The world-recognized AP (Advanced Placement) Program curriculum is a university course opened in high schools in America, paving the way for students to study at universities.
Started in 1955, it offers 37 courses and exams covering 22 subject areas including English, Mathematics, Computer Science, History, Music, the Arts and even Chinese (from 2008).
More than 15,000 high schools in the United States offer the courses and about 1,100 high schools outside the country have also registered as member schools.
High school students can take some first and second year university courses and the AP credit earned can be transferred to the university credit.
The program can also help students enter top universities easier because many well-known universities, such as Harvard, consider the AP an important standard to evaluate student abilities and logic. The AP exam grades are accepted by more than 4,000 universities across 57 countries.
The highest score for the exam is 5 points. Most universities will accept scores over 3 points and allow students to replace credits for one year at most. Some top universities, such as Harvard, only allow students with 4 or 5 points to replace credits.
The 21st Century Experimental School in Beijing was the first school in China to become an authorized examination center for the program in 2007.
At the moment, at least 10 schools in eight cities in China — including Shenzhen, Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou — have become member schools and examination centers for the AP Program.
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