28 March 2012Judith Hegedus, executive director international initiatives, College Board, that conducts the Advanced Placement (AP) exam, talks to SANGEETA YADAV, on how students earn foreign university credits while still in school
- What is Advanced Placement Programme (AP) all about?
The AP courses are like college preparatory courses for secondary school students (class 9th-12th) who wish to study at a foreign university. The course usually enhances the existing curriculum of secondary school. It is a unique programme that has been developed keeping in mind the students likes and dislikes. Although it began in the US around 1956 and then was adapted by some universities in Canada, international numbers have picked up only in this decade. We felt there was a need to expand this AP programme in India.
- Why is it necessary to enroll for this programme?
In universities based in the UK, they don’t look at the percentage that you have been awarded in the board examination, they will put you through a one year foundation course to judge whether you are eligible to get admission in their UG programme.
With the AP programme along with your schooling, you can directly get admission on the basis of AP credit score. Such students don’t require to go through the rigorous foundation course. More than 60 European countries recognise AP as a standardised curriculum that stands for rigour and excellence.
- In India you have tied-up with the reputed Manipal University…
Yes that’s true. The idea to expand operations in India and bring in this strict curriculum to Indian students arose when we saw that the number of students wishing to study abroad had increased manifold. Since we are based in New York we needed an Indian connection and who better than the Manipal educational group which has been pioneer in global education.
- How will this unique programme help students in getting admission?
The very fact that the AP is a college level programme it means that the student has covered material that he/she was supposed to have done in the first year of regular college. So students who have enrolled in this programme can skip the first year and they can get admission directly to second year depending upon their credit which they get from the exam. For instance, if I want to go to the university of US for computer science or computer engineering, I’ll do a study at APs and I’ll skip my entire first year and go directly to second year because graduation in US is based on the number of credits you get from the described combination of course.
- Your association with the NGO, College Board goes a long way…
Yes. The organisation has been around since 1900. It was established by a group of prominent US universities and we have grown in the coming years. Today we have many members. Our mission is to help students to get the international college of their for choice because that is very difficult to get. We also run university entrance examination like the SAT.
- How many courses do you offer?
We offer 34 courses in total but the maximum number of courses that our member schools generally take is 27. However, it is entirely up to the students as to how many courses they would want to take up in the programme.
- What is the eligibility criteria?
Anyone can take up this programme. The only thing we are concerned about is the interest level and the amount of hard work that a student is willing to put up.
- How does a school become a member school for this programme?
Any school which wishes to attach itself to our organisation can apply directly to the College Board and check your accreditation, and other requirements and then we assign them a code with which they would be able to teach AP courses along with specialised materials. And this needs no membership, no special partnership.
- Are the AP courses available online?
Students who wish to take up the AP courses can log on to our website and can avail of the free online material. The AP course is meant for one and all and we do not want to wish to limit these.
- How many schools offer this AP programme?
More than 18,000 schools in 115 countries offer the AP courses and exam, where students can take college-level courses while they are still in school. There are many AP schools in India who are participating in this programme and we are also looking to expand.
- What about the Delhi connect?
Apart from the United States India Educational Foundation (USIEF) — Delhi, students can register with MeritTrac whose Delhi centre is the Modern Public School.
- What is the general format of the exam?
The three-hour exam is offered in pencil and paper format. On an average, 50 per cent of the test has multiple-choice questions and 50 per cent has free response or essay type questions. It may vary slightly with the subject.
- What is the fee requirement?
The exam is conducted once a year in May for two weeks all over the world and students can get their scores in July. The exam fee is around $143 dollars, excluding the tax in the test centre.