2015 AP Parent Night Presentation

An Introduction to the
Advanced Placement Program®
Westmont High School
Westmont is committed to every student’s success.
We believe access to rigorous course work such as
Advanced Placement® (AP®) plays an important role in
that success.
What We'll Cover
•What are Advanced Placement® Courses?
•The Benefits
•AP® Exams
•Next Steps: The Process
•Course Presentations by Teachers
•Q & A
What Are Advanced Placement®
Advanced Placement ®: The Basics
• AP® courses are college-level courses
offered in high school
• Students take AP Exams at the end of the
course, measuring their mastery of collegelevel work
• A score of 3 or higher on an AP exam can
typically earn students college credit and/or
placement into advanced courses in college
Our AP® Courses
Arts: Studio Art: 2-D Design Portfolio
English: English Language and Composition, English Literature and
History and Social Sciences: Psychology, United States Government and
Politics, United States History, World History
Mathematics and Computer Science: Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Computer
Science A, Statistics
Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Physics 1, Physics 2
World languages: French Language and Culture, Spanish Language
AP® at Westmont
In the 2013-2014 school year 351 students took 650 exams.
This is up from 266 students and 577 exams in 2012-2013
44 Westmont students received the distinction of AP scholar.
• AP Scholars demonstrate superior college-level achievement
through AP courses and exams. They receive an award
certificate, and this achievement is acknowledged on any AP
score report that is sent to colleges the following fall.
Additionally, Westmont has created a summer AP Boot Camp
to help support students who are taking on an AP class for the
first time.
AP® Myths & Realities
AP courses are for students who always get good grades.
AP courses are for any students who are academically
prepared and motivated to take college-level courses.
AP courses are too stressful.
It's no secret that AP courses are challenging. But the
support you receive from your classmates and teachers
can help you manage the work load.
I don't think I will score high enough on the AP Exam to
get college credit.
You don’t need to score a 5. Many colleges grant credit —
and placement as well — based on a 3 or higher on an AP
Taking AP courses could hurt my GPA.
Students who take AP courses and earn a C- or higher will
receive an additional GPA point. Taking AP courses
shows colleges that you’re willing to challenge yourself
I can’t take AP because no one has recommended me.
If you think you’re ready to take an AP course, then
you’re ready to advocate for yourself — just talk to a
teacher or counselor.
AP®: The Benefits
AP®: The Benefits
Students learn rigorous college-level content and skills
Taking AP is valued in the college admission process
AP courses are interesting and rewarding academic experiences
Opportunity to earn valuable credit and placement in college
AP® from the College Admissions Perspective
85% of selective colleges and universities report that a
student’s AP experience favorably impacts admission
Colleges rank grades in college-preparatory courses and
strength of curriculum as the two top factors in the admission
AP courses tell college admission officials that students are
challenging themselves and preparing for the rigors they'll
encounter in their college careers
*Unpublished institutional research, Crux Research Inc., March 2007
AP®: Skills & Advantages that Last a Lifetime
Taking an AP course helps students build critical thinking skills,
confidence, and the essential time management and study
skills needed for college success
Nationally, research shows that students who score a 3 or
higher on an AP Exam typically earn higher grade point
averages in college and have higher graduation rates than
their non-AP peers*
*2009, The College Board, “The Relationship Between AP Exam Performance and College Outcomes"
AP® Helps Students Graduate on Time & Save Money
Students who take AP courses and exams are much more likely to
complete a college degree on time.* Graduating in four years
represents a significant savings on the cost of college.
Only 1 in 4 college students completes a bachelor’s degree in
4 years.
The average cost of college for a single year is $21,500** for
in-state schools (tuition, fees, room/board, misc. expenses).
*College Outcomes Comparisons by AP and Non-AP High School Experiences, The College Board, 2008
**The College Board, Trends in College Pricing 2011, Figure 1
Credit and Placement Opportunities
Each college and university has its own policies regarding AP® credit and
placement. The College Board offers information about AP credit at thousands
of college and universities at www.collegeboard.org/apcreditpolicy.
• Search by school name or alphabetically
• Data for each school includes a direct link to
that school’s Web page detailing AP credit
and placement policies
• A statement from the college or university
about its AP policy
AP® Exams
AP® Exams
AP Exams are administered by schools worldwide on set dates in
May each year.
• Exams are typically 2–3 hours and include:
Multiple-choice questions
Free-response items such as essays, problem solving,
document-based questions and oral response
AP® Exam Fees
The exam fee for 2015 is $91 per exam.
Assistance is available for eligible students with
financial need as determined by “Free & Reduced
Lunch” status.
Next Steps: The Process
Important AP Dates and Meetings
AP Commitment
Requires that you acknowledge that an
AP course is a year-long class, and that
both the student and parent sign,
indicating that both understand the
commitment the student is making.
