Understanding the Advanced Placement Program and its Benefits

Understanding the Advanced Placement Program and its Benefits

7 mins read33.3K Views 36 Comments
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Aug 28, 2023 01:18 IST

AP or Advanced Placement Program is an exam that aims to get secondary school students with credits for college. Various US universities accept AP exams, which in turn helps students cut down their tuition fees and avoid introductory courses at the university they are planning to study at. There are certain rules and regulations that have to be followed if planning to appear for an Advanced Placement Program exam. 

advanced placement prog (ap)

Applicants are restricted to appear for the same subject exam in the same year, however, they can re-appear for the same subject/exam in the consequent year. No two exams can be scheduled for the same date and time. Let us look at the article for more details on the AP exam. 

What is the Advanced Placement Program?

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) is a rigorous academic program that gives motivated students the opportunity to pursue university-level studies while still in secondary/high school. The AP offers a curriculum designed by college professors who are experts in their fields. The program tests students on knowledge and skills in high-demand fields such as science, math, & English. Available in over 20 subjects, taking AP Exams can help students stand out in the college admissions process, earn college credit, and build skills that are essential for success in college and beyond.

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Indian students thinking of heading to the US, Canada, UK, Singapore, Australia, or other countries for undergraduate studies can benefit immensely from taking AP courses and exams. AP courses and exams are designed to prepare students academically for college-level work. Taking an AP course will help your college application process, and developing skills in areas such as science, math, social studies and language will provide you with a strong academic foundation. Established in the 1950s, AP has helped students achieve their dream of university study around the world for more than 60 years. In 2017, more than 2.2 million students took over 4.5 million AP Exams worldwide and sent scores to over 3,000 universities in more than 60 countries.

What are the benefits for an Indian student taking an AP exam?

There are many benefits for an Indian student taking AP Courses and Exams.

  • Taking AP courses helps students stand out in the college admissions process, by demonstrating to admission officers that they have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them. Universities around the world look favourably upon students who take AP courses and exams because performance in AP demonstrates a student’s commitment and ability to succeed at university-level studies.

    College admissions officers are looking for students who have sought the most rigorous curriculum available. Many parents and students are unaware of how to help their college application go smoothly and have many questions surrounding their AP courses.

  • AP Exams enable students to earn college credit or advanced placement before they even start college, which can enable them to graduate early (students can sometimes save as much as a year at college), save tuition, pursue a double major, move into upper-level courses sooner, gain time to travel abroad, or complete an internship. Over 90 per cent of universities across the U.S. offer credit, advanced placement or both, on the basis of successful AP Exam scores. Additionally, all leading universities in Canada and the UK recognize AP for admission, credit or placement, as do many European universities. Credit policies differ by college, so students should understand the policies of the colleges they are interested in. To view credit policies for US colleges, students can visit www.collegeboard.org/apcreditpolicy and to check AP policies at universities outside the US, visit www.collegeboard.org/apintl.
  • The AP Program recognizes high school students who have demonstrated outstanding college-level achievement through AP courses and exams, with the AP Scholar Awards (non-monetary). Indian students also have the opportunity to earn the Advanced Placement International Diploma (APID), by achieving a score of 3 or higher in 5 or more AP Exams. Succeeding in AP Exams can also help students earn academic scholarships and awards from colleges and universities directly.
  • AP can help a student illustrate his or her competence in a particular field of study and can also give students an opportunity to study a subject that they are interested in, but not able to study at their school. Some students take AP Exams to complete their General Education requirements at university.
  • AP courses and exams help students develop the critical thinking, reasoning, problem-solving and communication skills that are essential for success in college and beyond. This is especially important in the Indian context, as the studying methodology in schools following the Indian curriculum, can sometimes be very different from what has practised abroad.

    The courses are divided into three categories: humanities, sciences, and social sciences.

  • Universities across the world recognize the AP Program, and AP Exams are taken by students in more than 120 countries. A score of 5 in an AP Exam is interpreted the same way, whether that student is from Nairobi, New Delhi or New York. Hence, AP Exams also allow Indian students to provide a score from a standardised and globally recognised academic program in their college applications.

