Advanced Placement (AP) is a program in the United States and Canada, created by the College Board, which offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students. American colleges and universities often grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores on the examinations. The AP curriculum for each of the various subjects is created for the College Board by a panel of experts and college-level educators in that field of study. For a high school course to have the AP designation, the course must be audited by the College Board to ascertain that it satisfies the AP curriculum. If the course is approved, the school may use the AP designation and the course will be publicly listed on the AP Course Ledger.
Deciding to take an AP course lets colleges and universities know that you have what it takes to succeed in an undergraduate environment. When admissions officers see “AP” on your transcript, they know that what you experienced in a particular class has prepared you well for the challenges of college. Taking AP is a sign that you’re up for the most rigorous classes your high school has to offer.
AP Helps You Get Ahead
Earn College Credits
By taking an AP course and scoring successfully on the related AP Exam, you can save on college expenses: most colleges and universities nationwide offer college credit, advanced placement, or both, for qualifying AP Exam scores. These credits can allow students to save college tuition, study abroad, or secure a second major. AP can transform what once seemed unattainable into something within reach. Check out specific colleges’ guidelines on accepting AP scores for credit and placement by searching our AP Credit Policy database.
Skip Introductory Classes
If you already know your preferred college major, taking a related AP course and earning a qualifying score on the AP Exam can help you advance and avoid required introductory courses – so you can move directly into upper-level classes and focus on the work that interests you most.
Even taking an AP Exam unrelated to your major – whether or not you know what you want to major in – can place you beyond your college’s general education requirements. This opens up additional time on your schedule, enabling you to do a second major or minor, take exciting electives, or pursue additional interests.
Build College Skills
Taking an AP course builds the skills you'll need throughout your college years. You give your mind a rigorous workout while polishing up your time management and study skills. You also get better at handling challenging issues and problems, with the support of your AP teachers. AP courses let you know what to expect during the next phase of your educational journey and help you build the confidence to succeed.
What is it like to take an AP Course?
You can acquire new skills in the subjects you care about. All with the support of your classmates and teachers.
- Get more!
With AP, you get to dig deeper into subjects you love. Your school can choose from more than 30 AP courses in subjects that directly reflect your interests.
- Get hands-on!
In AP's immersive courses, you get to learn how things really work. Tackle concepts that will stick with you long after the class is through.
- Get involved!
In AP classes, learning means sharing your ideas and expressing yourself. Add your unique perspective—the dialog and debate contribute to the knowledge that everyone shares.
- Get support!
With AP, you get to explore new ideas with your classmates and AP teachers. See and feel what college work is like while receiving the support to help you get there.
- Get to know yourself!
In AP classes, you can set bigger goals for yourself and do things you never thought possible. AP students can really test and push themselves in a familiar setting while gaining confidence, developing good study habits, and enjoying a great learning experience.