• Requires that you talk to the teacher who
currently teachers the course in order to
understand what will be expected of you.
Due to Counselors no later than
January 30th
• Any student who does not make the
January 30th deadline will be
removed from any AP class(es) they
have signed up for.
AP®: Resources Worth Exploring for Students and Families
AP information: apstudent.collegeboard.org
College and Career Planning: bigfuture.org
Personalized feedback, practice and college planning based on
your PSAT/NMSQT® results: My College QuickStart™
AP credit policy information from colleges and universities:
Hear From Our Teachers
English Department
AP Language and Composition
For Juniors (Class of 2017)
College level analysis of
The art of manipulating language to
create a distinct effect on a reader
or audience
AP Language & Composition
Reading: non-fiction texts!
 Thorough analysis
 Persuasion
Synthesis of sources and insight, information and
AP Literature & Composition
Open to students currently in English 3, English 3 Honors, and AP Language
-College-level survey course of English literature 1600-Contemporary
featuring a wide range of essays, novels, plays and poetry
-Students will explore universal themes as they apply to their own lives
and in 12 literary works including Hamlet, Candide, Heart of Darkness,
Pride and Prejudice
The Stranger, Death of a Salesman and The Kite Runner.
-Course work involves small group discussion, small group assignments,
oral presentations, whole class discussion including Socratic seminars,
use of technology (slide shows, video summaries, blogs).
-Students will have 15 timed literary analysis essays based on previous
AP Literature essay topics.
-Students will take several timed multiple choice tests using previous
AP Literature tests.
-Students will examine the style of authors: use of punctuation, syntax,
diction, literary terms.
Social Studies Department
AP World History
• Sophomore Course
• No prerequisites
• Satisfies general education
requirement at most
• Emphasis on analysis,
writing, and critical
thinking skills
AP United States History
• Junior-year course, with no prerequisites
• More students nation-wide take this AP
class/test than any other
• Satisfies general education requirement at
most colleges
• Highlights critical reading and thinking skills
• Focuses on the ability to articulate higherlevel analysis, both verbally and in writing
AP Government & Politics
“The content is probably one of the most immediately
useful of any class in high school.” – current student
•Senior year of high school
•No prerequisites
•Satisfies both government and economics
requirements for high school graduation
•Satisfies political science general education
requirement at most colleges
•Provides in-depth knowledge of structure and
function of the U.S. political system
AP Psychology
- This is a year-long course
equivalent to a college
psychology course
- Senior year course
- The course covers multiple
approaches to
understanding human
behavior and mental
Art Department
AP Studio Art
What is AP Studio Art?
-Students submit actual artwork and digital slides for
-Portfolio Requirements: Quality, Breadth,
What are the Prerequisites?
-Students who have taken Art 1, 2, and 3
-Because of the rigorous quality and quantity of work
required for the portfolio submission, students should
take a two-course block: AP Art & Art 4
Examples of AP Studio Art
For the final portfolio that is submitted
electronically in May, AP student's are to
have completed between 20-24 works of
art. This is the main rationale for the prerequisites of previous Art 1-3 classes.
Math Department
Calculus vs.
Students can choose to take one or both, as
long as they have taken the prerequisites.
AP Calculus Students…
AP Statistics Students…
Are you thinking about majoring
in science, engineering, math,
economics, pre-med, etc.?
Are you thinking about majoring
in a language, history, psychology,
business, pre-law, etc.?
Were you successful in Trig?
Are you willing to spend time
solving problems that require
many computational steps?
Were you successful in Algebra II?
Are you willing to spend time
analyzing problems that require
written explanations?
Calculus AB vs. Calculus BC
Why Calculus? Because it makes Physics make sense…
And because everyone should know why the volume of a sphere
is 4πr3/3!
AP Calculus AB
• Covers one semester of
college-level Calculus.
AP Calculus BC
• Covers an entire year of
college-level Calculus.
• Pacing is comparable to Trig.
• Pacing moves faster than Trig.
• A great place for anyone who
did well in Trig but had to
work hard doing it.
• A great place for anyone who
did really well in Trig without
needing to work really hard.
• A great place for people who
want to be doctors.
• A great place for people who
want to be engineers
AP Statistics
Why Statistics? Because it makes the news make sense …
• Covers one semester of college-level Statistics.
• Pacing is comparable to Trig.
• A great place for anyone who did well in Algebra II and wants
more of a challenge.
• A great place for people who want to be engineers, politicians,
psychologists, entrepreneurs …or just about anything.
• The topics for AP Statistics are divided into four major themes:
conducting a study probability statistical inference.
