What is the AP Program?
The Advanced Placement Program (AP) gives high school students exposure to college-level material through involvement in AP courses. Through this program, students may earn credit, advanced placement, or both, for college. The AP Program promotes critical thinking, independent evaluation, accelerated learning and achievement.
Our AP program offers rigorous college level courses that have been approved by the College Board and prepares students for success in their academic futures. Under this accelerated learning program, students will sharpen their analytical and writing skills, and hone their study habits in preparation for a demanding college curriculum. If a student successfully passes the AP exam administered in May, college credit and/or advanced placement can be earned (depending on the student's test score and the college policies). Please refer to the GBHS course catalog for a detailed description of the 17 courses offered and prerequisites for these courses.
Since the rigor of a student's curriculum is often a crucial factor in the college admissions process, students taking AP courses are more competitive (as the demands and strengths of AP classes are widely recognized and are regarded with a weighted grade). Many colleges will consider whether the student has taken enough AP courses to pursue a challenging curriculum. While Granite Bay High also offers an IB program (which offers a global perspective on learning and is also rigorous in coursework), the AP program can offer more flexibility while still providing an advanced level of education. The program allows students to choose which AP courses to pursue and the option to participate in the rich offering of extracurricular activities at Granite Bay High. (However, AP courses are demanding and parents should carefully assess whether the student can keep up with an accelerated pace of learning together with the extracurricular activity under consideration.
What are the benefits?
The AP program allows students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. The academic rigors of these courses provide students an opportunity to proceed at a faster pace and develop and strengthen academic talents.
Students learn subjects in depth, refine analytical reasoning skills, and form disciplined study habits that will contribute to their success in college. Further, along with academic performance, the most significant factor in college admissions decisions is the strength and rigor of a student's curriculum. AP courses are recognized and valued for their quality, depth and rigor.
Who should apply?
The AP program is for students who possess intellectual curiosity and who seek intellectual growth. Reading and homework assignment expectations for AP classes are extensive. Students are expected to perform at the college level, particularly in the areas of writing, reading for analysis and synthesis, and test taking. Term papers and class projects are also expected students are cautioned to consider what impact the combination of employment, extracurricular activities, home responsibilities and course load might have on their academic success. Students interested in Advanced Placement courses should consult with their class teacher, or counselor.
How does a student apply?
Some AP courses have prerequisites. Use the Program Planning Guide to determine if you have met the prerequisites. Then, make an appointment to see your counselor.
Should my child take AP or IB courses?
Whether to take all or some AP courses, be an IB diploma student, be an IB certificate student, or take a mixture of AP and IB courses needs to be a matter of student preference, interest, and learning style. Some students who have taken both AP and IB classes feel that AP courses are geared more to learning the facts and IB courses are more geared to analyzing the facts. Students and teachers have said that IB classes cover more material, but that AP classes tend to go more in depth. Students have also said that IB classes can require more reading and writing than do AP courses.
The IB diploma program is comprehensive, but fairly inflexible. The AP program and IB certificate program are more flexible, allowing a student to take AP or IB courses in the subjects which interest them.
It is possible to take an IB course in a particular subject area and take (and do well on) the AP exam in the same subject area (IB teachers will help students decide if they should take the AP exam for a particular subject). However, students who have not taken an IB course may not take an IB exam. Review books for AP exams are commercially available; there are no commercially available IB exam review books.
Plus, colleges generally recognize AP and IB courses as being on a par, although they are generally more familiar with the AP curriculum. The extent to which colleges will give credit or placement varies among colleges, but generally if they accept AP scores (usually a score of at least 3), then they also accept IB scores (usually a score of at least 5). For example, if a college will give credit for a score of 4 on an AP exam, it will also give credit for a score of a 6 on an IB exam. Some colleges give credit for certain scores on AP or IB exams; others will allow students to place out of lower level classes, but will not give credit
Weighted Grades in AP Courses
Grades in AP courses are weighted as follows:
A=5.0, B= 4.0, C= 3.0