Advanced Placement Program (AP)

Advanced Placement Program

What is the Advanced Placement Program?

The Advanced Placement® Program (AP) offers high school students the opportunity to take university-level courses and exams while in high school and earn college credits and advanced placement at many colleges and universities in Canada and around the world.

The AP program originated in the United States in 1955, and is administered by The College Board, a U.S. nonprofit organization that also administers the SAT.

Today the program has expanded beyond the U.S., and is now available in Canada and many other countries. The AP Program has a Canadian administrative office in Victoria, B.C.

Fast Facts

  • There are 38 AP subjects, most of which are available in Canada. See a full list of AP courses and exams.
  • AP Exams take place each May and are scored on a scale of 1–5.
  • Most colleges grant credit, advanced placement, or both for AP Exam scores of 3 or higher. 
  • AP courses are free in the United States, but there are fees to participate in Canada. for example, in Peel Region there is an annual cost of $250/student plus a fee of $125 per exam. 
  • 85% of selective colleges and universities report that a student’s AP experience has a positive impact on admission decisions.
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Advanced Placement Program

How are AP Classes and Exams Administered?

AP classes are taught by accredited local teachers trained in a standardized, advanced curriculum set by The College Board.

At the successful completion of an AP course, students are invited to take an exam that will be graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with scores of 3, 4, and 5 considered “passing.”

Students may be able to convert those AP exam scores to full or partial college credits with participating colleges and universities.

Benefits of Taking AP

In addition to saving time and money on their way to a college degree, students can benefit in the following ways just by taking an AP course:

  • They will dig deeper into subjects that interest them.
  • They will stand out in the college admission process.
  • They will build the confidence and skills they need to tackle challenging college coursework.
  • They will increase their chances of completing a college degree in 4 years or less.

Taking AP may also help students to earn scholarships to help pay for college.

How important is AP?

If a school offers AP classes, taking them can be a valuable addition to a high school transcript.

Advanced Placement is considered more rigorous than standard or even honors courses in most high schools. As college admissions officers review applications, their biggest question is always whether the student can do the work at this particular campus.

This is especially true in math and sciences, because AP courses can demonstrate that students have mastered those subjects.

AP classes in core subjects such as calculus, physics, and English language and composition might be considered more valuable in admissions reviews than electives such as art history or psychology. The exams might not be easier, but the course content is considered less fundamental to college preparation.

Who Should Take AP?

In general, any student in grades 11–12 who is academically gifted should consider taking AP.

Students can also get AP course recommendations from their teachers and school counselors.

How Many AP Courses Should a Student Take?

Students can take more than one AP course in a given year or semester.

Students should talk to their teachers and school counselors to help them decide how many AP courses to take. They have keen insight into the student’s readiness to tackle academic challenges and how much effort AP courses require.

Keep in mind: More is not always better. AP courses ask high school students to do college-level work, so if an AP participant takes too many, they may feel overwhelmed. It’s better to take fewer AP courses and do well in them than take more AP courses and perform poorly.

AP Course Grades and Exam Scores

When a student takes an AP course in school, they’ll be graded just like when they take any other course. Taking AP courses will help the student to stand out to colleges and universities.

When a participant takes an AP Exam in May, college faculty and experienced AP accredited teachers review the responses and give the exam a score of 1–5. Passing grade for most colleges and universities for AP Exam scores is 3 or higher. 

AP Exam results are available in July.

Students should send their AP Exam scores to the post secondary location they are planning to attend to be eligible for college credit or placement in an advanced course.

Which is Best? AP, IB, or Dual Credits?

Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes are generally recognized to have an advantage over Dual Credit enrollment.

AP and IB are seen as more rigorous by many colleges because they are assessed by national organizations. Dual enrollment courses offered by local colleges are seen by some admissions officers as more uneven and depend on the institution offering them.

But the value of dual credit classes goes beyond college admissions. They can impact a student’s high school education by broadening their choices. Dual enrollment courses through a local college can help expand top-level course offerings in languages, math and science (among others) to a local school district.

List of School Programs available in Halton and Peel Regions

AP in Canada

The Advanced Placement curriculum is indeed available throughout Canada. Qualifying AP Exam scores earn credit, advanced placement, or both in nearly all universities in the United States and Canada (including the University of Toronto and York University), and are recognized in over 100 other countries worldwide.

AP in Halton Region and Peel Region

Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams allow high school students who excel on these exams the opportunity to gain university credits while still in high school.  Students taking AP courses will be assessed and evaluated firstly on the standard Ontario Curriculum. The AP curriculum is then built on top of the standard courses as an additional enhancement.

Where are Advanced Placement Courses Available?

Halton District School Board

The following HDSB schools currently offer AP courses or exams.

Halton Catholic District School Board

  • Assumption Catholic Secondary School – Burlington
  • Bishop P.F. Reding Catholic Secondary School – Milton
  • Christ the King Catholic Secondary School – Georgetown​
  • Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School – Oakville

Peel District School Board

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Private Schools in Halton & Peel offering Advanced Placement

There are a number of private schools in both Halton and Peel regions which offer the Advanced Placement program, including

  • Appleby College Oakville
  • MacLachlan College Oakville
  • Blythe Academy Mississauga
  • Bronte College Mississauga
  • Carrey International Education Mississauga
  • Holy Name of Mary Mississauga (girls only school)
  • Mentor College Mississauga
  • Newton’s Grove School Mississauga
  • Sherwood Heights School Mississauga

Schools offer a variety of course offerings and/or support for Advanced Placement. ​ Please visit the individual school websites for more information.

In Conclusion

AP (Advanced Placement) provides rich opportunities for motivated students to experience university-level courses while still in high school. Participants learn critical thinking, time management, and they become acquainted with university-level workloads. Advanced Placement courses offer students a level of knowledge that might otherwise remain unexplored in high school. Successfully passing AP Exams gives students the opportunity to earn credits or advanced standing at many universities and colleges across Canada.

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Advanced Placement Program
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Advanced Placement Program
The Advanced Placement (AP) program offers students a chance to study university-level subjects while still in high school. Participants can earn university and college credits upon successfully passing the courses, giving them enhanced opportunities with post secondary admissions.
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