AP Information

What is “AP*”?

The letters “AP” stand for Advanced Placement. A course that has “AP” in the title is a high school course with…

  • The level of difficulty of a first-year college course, with content that is rigorous and extensive in its subject area
  • Content that meets college-level curriculum standards outlined by the College Board; every AP course goes through an approval process by the College Board for its AP designation
  • The opportunity for students to take a subject exam provided by the College Board each May; qualifying AP exam scores enable students to earn credit or advanced placement at many colleges.

How does a course qualify to be called “AP”?

Before an AP course is offered by a school, it must go through—and pass—a course audit.

“The AP Course Audit was created at the request of both secondary school and college members of the College Board... [to] provide AP teachers and administrators with clear guidelines on curricular and resource requirements that must be in place for AP courses.... [and] give colleges and universities confidence that [all] AP courses are designed to meet the same clearly articulated college-level criteria.... All schools wishing to label a course ‘AP’ must submit the subject-specific AP Course Audit form and the course syllabus for each teacher of that AP course.” (See this page for the reference and more information.) 

When you see “AP” in a course’s name, you know that the course conforms to a college-level curriculum standard. All PHC Prep Academy courses pass the AP course audit before they are taught to students. (See our full list of AP-approved courses.)

Who takes AP courses?

Most students who take AP courses are juniors and seniors in high school. However, younger students can also take a course, if they are ready. Individuals older than 18 can take AP courses—including adults. 

If you want to learn more about what it takes to be ready for AP studies, go here. To check out course information and see if your student is ready to take a specific course, you can find more details on our course listing page. If, after reading a course description, you still have questions regarding course content and your student’s readiness, simply call us at 540-338-8290 and we’ll get you what you need to decide well.

What do AP high school courses have to do with college?

Here are the top three reasons why AP courses help college-bound students:

  • AP studies can give you a head start on your college degree. Many colleges give students credit toward graduation on the basis of high AP exam scores, or allow them to place out of lower-level classes.
  • College admissions officers like to see AP courses on your high school transcript. AP courses demonstrate a high level of high school achievement that can give students an advantage in the college admissions process. According to a College Board study, “85 percent of selective colleges and universities report that a student’s AP experience favorably impacts admissions decisions.”
  • AP courses give you a preview of what college will be like. AP-level work helps students learn essential college study skills. For students with AP experience, the challenges of rigorous college courses will be much more familiar and manageable.

What colleges and universities accept AP exam scores?

Specific college admissions offices can tell you their policies regarding AP score acceptance. We recommend that you go to the website of the college or university you are interested in, or call its admissions office, for specific details. Another helpful resource is a tool on the College Board’s website that lets you look up AP credit policies for individual colleges.

How does the scoring of the exams work?

Final AP scores range from 1 (low) to 5 (high). To read about how AP exams are scored,  go here.

You can also find information about AP exams and scoring in our AP Score Results reports. 


Why should my student take an AP course? 
AP courses have many benefits for you and your student. Click here now to read The Top 10 Reasons Your Teen Needs to Take an AP Course.