Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement

Introduction to the AP

The Advanced Placement (AP) program was created by the College Board and was designed to cater to secondary students who wish to undertake university-level, typically introductory or first -year, courses. There are a host of very good reasons to take the AP – to study something challenging that is of interest; save on college tuition or win scholarships (approximately 30% of college scholarships use AP scores); get into a preferred university; earn college credit or leapfrog university courses that could otherwise take up to a year. The wide range of choice and flexibility of the AP program is a product of American educational values that recognize the uniqueness of each student and the student’s ability to select the subjects and level of challenge that is right for him or her. AP classes are open to normally Grades 10 to 12 and culminate in rigorous exams held in May. Universities in more than 60 countries recognize AP exam scores in their admission process and grant credit and/or advanced placement. Although not obligatory, currently over 2.6 million students and growing take AP exams every year in 36 subjects:

AP Capstone Diploma Program Arts English
AP Research AP Art and Design Program AP English Language and Composition
AP Seminar AP Art History AP English Literature and Composition
AP Music Theory
Math and Computer Science Sciences AP World Languages and Cultures
AP Calculus AB AP Biology AP Chinese Language and Culture
AP Calculus BC AP Chemistry AP French Language and Culture
AP Computer Science A AP Environmental Science AP German Language and Culture
AP Computer Science Principles AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based AP Italian Language and Culture
AP Statistics AP Physics 2: Algebra-Based AP Japanese Language and Culture
AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism AP Latin
AP Physics C: Mechanics AP Spanish Language and Culture
AP Spanish Literature and Culture
History and Social Sciences
AP Comparative Government and Politics
AP European History
AP Human Geography
AP Macroeconomics
AP Microeconomics
AP Psychology
AP United States Government and Politics
AP United States History
AP World History: Modern

Some secondary schools will not offer all of the AP courses listed above. However, where this is the case, you can often take the AP course through a third-party provider. Most schools will often also have prerequisite courses you have to take before you can sign up for an AP class. The schools in Hong Kong offering AP include

  • American International School
  • Christian Alliance International School
  • Concordia International School
  • Hong Kong International School
  • International Christian School
  • The Harbour School (The Garden)

What is the AP Capstone Diploma?

This College Board program grants status for 2 levels of achievement. First, the Capstone Diploma requires students to earn a score of 3 or higher on 4 AP exams of their choice and to take 2 classes – AP Seminar and AP Research. These courses are devoted to developing soft skills like critical thinking and research. Second, the AP Seminar and Research Certificate can be earned by students who do not score 3 or above on 4 additional AP courses.

In a way, AP is adopting some of the IB’s holistic pedagogy with the Capstone. However, AP’s philosophy and emphasis are still to expose high school students to college level work and enable those who pass their AP exams to earn college credit at participating universities.

How to Get a 5 on the AP Exam

At CANA, we want to strengthen students’ university application by providing counsel on which AP subject exams and what combination of AP subjects could be attempted in an academic year and at a rank. We also provide support for students who are studying an AP class on their own rather than enrolling in their home school due to various reasons. For these students, engaging a tutor will help with checking their understanding of key concepts, covering the curriculum in a timely manner and at a good pace, and locating relevant study and practice materials.

Our tutors will guide you through taking and organizing effective notes. We will sort past exams by topic to enhance practice drilling and to consolidate learning. As all of our tutors have scored 5s on the AP exams in question or have coached and instructed students who have subsequently earned 5s, you are in good hands when it comes to seeking first-hand experience of test-taking strategies and problem-solving methodologies that will maximize your scores.

Commonly Asked Questions



Here at CANA Elite, we truly believe that every student is unique and has the potential to reach their goals with the right guidance. Academic excellence is derived from both passionate teachers and eager students. That is why we provide a unique learning experience tailored to each individual student. Named after the location of the first miracle in the Bible, we hope CANA elite can be the place of miracles for all our students, allowing them to achieve their dreams.