AP Computer Science
Learn to think like Mr. Spock
Not just for future programmers
Critical thinking, analysis, design
Many varied applications in all
domains of human endeavor
• A liberal art
AP CS Prerequisites
Excellent math skills
(trig or more)
Patience, diligence,
attention to detail
Good time
management skills
World Languages Department
AP Spanish Language
¡Que viva el español
• Reviews and builds on Spanish 3 skills
3rd year college level course
• Conducted in Spanish
• Daily paired/group work
• Students encouraged and expected to speak Spanish
AP Exam Format
•65 multiple choice reading and listening questions
•2 written compositions
(letter and analytical essay)
•2 oral presentations
AP Spanish Language Expected Homework
Summer homework
• Weekly reading, writing and listening in order to
maintain skills over the long vacation
During the semester
• 1-2 hours of homework between classes
• 1 hour a week additional listening diary to be
completed outside the classroom
• AP workbook
Science Department
AP Biology
• Inquiry-based Investigations
• 5-10 hours/weekly outside of
• Prior Preparation: Biology,
Chemistry, Algebra II
• Comprehensive reading:
textbook, current science
articles & published research.
• Successful AP Biology students
come to class prepared, use
study hall, ask for help, work
with their peers & fully engage
in discussions and labs.
• Building models of systems
• Acting out processes
• Designing & carrying out experiments
• Discussions on real world applications
• Dissection
• Field Trip: Intertidal & Sand Crabs
Topics in AP Biology
• Evolution
• Organism regulation of energy & its systems
(kidney, brain, liver)
• Disease
• Communication: nervous, immune & endocrine
• Genetics & Genetic Engineering
• Interactions at the cellular level and within an
• Real World Applications
AP Bio Summer Assignment
• Field notebook with detailed observations on physical traits and/or
• Photos
• Sketches
• Specimens (plants, animal evidence, etc.)
• Summary relating observations with background research
AP Chemistry
Key Points:
- Includes 16 full-length labs.
- Exams require careful application of
multiple concepts simultaneously.
- Math skills are frequently used.
- Regular Chemistry is a mandatory
AP Chemistry
Notable Concepts:
- Molecular Geometry
- Intermolecular Forces
- Reaction Kinetics
- Acid/Base Equilibria
- Electrochemistry
3 Levels of Physics
Prerequisites Take with
per class
Integrated 2 15 – 30 mins
AP Physics 1
Integrated 3 45 – 90 mins
AP Physics 2
– 2nd year
AP Physics 1
45 – 90 mins
AP Physics 1
Foundation for ALL Engineering and Science majors
No prerequisites
Best taken concurrently with Trig/PreCalculus
Fewer topics but more in-depth than old AP
Physics B
Newton’s Laws
Work and Energy
Circular Motion
Introduction to electric
AP Physics 2
Foundation for ALL Engineering and Science majors
Prerequisites: AP Physics 1
Best taken concurrently with Trig/PreCalculus
Fewer topics but more in-depth than old AP
Physics B
Fluid statics
Fluid dynamics
Topics in modern
AP Physics 1 & 2
You can expect:
• Lots of hands-on activities.
• To use lots of math, especially trig.
• To do independent studying and research outside
of class.
• Lots of discussing and sharing with peers.
AP Physics 1 & 2
Student Survey: What advice would you give
someone thinking about taking AP Physics 1?
“It is a fun class but requires dedication.”
“Definitely be enrolled in trig or higher because there is
more math in Physics than in Chemistry or Biology. Give
Physics a chance. It took me a while to warm up to it, but
now its one of my favorite classes.”
“Make sure you have a solid background of trig/pre-calc.”
AP Physics 1 & 2
AP Environmental Science (APES)
Reality Check
• 1 in 5 people in the world do not have clean water
• 1 in 5 struggle to survive on less than one dollar
• In 2013, Bay Area commuters spent an average of
56 hrs in traffic along Highway 101, Interstate 280
within the city itself.
• Each day, Americans waste approx. 3.8 mil. gal.
of gasoline by voluntarily idling their cars
• California still needs 11 trillion gallons of water to end the drought (Ryan
Koronowski – “Climate Progress”)
• What does this mean. The surface area of California is approximately
163,695mi2. To get us out of the drought we need to cover 3 inches
above the entire surface of California (KLIV 1/5/15, Santa Clara Counter Water District)
The goal…
• To provide students with the scientific principles,
concepts, and methodologies required to understand
the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify
and analyze environmental problems and their risks,
and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or
preventing them.
• The content of this course is multi-disciplinary,
encompassing geology, biology, chemistry, physics,
sociology, economics, and political science. This course is
intended to challenge the students to examine their
thinking and assumptions, provide students with problemsolving skills, and increase your understanding of “local
and global environmental issues”.
Major Activities
• 8-Month Creek Survey using Vernier digital probe
• 5-Week Eco-column
• 5-7 day Green Food Challenge
• Reuse Project
• Solar Egg Project
• Sustainable Gardening (Food to Table)
• Year long Independent Research Project
• Field Trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium, Natural
Bridges Santa Cruz, SF Academy of Science
• And more…
Questions and Answers

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