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Monday, December 10, 2007

AP Program in Canada

Posted by jjme

I apologize for my long hiatus. Working life isn't as pleasing as I thought it would be ... even though work only takes up 8 hours a day *ahem*

Anyway, there was a request for information on the Advanced Placement (AP) program in Canada. I will share this with everyone today.

The AP Program, which was established in 1955, is administered by the College Board with the services of Educational Testing Services of New Jersey. The AP courses and exams are at college/university level, and it is often a rigorous curriculum for students in their last years of high school. In many cases, students may take an AP course and concurrently earn credits towards the OSSD. It is recognized as credit transfers at many American and Canadian universities or colleges.

For example, a friend of mine took AP Calculus when she was completing her Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) at Columbia International College (CIC), Hamilton, ON. After completion, she applied to Canadian universities with her six Grade 12 credits (the minimum entrance requirement for most Canadian universities). As her Calculus course earned her AP credit, she immediately had that credit transfered over into her program of study at the university. In other words, she was exempted from the Science Faculty's introductory Calculus course at university. This is what distinguishes students who graduate with AP courses and regular OSSD courses.

Still, depending upon the student's academic background, he/she may qualify to write an AP exam at the high school. Some schools do not participate in this AP Program thus they do not have classes held for students intending to pursue the AP courses. Then again, I have heard of some students who study on their own and sit for the AP exam but they still require consent from parents, the school counsellor, and the College Board. You can view the list of participating schools in Canada here. CIC is one of them. Some popular exam choices include:

Art History / Studio Art
Calculus AB
Chemistry
English Literature & Composition
English Language and Composition
European
History
French Language and French Literature
German Language
Government & Politics: Comparative Human
Geography
Physics C: Mechanics

All examinations are written in May, and the results announced in July of each year. The AP grading scale used is as follows:

5 - Extremely well qualified
4 - Well qualified
3 - Qualified
2 - Possibly qualified
1 - No recommendation


Each university sets its own recognition policy. The policies vary not only from one college or university to another, but also across faculty departments at any particular university. Typically, an AP score of 3 or higher is the passing mark. Some universities want 4 or higher.

If you are a Malaysian student pursuing tertiary studies in Canada straight from O-levels/SPM, you would have to apply into an international college that can provide you the option of acquiring the OSSD, and subsequently the AP Program. You can try applying to a Canadian Public High School, but I doubt that it would be easy because often you have to be a permanent resident (PR), landed immigrant, or a citizen to be eligible. The SPM certification is not recognized in Canada, and so you have to prove that you can pass at least Canadian Grade 12 curriculum. I have friends from Chong Hwa Secondary School who took the SPM equivalent of O-levels exam (or it was some other exam which was only offered in private chinese schools), and they still could not transfer those scores over. But really, the difference is not in the syllabus itself ... it's more of the nature of teaching and education that Malaysian schools lack. Moreover, English is not our language of instruction in schools.

For more information, please see: www.ap.ca

My advise is to always ask the college/high school's AP Program participation and offered courses, as well as the different universities' AP credit transfer recognition. Hope that helps!
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