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AP at a Glance

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The Advanced Placement Program® (AP) enables willing and academically prepared students to pursue university-level studies while still in secondary school.

The program consists of university-level courses developed by the AP Program that secondary schools can choose to offer, and corresponding exams that are administered once a year.

Fast Facts

  • There are a possible 38 AP courses in seven subject categories available through AP International – Sir Allan MacNab Currently offers exams in 4 subjects; Calculus, Biology, Chemistry, and Literature. We are currently looking at adding additional AP opportunities in Politics and Studio Art.
  • Each AP prep course is modeled on a comparable introductory college course in the subject.
  • Each Grade 12 AP prep course culminates in a standardized college-level assessment, or AP Exam.
  • AP Exams are in May each year and are administered at Sir Allan MacNab.


Taking AP courses and exams can help students:

  • Stand out on university and post-grad applications.  Students who take AP exams show that they’ve challenged themselves with the most rigorous courses available to them. Success on an AP Exam shows that they’re ready for university-level coursework.
  • Earn university credit and/or skip introductory courses in college. Most four-year universities in North America—as well as many institutions in more than 100 other countries—grant students credit, placement, or both for qualifying AP Exam scores.

How It Works

Teachers Design Their Own AP Courses

The AP Program does not supply syllabi for AP courses. What we supply is a detailed set of expectations about what content a university-level course in that subject should cover. AP teachers design their own syllabi with these standards in mind. (They can also choose to use existing, approved syllabi.) We review each course design through a process called the AP Course Audit before authorizing your school to call the course “AP.”

The fact that teachers design their own AP courses—within guidelines that ensure that each course meets standards for university-level instruction—makes AP flexible and accessible for students and schools.

AP Exams Assess Knowledge and Skills Learned in the Course

Each AP course concludes with an AP Exam. These assessments are designed by the same expert committee that designed the course.

The exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5 by college and university professors and experienced AP teachers. Many U.S. colleges offer credit for AP Exam scores of 3 or higher. Most Canadian Universities offer credit for AP scores of 4 or higher; there are exceptions that accept a level 3 for credit. For the most part, Universities in Canada evaluate the AP results on an student to student basis.

AP Exams are administered at authorized schools and test centres. Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School in Hamilton is an authorized centre.

Learn how AP Exams are developed and scored.

Which Students Should Take AP?

All students who are willing and academically prepared to accept the challenge of a rigorous academic curriculum should be considered for admission to AP courses.

The AP College Board encourages the elimination of barriers that restrict access to AP courses for students from ethnic, racial and socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in the AP Program. Schools should make every effort to ensure that their AP classes reflect the diversity of their student population.

Who Can Teach AP?

There are no formal requirements or mandatory professional development for teachers of AP courses; however, even if it’s not required for the course, the AP Board strongly recommends that AP teachers take part in professional development in their subject area before teaching the AP course for the first time, and periodically thereafter. Teachers at Sir Allan MacNab that teach in the AP program have been approved syllabi or have current syllabi pending approval. Our AP teachers have also attended professional development offered by the International AP Board.

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) is a collaborative community of AP teachers and students, states, provinces, districts, schools, colleges, and universities committed to the daily work of developing college/university-level knowledge and skills. We’ve been delivering excellence in education to millions of students across the country since 1955. Students at Sir Allan MacNab have had the opportunity to take AP prep and exams since 2010.

Information has been copied from the Advanced Placement Canada Website and has been modified according to the AP offerings at  Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School (HWDSB) in Hamilton, Ontario.


Updated on Wednesday, November 03, 2021.
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