Advanced Placement (AP)

  • The Advanced Placement Program (AP) enables willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school.

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

    Fast Facts

    • There are 38 AP courses in seven subject categories overall.  Santa Ana Unified offers 28 of those courses at one or more of the comprehensive high schools.
    • Each AP course is modeled on a comparable introductory college course in the subject. Learn how AP courses are developed.
    • Each course culminates in a standardized college-level assessment or AP Exam.
    • AP Exams are given in May each year at testing locations all over the world.
    • Students that earn a "qualifying score" of 3 or better may earn college credit or advanced placement once they enroll in college. 
    • All SAUSD schools are authorized by the AP Course Audit to offer approved AP courses and use the AP designation.

  • Benefits of AP

    Learning in AP goes beyond subject matter.  Students will gain confidence and study skills that will stick with them long after the class is over. Taking AP helps students stand out in the college admission process and understand what it is like to be in a college class so they are better prepared for freshman year on campus. By taking AP courses and exams, students may be able to skip intro college courses, earn college credit, save money on tuition, and dive into interests sooner at college. Most importantly, research shows that successful AP students persist to a college degree within 4 years as compared to their non-AP peers. In addition, new research supports the fact that students who earn a score of 1 or 2 are more likely to perform better academically than their non-AP peers. 

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  • Am I ready for the challenge of AP?

    Things to keep in mind: 

    • AP is for all students - but you should be ready. You don't need to be top of your class to be an AP student, but you will want to be prepared for the AP course you choose. 
    • Match your course choices with your post-secondary plans. Not all colleges and universities grant credit or advanced placement for earning a qualifying score on an AP exam.
    • Be mindful to not "over program" yourself! You do not need to take 5 AP classes in one year. Balance your life and school. 
    • Ask current AP students about the courses they are taking. How much homework is given? What are the expectations of reading, studying and practice? 
    • AP courses can help you decide upon your potential college major. Did you love every minute or could you not wait for the year to end? 
    • Make an appointment with your school counselor to go over your test scores, grades and prerequisites before enrolling in an AP course. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you succeed. 
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Last Modified on December 4, 2023