15,000 schools around the world.
  • Since the first AP Exams were given in 1956, more than 12.6 million students have taken over 19 million AP Exams worldwide.
  • On average, 62 percent of the AP Exams taken receive a grade that is recommended for college credit, advanced placement, or both.
  • More than 90 percent of the colleges and universities in the United States recognize these exam grades.
  • More than 1,400 institutions grant a full year’s credit (sophomore standing) to students presenting satisfactory grades on a stated number of AP Exams. This represents not just the chance to save on college tuition and graduate early from college but also frees up time in a student’s college schedule, allowing a student to take more advanced courses, to double major, or to explore additional disciplines and opportunities.

What Advanced Placement Courses are Available in the Jordan School District?

ART: Art History
ART STUDIO: Drawing Portfolio, 2-D Design Portfolio, 3-D Design Portfolio
BIOLOGY: Biology
CHEMISTRY: Chemistry
COMPUTER SCIENCE: Computer Science A; Computer Science AB
ECONOMICS: Macroeconomics; Microeconomics
ENGLISH: English Language and Composition; English Literature and Composition
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE: Introduction to Environmental Science
FRENCH: French Language; French Literature
GEOGRAPHY: Human Geography
GERMAN: German Language
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS: Comparative Government and Politics; United States Government and Politics
HISTORY: European History; United States History; World History
MATHEMATICS: Calculus AB Calculus BC
MUSIC: Music Theory
PHYSICS: Physics B
PHYSICS C: Mechanics; Electricity and Magnetism
PSYCHOLOGY: Psychology
SPANISH: Spanish Language; Spanish Literature
STATISTICS: Statistics
Course availability may differ slightly from school to school.

What is an AP Course like?
AP is a special college-level learning experience that most often takes a full academic year. It is usually challenging and stimulating and--compared to other high school courses--often takes more time, requires more work, gives greater opportunity for individual progress and accomplishment, and goes into greater depth.

What are the AP exams like? When are they given?
All AP Exams (except Studio Art) contain both multiple-choice questions and free-response questions, which require essay writing, problem solving, and other skills. Most exams are three hours long, while those for one-semester courses take up to two hours. In Studio Art, students submit portfolios of their work instead of taking an exam. For a portion of the History of Art Exam, students answer questions based on color slides that are shown, and the foreign language and Music Theory exams require students to listen to audio-tapes to complete certain portions. The foreign language and Music Theory examinations also contain a performance section for which students record their responses on audiotape.

How are they graded? 
The multiple-choice answer sheets are scored by computer. The essays are evaluated by close to 5,000 carefully selected professors and AP teachers--called faculty consultants-- who spend a week each June grading booklets. Each response in a booklet is graded by a separate person who has been specially trained to assess this question. No faculty consultant knows the scores given by another faculty consultant or whose booklet is being graded. Every examination receives an overall grade on a five-point scale: 5 (extremely well qualified), 4 (well qualified), 3 (qualified), 2 (possibly qualified), and 1 (no recommendation). AP Grade Reports are sent in July to each student’s home address, school, and if the student has requested it, to his or her college.

How much credit can I expect to get from and AP exam?
Each college decides what AP Examination grades it will accept for credit and/or advanced placement. The great majority of colleges and universities accept grades of 3 or above. Students are typically awarded 12 quarter hours or 8 semester hours of college credit for a three hour exam. To find out which AP grades are considered acceptable by the colleges of your choice, contact your high school counselor or write to the Director of Admissions of the college you will attend.

What do AP exams cost? 
The fee is $82 for each exam taken. The College Board has a fee-reduction policy, however, for students who demonstrate financial need.

Why take an AP exam?

  • The benefits that go with advanced placement and credit are numerous. Advanced placement in college allows students to skip work completed in high school and move on to higher-level courses. Students who earn satisfactory grades on enough AP Exams may be granted a full-year’s credit by their college or university. In 1998, more than 40,000 AP students were eligible for sophomore standing at approximately 1400 colleges. Students also gain time to explore other subjects that interest them, participate in internships or use the time for extra study.
  • If students earn the required grade on an AP Exam, they may receive the equivalent of eight semester credits for a one-year course, which might otherwise cost up to $3,000. But the basic reasons for taking an AP course are to learn a subject in greater depth, to develop analytical reasoning skills, and to develop disciplined study habits appropriate for continued success at the college level.
  • Students improve their chances of being accepted by the college of their choice. College admissions personnel view AP experience as one indicator of future success at the college level. Successful performance in an AP course is, therefore, a great advantage to a student who wishes to attend a highly selective college.
  • Studies undertaken by individual colleges have shown repeatedly that AP students who take advanced courses in their first year of college do as well or better than upper-class students. Most AP students do extremely well throughout their college careers, and a good number graduate with honors.
  • Students may be eligible to earn AP Scholar Awards. Students who receive grades of 3 or higher on three or more full-year AP Exams receive AP Scholar Awards. Students who receive grades of 3 or higher on four or more full-year AP Exams, with an average exam grade of 3.25 receive AP Scholar with Honor Awards.
  • Students who receive grades of 3 or higher on five or more full-year AP Examinations, with an average exam grade of 3.5, receive AP Scholar with Distinction Awards.
  • Also, students who plan to attend a university outside the United States may be eligible to receive the Advanced Placement International Diploma For Overseas Study, which is recognized by universities throughout the world.

If I don’t get a good grade on an AP exam, will it hurt my chances for college admissions?
It is highly unlikely that an AP course or an AP Exam could work against you for the following reasons:

  • College officials (particularly selective colleges) know very well that all courses are not equal. Their evaluation of student grades focuses as much on the quality of the courses as on the grades received.
  • If you choose to report AP grades achieved before your senior year, you will primarily be telling the colleges that you undertook a difficult course and that you are serious about your studies. Overall, two-thirds of the test takers receive an AP grade of 3 or higher, which is an indicator of successful work at most colleges.
  • Remember, too, that if you take an examination as a senior, colleges will not receive your grade before July--probably well after you have been admitted--and only if you request it.
  • Your grade may be as good or better than what you would have received in an easier course because many colleges and universities weight the grades given in AP courses to compensate for the increased difficulty.

What if I decide I don’t want a college to receive my AP examination grade?
At the time of the examination, you indicate on your answer sheet the name of the college you wish to receive your grades. After the exam, you can write to the AP program and request that your grades be sent to the colleges of your choice. Until June 15 of each year, you also have the option of telling the AP program to cancel or withhold a grade before it is sent to a college. However, college admission officials understand the rigor of an AP Examination, and you will be taking a positive step toward your potential admission by sending them your grade. In Jordan School District, all Advanced Placement Examination scores are recorded on the high school transcript.