The Advanced Placement Program® consists of 34 college-level courses and exams in 19 subject areas designed for highly motivated students in secondary schools. A passing score on an AP exam usually entitles students to some degree of credit or advancement during their freshman year in college (check with the college or university in question, as specifics vary widely).
Most schools offer some of the subjects for which exams are available and offer preparation for the exams in addition to course content in the subject. Although students may sign up to take any exam at any participating test center based on independent study, most prefer to enroll in an AP course and take the exam in May with their classmates. Every year, interested and qualified Saint Mary’s students take AP exams in various subjects. Students may elect to enroll in one or more of the various AP courses offered to upper division students.
Advanced Placement courses generally require preparation (homework, projects, reading, writing, tests, and quizzes) that is more in depth and time-consuming than regular classes.
When planning their schedule, students should consider taking AP classes in subjects that most interest them rather than taking an excessive course load that leaves little time for real engagement with the subject.
In order to meet both the expectations of the College Board and be in keeping with the SMCHS academic mission and philosophy, all AP courses are subject to the following policies:
a. All AP courses will have prerequisite/guideline grade requirements to be determined by the department in which the course is taught.
b. AP course grades will be based on mastery of course content and completion of assignments, not a student’s performance on the AP exam in May.
c. Students enrolled in AP courses will have weighted internal GPAs; the GPA on official school transcripts is unweighted (see Student-Parent Hand- book for weighted grading scale).
d. Students enrolled in AP courses must take the AP exam in May. Failure to take the exam will result in a note to that effect on a student’s transcript; grade penalties in the class are at the discretion of the teacher. Students will also lose the AP “weight” on their internal GPAs.
e. All AP courses are required to have a final examination in the fall and a final assessment in the spring semester. Course content will be taught through the end of the semester, regardless of the date of the AP exam.
f. Families will be billed directly for the AP exam(s) fees (about $80 each) along with tuition to facilitate payment over several months. Fee reductions are available to those who qualify (see the business office for details).