Pre-College Advising • Pre-College Planning Guide
Advanced Placement Exams: What Are They and Who Should Take Them
POSTED ON 03/20/2020 BY The Red Pen
In the current Indian education system, students can choose from a plethora of boards and curricula, making it challenging to choose which system is best for your child. Added to this, students from several other curricula are also appearing for Advanced Placement (AP) exams.
Here is a breakdown of the AP exams:
What are the Advanced Placement (AP) exams?
The College Board’s Advanced Placement exams are college-level exams on specific subjects and in some cases, specific subject areas. For example, students interested in mathematics can take the exam in either calculus or statistics, along with the option to take it at an elementary or advanced level. There are a total of 38 APs from which students can choose. Typically, these exams are a culmination of year-long preparation in classes that students have taken in US high schools. For example, a student would take a year of AP Calculus AB in high school and then sit the examination at the end of the year (or when the class ends). APs are a great way for US high school students to demonstrate academic rigour in their curriculum and have also been viewed as university preparatory courses.
Are AP exams mandatory?
AP exams are by no means compulsory, even for students in the US. Students studying the IBDP, A-levels and CBSE curriculum are already demonstrating academic rigour through their course structure and do not need to prepare for APs. However, there are certain exceptions to this case. For example, most US colleges require or recommend students to demonstrate three to four years of lab science. An A-level student who has not taken a science or students who have taken computer science or environmental science instead of physics, chemistry and biology may benefit from taking an AP in a lab science.
Why should students consider APs?
There are many reasons why a student should consider giving AP exams.
1) College credit:
AP courses enable students to earn college credit or get placed in advanced courses when they start their first year of college in the US. Achieving AP credit gives students the opportunity to graduate early or adequate time to extend their degrees by completing a double major or adding a minor to their degree. Before you register, make sure to check the College Board’s AP Credit Policy Search for specific information on which colleges accept AP credit. This varies depending on what programme you are applying to as well.
2) Demonstrate academic rigour:
For many students pursuing Indian curricula, taking AP courses will help them strengthen their academic profile when applying to colleges in the US.
3) Exposure to a new subject:
APs are also a great way for students to get an insight into a subject that might not be offered at their high school. For example, students who are not offered computer science within their IBDP curriculum in school can take an AP to learn more about the subject and enhance their knowledge.