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Advanced Placement Program

The College Board Advanced Placement (AP) program gives students an opportunity to seek college-level studies while still in high school. By taking Pre-Advanced Placement (Pre-AP) classes, AP classes, and AP exams, students may gain advanced placement and/or credit in college. Depending on student’s grades on AP exams, they may earn up to a full year’s credit from their college or university. Receiving college credit while still in high school can save thousands of dollars on college tuition and also enhance the likelihood of college success. Enrollment in AP courses also enhances entry into major colleges and universities, especially for students who are interested in highly selective colleges/universities. Pre-AP courses prepare students for the rigor of AP courses. Taking AP courses also demonstrates to college admission officers that students have attempted the most rigorous curriculum available at their high school.

Academic Considerations

All Pasadena ISD students who wish to accept the academic challenge of Pre-AP or AP classes are welcome to participate in these programs. However, students and parents should be aware of the expectations and rigorous coursework for these classes so that they can make informed decisions prior to making a commitment to course selections. All students considering AP classes are encouraged to take the appropriate Pre-AP classes as preparation for college level work.

Pre-AP and AP curricula is written above the grade level of the traditional class. Students should be independent learners as instruction is fast paced, in-depth, complex, and abstract. Students should understand that much of the work is done outside of class. While students may choose to take Pre-AP and AP classes for a variety of reasons, students should be prepared to apply their best effort. Attributes of successful Pre-AP and AP students include effective time management and organizational skills, a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, and a willingness to devote time outside of class in order to excel.

AP Exams

AP course descriptions and AP exams are prepared by College Board Development Committees, which include college and university professors and experienced AP teachers throughout the world. AP Exams take two to three hours to complete, depending upon the credit, contain both multiple-choice questions and free response questions (except art course requiring portfolios), are scored by computer, and evaluated by faculty consultants, college professors, and AP teachers.

Results are available to the student, high school, and designated college(s) in July. While taking the exam, students indicate if they would like a college to receive their grades. Students also have the option of canceling or withholding a grade. The process and standards for setting AP grades remain the same so that the merit of AP grades is consistent over time.

Each exam is scored on the following five-point scale:

5 – Extremely well qualified

4 – Well qualified

3 – Qualified

2 – Possibly qualified

1 – No recommendation

Most individual colleges accept grades of 3 or above, but each college/university determines which AP exam grades to accept for credit and/or advanced placement. The AP Credit and Placement College and University Search at www.collegeboard.com/ap/creditpolicy allows colleges and universities to be looked up for review of their AP policies. For more information, contact your student’s high school counselor or contact Patricia Sermas (psermas@pasadenaisd.org) at 713-740-5247. AP information may be found at the College Board website: www.collegeboard.org

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