Advanced Placement® (AP) Program

College-Level Challenge

Bear Creek's AP Program gives students the opportunity to rise to college-level challenges in high school, enables them to potentially receive both high school and college credit, and prepares them to enter higher education well-prepared for its demands. College applicants who have taken AP courses in high school are often viewed more favorably by college admissions staff and traditionally have outperformed non-AP college students academically.

Upon completion of a Bear Creek AP course, students take the nationally-coordinated AP Exam in May. According to their performance on the exam, students may be awarded credit or advanced standing from the colleges that they attend. The exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with a grade of 5 receiving the rating of “extremely well qualified.” Generally a score of 3 or above earns college credit. Students are encouraged to evaluate the credit policy for each college or university of interest. Credit policies vary from college to college.

AP courses are college-level courses taught by Bear Creek faculty with guidance by The College Board.

The College Board's AP Program

What courses are taught at Bear Creek?

Bear Creek offers the following AP courses:

  • AP Calculus AB*
  • AP Calculus BC*
  • AP Statistics*
  • AP Biology*
  • AP Chemistry*
  • AP Physics 1*
  • AP Language and Composition
  • AP Literature and Composition
  • AP European History
  • AP U.S. History
  • AP Music Theory*
  • AP Computer Science A*

* See course catalog for prerequisites.

Upper School Course Catalog

Additionally, students who are passionate about a subject not listed above may choose to study independently for any (except language) of the AP Exams offered by the College Board, e.g. AP Psychology, AP Macroeconomics, or AP Art History. Bear Creek will administer the AP Exam in May at the designated time.

How does an AP course compare to other high school courses?

Advanced Placement classes are designed to mirror courses offered on college campuses. They are more challenging and require personal discipline and independent study techniques. Students will experience an increased reading load and longer writing assignments in most AP classes. AP courses attract students who are academically motivated, personally invested, and diligent.

AP courses culminate each May with a national examination in each subject area. Students may earn college credit based on their exam score (typically with a 3 or higher).

What skills would enhance my ability to succeed in an AP class?

Students who choose to enroll in AP classes typically bring a well-developed skill set in the following areas: ability to analyze content, draw comparisons, and effectively reason through problems. They must be able to read perceptively and independently. Additionally, students need to be proficient in writing concise and clear essays. Students must have a minimum of a B in prior academic department coursework to qualify for AP course enrollment.

How many AP courses should I take in one academic year?

Given the high commitment level and increased demand, course selection should be considered carefully. All students in grades 11 and 12 who meet qualifications should consider at least one AP course each year. Many students carry two AP courses. Students rarely take three AP courses in a single year. Due to the advanced level of course content and necessary prerequisite skills for success, all AP course selection require approval, and students must petition to enroll in more than two AP courses.

Petition to Enroll in Multiple AP Courses 

In exceptional circumstances, students may take an AP class not typically offered in their grade; submit this petition to enroll in an AP course out of sequence.

Petition for Non-Standard Course Progression

Is there a fee to take an AP course?

While there is no additional charge to take one or more AP classes, The College Board charges an exam fee. In March, families pay online for the exam(s) prior to students sitting for AP Exams in May.

Are there any additional benefits to AP course work?

Students who succeed in AP courses generally do well in college as a result of the exposure to collegiate teaching and testing methodology, and increased academic preparation. All AP courses are noted on the official Bear Creek transcript.