Advanced Placement Guidelines

Advanced Placement Program

The AP curriculum that Immaculate offers is administered by the College Board and consists of standardized high school courses that are equivalent to undergraduate college courses. They are designed to prepare high school students for the rigors of college level work and they represent the school’s most challenging level of study. Immaculate offers thirteen AP courses in the traditional classroom setting which include: AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature, AP Calculus, AP US History, AP Government and Politics, AP Psychology, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics Part 1, AP Physics Part 2, AP French Language, AP Spanish Language, AP Studio Art: Drawing. Immaculate also collaborates with Virtual High School allowing the school to potentially offer another twenty-three virtual on-line AP courses. All AP classes have pre-requisites that must be met for students to participate in the class.

See our Course Guide for more pre-requisite information.

Important Information to consider if you are thinking about taking an Advanced Placement Class

WHY TAKE AN AP CLASS?

To be challenged - AP classes are rigorous and demanding and offer a great deal of intellectual challenge. They give you the opportunity to dig deeper into subjects that interest you.

To share your ideas and better express yourself - the dialog and debate in AP classes contributes to the knowledge that everyone shares

To arrive at college better prepared - AP classes develop more rigorous study habits, develop your time management skills, sharpen your writing and advanced research skills, teach you how to think critically and use your problem-solving abilities, as well as work collaboratively in groups. You will learn how to navigate the academic expectations you will encounter in your college courses

To help you find your future - AP classes can help you transform a subject you are enthusiastic about into a fullfilling future. Each AP course connects directly to a wide variety of college majors and careers. Use the Collegeboard tool at apstudent.collegeboard.org/exploreap/ap-and-your-future and see what AP courses prepare you for certain career paths.

To demonstrate college preparedness in the college admission process - if you do well in an AP class, it is a signal to admission counselors that you are ready for the pressures of college study and that you were up for the challenge of taking the most rigorous classes your school has to offer

To earn college credit - many colleges grant credit or accelerated placement based on your performance on AP exams which are scored 1-5. Many colleges accept scores that are 3 or above, while more selective schools look for 4s or 5s. Each institution has their own AP credit policy and those policies can be found by searching the Collegeboard’s AP Credit Policy database. With these additional credits, it can be easier to fulfill some of your general education course requirements, pursue a double major or a minor or take elective courses that interest you.

IS THE AP EXPERIENCE RIGHT FOR YOU?

Think about your past performance in the subject area - Do you have the pre-requisite grade required for the AP class and did you easily achieve that grade or was it a continual struggle?

Think about your skills and interests - many AP classes require heavy amounts of reading and writing. Are you prepared for long, difficult reading assignments, multiple essays, and in-depth research papers? Consider the AP classes that connect with your interests and passions.

Think about the impact on your GPA - will my performance in the class lower my GPA? College admission officers want to see students taking challenging courses, but they also want to see strong grades. Sometimes it is wiser to stay with an honors level course.

Think about your schedule - if you have multiple obligations like sports, leadership positions and many extracurricular commitments, will you find it difficult to meet the challenging obligations of an AP class? Will your schedule accommodate the rigorous amount of time and dedication needed to take an AP class?

Talk with your teacher, counselor & your parents - seek their advice about whether an AP course is the right choice for you.

HOW MANY AP CLASSES SHOULD I TAKE?

There is no “magic number”! It depends on the individual student. It is important not to overload yourself causing enormous anxiety or stress. It is better to focus on those AP classes related to your strongest skills and interests. It is also important to strike a balance between school work and all the other experiences and opportunities in high school. You don’t want to be spending every waking hour doing school work because you overloaded yourself with too many AP classes.

Keys To Success In AP Classes

Understand the expectations

AP courses more closely resemble college classes than they do high school offerings. It is important that you are prepared to work from the first day of class. While other courses may ease into their schedules, AP classes must address a lengthy curriculum in a compressed period of time. Prepare mentally for this reality.

