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Advanced Placement Courses

Advanced Placement Courses

ADVANCED PLACEMENT COURSES Advanced Placement (AP) classes provide the most rigorous level of coursework offered at Merced High School. According to data collected by the College Board, a high school curriculum of high intensity and quality, such as that found in AP courses, has the strongest correlation to bachelor's degree completion. Studies found that 85% of those who took AP courses continued their education after high school. Additionally, research has shown that students who participate in AP classes in high school receive average grades better than 3.0 in college. AP classes require some special attributes if students are to succeed.

The following questions might help you determine if you are a good candidate for Advance Placement coursework.

1. Have you received A's or B's in advanced, honors and pre-AP classes?

2. Do you have excellent study skills and excellent study habits?

3. Are you willing and able to give the extra time required for AP classes in terms of homework?

4. Are you genuinely interested in knowledge and the learning process?

5. Are you responsible for your own learning--using teachers and other resources as aides, not as crutches?

6. Are you looking forward to a rewarding and intellectually stimulating class where learning will only be limited by your own actions and enthusiasm?

7. Are you ready to challenge yourself?

8. Do you realize that an AP class may be incompatible with employment or if you are involved in numerous outside commitments?

9. Are you taking this class mostly because your parents want you to?

10. Are you only taking this class so that it will look good on your transcript?

If you answered YES to questions 1-8 and NO to questions 9 & 10, you are a good candidate for an AP course. These classes are more like college classes because of the subject matter studied and because each student is expected to assume the responsibility of completing assignments in a manner requested by the instructor. Students who know that they are often absent should not add the stress of AP to their schedules.



A contract will be required for any student who plans to enroll in an AP course. Please read the contract carefully before signing.

AP Exams At the conclusion of an AP course, students have the opportunity to take the corresponding AP Exam. AP Exams are 2-3 hours in length and are administered in May. They are made up of multiple-choice and essay questions. They are graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with a score of 3 or higher considered a qualifying score. There is an exam fee of approximately $85. If there is financial need, please notify the counseling staff and they might be able to obtain a fee waiver.

To ensure that all students and parents fully understand the AP courses the student selects, we would like to provide some brief information about the expectations for each AP course offered at Merced High School.


AP Courses offered at Merced High School

AP ART. AP Art Studio students need to understand the importance of not only the quality of their artwork but the quantity as well. The more pieces of art a student has increases their chances for success on the portfolio evaluation. For this reason, students should do as much artwork as they can over the summer and at home during the school year.

AP BIOLOGY. This is a rigorous class taught at the college level. Students are expected to have already completed an introductory Biology class. They also must plan to devote the equivalent of one hour of reading every day. When there is a scheduled test or lab, students come before school to be able to finish their task. There are a few labs and a practice test for the A.P. Exam (also finals) that will be done on a weekend.

AP CALCULUS. It is essential that the entering student be very good at algebra and trigonometry, and the concepts taught in Pre-Calculus. A summer assignment is given.

AP CHEMISTRY. This course is the second class in a two year Chemistry program. Students enrolled should be able to read and write chemical formulas and equations and should be able to work with stoichiometric ratios and problems. Student must also possess the ability to manipulate algebraic equations and solve for any of the unknown quantities. Labs are required and may start before the beginning of the regular school day.

AP GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS. This course is taught with the conviction that students want to know about their own government. Students will be challenged with assignments involving outside reading, analysis, synthesis, essay writing, and class presentations. Speaking in class will be essential for success in AP Government as students must participate in regular Socratic discussions. It is important that every student stay abreast of recent political events in order to be able to intelligently discuss current events during class time.

AP LANGUAGE AND COMP. This course focuses on preparation for the AP exam, coverage of California Language Arts Standards for 11th grade, and preparation for the English 4 AP Literature course. Summer work typically consists of reading two assigned novels accompanied by a short writing assignment. The work completed over the summer will contribute to the first quarter grade.

AP LITERATURE. Some summer reading and reports will be given and should be completed upon return in the fall unless other arrangements have been made. Students should be comfortable with extensive essay writing. Above all, a student must have a mature and scholarly attitude regarding the course content and academic requirements. There will be graded encounters with actual AP exams from previous years. It helps enormously if a student reads voluntarily for pleasure.

AP PHYSICS. This course is the second class in a two-year Physics program. A student entering without completing the regular Physics class is at a distinct disadvantage. A student may take AP Physics without taking the regular course if they complete a simple course of assignments reviewing essential information over the summer. This work must be completed by the start of classes for the Fall semester.

AP SPANISH LANGUAGE. The purpose of this class is to develop independent and analytical learners by exposing them to various high levels of thinking and writing in the Spanish language. Students will acquire proficiency in reading, writing, and academic oral Spanish. All students who have successfully completed Spanish 3 are eligible to take this class. However, the proficiency level of the student in Spanish will dictate the amount of work that will be necessary to successfully complete the course.

AP STATISTICS. The purpose of the course is to introduce the students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing and drawing conclusions from data. Students will study four broad conceptual themes. Students must have already passed Algebra II and are expected to take the AP exam. AP statistics is beneficial for those students who are taking AP science courses, as well as for students who wish to continue in math and develop quantitative skills.

AP U.S. HISTORY. The content and pace of this course is extremely fast. One and a half to two chapters a week will be covered in order to finish with time to review for the AP test in May. Students must read the text and keep up with all work to expect to get an "A". A summer reading assignment will be given. The assignment will be reviewed the first week of class, and will be completed with a take-home type test. The work completed over the summer will contribute to the first quarter grade.