AP or Advanced Placement Exams

Written by Overseas Education Consultant and Study Abroad Career Counsellor in Mumbai, Karan Gupta


The AP or Advanced Placement exams are conducted by the CollegeBoard, the same organization that conducts the SAT exams. Essentially the AP exams are college level courses that students take when they are still in high school. By taking these exams student’s get a more competitive edge when applying to colleges overseas. Also, a student may get certain college level classes waived by virtue of having AP exam scores. Although these exams are more US centric, they are recognized by several UK institutions as well. In fact, students applying to UK universities through the UCAS can get UCAS Tariff points by taking the AP exams.


The maximum score that a student can obtain on the AP exams is 5 with the minimum score being 1. To get advanced college credit a student should have a score of 3 and higher. Do keep in mind that some universities ask for a score of 4 or 5 in order to get advance standing.


“USIEF Delhi has been offering AP tests for the past two years and found a growing demand. USIEF Mumbai is offering these tests for the first time in Mumbai . We are offering tests in six subjects only: Calculus AB, BC , Chemistry, Physics C, Mechanics and Magnetism, and Computer Science. We decided to offer the tests with a view to helping all students who want to take them since most schools do not offer them,” says Sucharita Narayanan, Regional Officer, United States-Indian Educational Foundation. Adds, Renuka Raja RaoCountry Coordinator, EducationUSA Advising Services, “At USIEF, we sensed increasing interest in recent years among high school students in taking the AP exams. Typically, these are students who aim high – they seek admission into the Ivy League, prestigious Liberal Arts Colleges or the public Ivies in the US. We also heard from some of our students that they had to travel long distances and go through a great deal of difficulty in finding a school that would allow them to take the AP exams at that school. EducationUSA at USIEF offers a broad range of services to students seeking admission to accredited US schools. We have been a SAT testing center for decades. We decided to offer 24 options of the AP exams as a student-friendly measure and have been offering it since 2010 in Delhi. Last year, we added the PSAT tests and this year, we will add the ACT to the bouquet of student services. This is part of our efforts to support students in their quest for an American education.”


Benefits of doing the AP exams


Subject to good scores and university rules, students can earn course credits well in advance in colleges in the US and 60 other countries • Improve writing skills, sharpen problem-solving abilities, develop time management skills and better study habits • Gain advanced knowledge about a field before formal study at a university • Real college conditioning – sets a faster pace and higher standard • AP tests train students in taking higher-level tests in a university setting • Help improve scores for other standardized tests • Help students decide what subjects to pursue in college 


Source: Renuka Raja RaoCountry, EducationUSA Advising Services


“They save both time and money by taking these tests. It also helps them get an idea of how well prepared they are for the American system of education,” adds Narayanan. Students can take AP exams to show their proficiency in subjects which they have not taken in high school. “I am applying for a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering at US universities and at the IB level I did not take Physics as a subject. Hence, I am opting for the AP exam in Physics so that my application is more competitive for admissions,” states Prateek Agrawal. “The AP exams is a great way for me to get college credit when I apply to universities abroad. However, these exams are not easy and would take up a lot of my time,” adds Shreena Mehta. The flipside of AP exams would be the preparation. Most schools don’t teach AP exams and hence students have to prepare for the exams on their own.


Advanced Placement International Diploma


If students appear for 5 AP exams and get scores of 3 of higher in each of the exams, they can earn an Advanced Placement International Diploma. However, the choice of AP exams that a student can opt for are restricted and students have to take at least 2 language AP exams, one exam from World History, Human Geography or Government and Politics, one exam from Math or Sciences and finally one or two exams from other subjects such as Economics, Psychology, Art History and so on. Of course, getting this diploma is not going to be easy but having it will enhance your chances of admission to competitive schools such as Harvard, Stanford, Upenn and so on.

AP exams are not easy; but if you are a hardworking student who wants to make his or her application more competitive, it’s in your best interests to appear for the AP exams.

Karan Gupta is the leading international education and career consultant in Mumbai, India. Since 1999, he has given career counselling and has helped thousands of students with study abroad and get admission and visas to universities and colleges in the USUKCanadaAustraliaSingapore and EU and also helps them get scholarships, loans and financial aid. In addition to aptitude tests and career counselling, his firm also provides training and coaching for the GMAT, GRE, SAT, ACT, TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE exams. Karan Gupta is the best study abroad career counsellor, consultant and career guidance expert in Mumbai.


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