Complete your work each day

This applies to both in-class assignments and homework. AP courses are fastpaced, and you may be unable to catch up if you do not remain current with your work. Pay attention, and take thorough notes every day. Do not miss a homework assignment. If you must be absent, touch base with your teacher. The class will not slow down for you.

Study for all tests

Although AP courses are designed with the AP exam as their primary focus, this does not mean that you can avoid studying for your other tests in the class. Regardless of whether you sit for and succeed on the AP exam, you will receive a grade in the course. Don't risk a low mark on your transcript. In addition, reviewing for each test will aid you immensely when it comes time to study for the AP exam. You cannot cram for the AP, as there is simply too much material.

Consider purchasing a test prep book

Research the most common and well regarded prep books for the subject in which you are enrolled, and purchase the one that you feel best fits your needs. The prep book should not serve as a substitute for the class itself, but rather as a supplement. Most AP courses cover a body of material so vast that it is logistically difficult to discuss it in the necessary depth. While you likely will not need the prep book for your regular tests and should refer to your class notes and homework instead, the prep book will serve as a valuable resource as you study for the AP exam. It will both fill in any gaps from your AP course as well as provide extra practice for the types of questions that appear on the exam.

Seek connections in class content

In many high school classes, knowing the basic facts about a subject is enough to do well, but in AP courses, this is not the case. For instance, a strong AP U.S. History essay expresses the underlying motivations behind a historical event, not just when and where it occurred, as well as who was involved. Not only do AP classes require a deeper level of understanding than most high school courses, but much of the AP exam is graded with this idea in mind.

IMMACULATE’S AP COURSE REGISTRATION GUIDELINES

  • Students must meet the AP course pre-requisite and have Department Approval to register for an AP class
  • An override option is not available for AP courses
  • All AP teachers will provide students with summer work to prepare for the rigor of the AP course
  • AP rosters will be final in June. No additional students will be able to join the class in the Fall due to summer work requirements.
  • Students withdrawing from an AP course during the Fall course change period will receive a withdrawal (“W”) on transcript. Any withdrawals after the course change period will result in a withdrawal failure (“WF”).
  • All AP students are required to take the Collegeboard AP exam in May, no exceptions. AP Registration Procedures
  • Course requests for AP classes will be reviewed with the student by the counseling staff
  • Students meeting the prerequisite with their first semester grades will be added to the class roster
  • Students not meeting the pre-requisite with first semester grade will choose an alternate course with their counselor & will be given a Request Form for AP Placement Approval to be completed & given to the appropriate Department Head
  • Department Heads will review all AP rosters and students will be notified by their counselor if they are not approved
  • The student’s current teacher will meet with those students not approved and discuss areas needing improvement for second review at the end of May
  • At the end of May, Department Heads will complete a final review of AP class rosters and will communicate final placement decisions to the Counseling Office
  • Newly approved students will be placed in class by their counselor & counselors will meet with students who do not receive final approval to select an alternate course
  • Any parental or student questions or concerns regarding the approval process should be directed to the current teacher or Department Head

AP REGISTRATION PROCEDURES

  • Course requests for AP classes will be reviewed with the student by the counseling staff
  • Students meeting the prerequisite with their first semester grades will be added to the class roster
  • Students not meeting the pre-requisite with first semester grade will choose an alternate course with their counselor & will be given a Request Form for AP Placement Approval to be completed & given to the appropriate Department Head
  • Department Heads will review all AP rosters and students will be notified by their counselor if they are not approved
  • The student’s current teacher will meet with those students not approved and discuss areas needing improvement for second review at the end of May
  • At the end of May, Department Heads will complete a final review of AP class rosters and will communicate final placement decisions to the Counseling Office
  • Newly approved students will be placed in class by their counselor & counselors will meet with students who do not receive final approval to select an alternate course
  • Any parental or student questions or concerns regarding the approval process should be directed to the current teacher or Department Head

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