Advanced Placement Program Eligibility

In order to sit for the AP program exam, secondary school students in India should fulfil the following eligibility criteria before sitting for the exam:

  • Students must be enrolled in a recognised secondary school.
  • Secondary school-level students who are homeschooled or participate in independent study or attend a virtual school are also eligible.
  • Those students who are actively enrolled and may be prepared to take an AP Exam prior to the ninth grade can go for it too.
  • Recent secondary school pass-outs who need some specific AP Exams for university admission are also eligible to sit for the exam. 

Who creates the content for AP and what subjects are exams available in?

AP courses and exams, available in India in 23 different subjects across Sciences, Mathematics, Social Science, Languages, and Art, are developed by committees of American and international university professors who work alongside expert high school teachers. AP committee members teach at top colleges and universities such as Columbia UniversityHarvard and The University of Pennsylvania.

When can students take AP Exams and what is the exam format?

AP is flexible, allowing students to take as many or as few exams as they wish to, in any given year. Students usually take AP Exams in Grades 11 or 12 or both, but some take them earlier, in Grades 9 or 10. Some students also choose to take AP Exams in a gap year after completing high school, before they go to college. AP courses are taught in several schools in India, but students also have the option to self-study and take AP Exams. The exams, which take place in May every year, have a combination of multiple-choice and free-response questions, and are between 90-200 minutes in length, depending on the subject.

AP Test Centres in India

The following test centres conduct the Advanced Placement Program exams in India:

Indian Cities for AP Conduction State Indian Cities for AP Conduction State
Ahmedabad Gujarat Coimbatore Tamil Nadu
Amritsar Punjab Dehradun Uttarakhand
Bangalore/Bengaluru Karnataka Erode Tamil Nadu
Bhubaneswar Odisha Hyderabad Telangana
Chandigarh Chandigarh Indore Madhya Pradesh
Chennai Tamil Nadu Jaipur Rajasthan
Korani Kerala Kolkata West Bengal
Uttar Pradesh
Noida Delhi NCR
Ludhiana Punjab Pune Maharashtra
Mumbai Maharashtra Rajkot Gujarat
New Delhi Delhi NCR Visakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh

Please note, that the registrations for AP open up with test centres in mind, applicants can directly apply through the corresponding test centre link on the College Board website. 

How can students register for AP Exams in India and what is the cost?

The AP Exams will be held in the year 2024 for these dates: from May 6-10 and May 13-17, and the registrations for the exams are open from September – mid-November 2023. Students will be able to take exams at any of the 16 test centres spread across India. All information related to the Registration Process is available on www.ap-india.org. AP Exams are priced at $94 per exam (Approx. Rs. 7590 in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi).

The College Board also offers students the option to take AP Exams during the ‘Late Testing’ period, which will be held from May 22-24, 2024. If students cannot take AP Exams during the Regular Testing period due to unavoidable circumstances, such as a clash with other national exams, extreme illness, etc., they can register for AP Exams during Late Testing.

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Aishwarya Bhatnagar
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Aishwarya is a professional Writer currently working as a Study Abroad Expert in the Editorial Team at Shiksha. She has over 5 years of experience and is skilled at creating Online Content with leveraged knowledge i... Read Full Bio

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Aditya Pandey

a year ago

Can we take AP after 12th(like i am currentlyin 12th and want to give it in may 2023)? And will top universities accept this? Also which AP should i take for medical ug courses?

Reply to Aditya Pandey


Kunal Chandola

2 years ago

Can i get credit points from iit after cracking ap exam with 4 score?

Reply to Kunal Chandola

Credits are offered only for AP exams.



2 years ago

Can i use my AP results for admissions in European and UK universities instead of CBSE?

Reply to Jacob

AP scores are useful for credits and not as an eligibility criterion for admission. Basic eligibility includes Class 12 marks, TOEFL/IELTS results, etc.

Abdullah Arham

2 years ago

Thanks a lot Ma'am, instead of preparing for AP I will try approaching for Cambridge A level .

Hi Abdullah, please read the article carefully. Nowhere it is written that AP is a replacement for Class 12 qualification. "Taking AP courses demonstrates to college admission officers that students have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them"/"prepares for university-level studies".


Gaming Mania

2 years ago

should i apply for university after class 12 or during class 12th ?

Reply to Gaming Mania

Usually, students prepare for AP during their class 12.