What is the Advanced Placement Program?
The Advanced Placement Program (AP®) gives students an opportunity to take college-level courses and exams while they are still in high school. If students get a "qualifying" grade on an AP Exam, there are more than 3000 colleges and universities that will give credit or advanced placement for their efforts. An AP course gives students an opportunity to learn a subject in greater depth and helps them develop skills that will be critically important to successful study in college.
Bismarck Public Schools offers fifteen AP courses: AP English 11 (Language), AP English 12 (Literature), AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Physics I & II, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, AP Computer Science, AP United States History, AP Government, AP Psychology, AP Studio Art, AP Computer Principles, and AP Computer Science A.
How difficult are AP courses?
Compared with regular high school courses, AP courses are usually more demanding. Depending on the subject, students may read and write more, analyze material, synthesize ideas, solve problems, evaluate, and participate in seminar discussions. Most AP classes are comparable to sophisticated college courses, so they aren't easy, but they're not impossibly difficult either. The intellectual skills and interests that students can develop in AP courses - critical reading, analyzing data sets, synthesizing evidence to develop new insights, etc. - will equip students for life-long learning. These courses move rapidly and cover a lot of ground. Successful students are those who keep up or, better, stay a little ahead of the required reading. Students must also be able to do the work. A student's record in earlier courses is the most obvious indicator of that ability.
How do students get into an AP course? How do they sign up for the exam?
First, students should discuss their interest with the teacher of the AP course or with their school counselor to find out if he or she feels they can handle the extra work. Students may also want to discuss the course with their parents. The AP teacher or AP Coordinator will tell students when in May the AP Exam will be offered at the high schools, and how to register for it.