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AP exams & first year uni credit

A photo of willeh willeh
I'm taking 5 AP courses in the upcoming school year in grade 12 (bio, chem, physics, adv. functions and calculus) and I'm wondering how many AP exams should I write, because I heard that it is pretty expensive to enter an AP exam (I think it's $87/each, not sure if it's more in Canada), and I don't even know which first year course does the AP exam credit goes to,and if it is a good idea to actually skip those courses in first year. I'm pretty confused here and would like some help, thanks in advance!
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A photo of ktel ktel
It's up to you whether you want to take the first year credit or not. I know a guy in IB who basically skipped his first year of university and therefore got into med school after 2nd year. Pretty crazy.
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A photo of aquarius aquarius

@willeh wrote
I'm taking 5 AP courses in the upcoming school year in grade 12 (bio, chem, physics, adv. functions and calculus) and I'm wondering how many AP exams should I write, because I heard that it is pretty expensive to enter an AP exam (I think it's $87/each, not sure if it's more in Canada), and I don't even know which first year course does the AP exam credit goes to,and if it is a good idea to actually skip those courses in first year. I'm pretty confused here and would like some help, thanks in advance!





Most universities will give you maximum only 2 credits which is roughly 4 of the above courses. You need to go to the respective University sites as they all have their own rules. Check out also http://www.ap.ca/pages/04_AP_policies.htm . From this site , you can see which universities gives you credit in certain AP subjects but keep in mind there is a maximum .
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A photo of Meridian Meridian
Willi, some thoughts from my experience (3 AP's taken in grade 12).

First, that is a lot of AP courses to take in a single year. Step back and write down why you are doing this. You sound like a high achiever, but maybe step back and focus on what your target is instead of doing "enriched" everything. Suggest you also check on a few things from below at your high-school.

At my high school, the AP content was alot more work and had more complex concepts. I had to work harder than my non-AP friends. AP Calc goes twice as fast.

Are all the AP courses a completely separate class. One of my AP classes was a combined class - had to essentially teach myself. Waste of time and stress.

Can you still achieve the same overage grade 12 average with the 5 AP classes as you might have in the regular class ? You will learn more in the AP class which can prepare you better for Uni - but consider if you are willing to risk lower grade 12 average. You almost have to look at who the teachers are and how they mark as much as how hard the content is. From another post you are expecting mid 90's - that is up in the big scholarship area --- 1-2% impact could be big. Scholarships don't look if it is AP or not.

On the University side,

Most Canadian schools require an AP score of 4 for equivalence. Some faculties require a full 5.

Each University and faculty in the school has a different perspective on whether they will accept the AP course as a first year equivalent. Most schools have a table on their website that lists the AP course and equivalent Uni course. Note that even if the school lists what they accept, the faculty will review your personal situation and make a call. My friend was denied first year AP calc 2 years ago even though they met the posted specifications. They are in Bio-Chem.

Also be careful if you do write the exam, where you send the results. If you declare a specific AP exam written, some Uni's will not allow you to take the equivalent 1st year course (the reverse situation to above).

Also consider that if you do land a big scholarship, they require you to take a full course load each term. So you can not use the AP credits as a way to decrease your course load in a certain term.

Consider if you do apply those 5 credits, you will be by-passing a bunch of first term courses. You will not be in the same classes as all your first year buddies, you may even have difficulty in aligning a schedule that has a mix of 1st and 2nd year classes.
You might even end up taking an elective that you did not plan on just because you were not able to take the 2nd year course as you do not have the other pre-reqs for it yet in first year.

I am only using 1 of the 3 AP's as a Uni credit (French). It really will only give me some upper year flexibility to take a science credit in place of completing one of my language electives. It did not impact my first year at all. I decided to not declare my AP calculus and just take the knowledge to help me do well in first year. AP Physics - well as I said above, that was just a waste of effort for me personally.

You can always take the AP courses and then when you get to the time to write the AP exam, decide then which to write/not write. By then you will probably already have your Uni early acceptance and can review that specific schools situation.

Cheers

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A photo of willeh willeh
Well, the biggest reason of me taking so many APs are due to the expectations of my parents (their philosophies of learning are "you can never learn too much", and "always aim for #1"), but I signed up for those courses also because I am very passionate about science and I believed that I could handle it. Looking at my marks from the 4 grade 11 AP classes that I took, I think I made the right decision, I got 95 for all three sciences and 96 for math. The AP classes at my scholl were, in my opinion, not very hard, mostly because you didn't really get tested for the AP stuff, and when you did, the marks didn't count if it hurts you more than it helps. However, the AP classes were faster than the regular classes (especially math) due to there being more stuff to learn, and quite some people felt unconfortable about that. And yes, the AP and regular classes were seperated at my school.

Anyways, Meridian, your info was really helpful, I never knew that some Uni's will not allow certain courses to be taken if AP exam are declared, do you know specifically which universities do this?

I have another question about course selection in unis, what are some typical mandatory and electives for first year life sci students, and how many courses/credits you'll need to earn for a whole school year? Sorry if I'm asking too much, but I have no clue how university course selection works, and who's better to ask than someone who's already there right?
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A photo of willeh willeh

@fxoqxc wrote
well first of all there's no ap exam for advanced functions.. for most AP advanced functions is just the normal course finished a month earlier so that BC calculus can be fit in before the end of may (and vectors afterwards).

i personally am taking ap math, and ap math only (took all ap in grade 11 though). i'm planning on still taking the 1st year courses in university.. i mean, why not? also, just be careful about using ap credits for first year sciences.. you're missing out on exam experience and all the labs/tutorials.



Is it possible to make a request to the prof in charge to allow you to participate in the labs/tutorials?
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A photo of Meridian Meridian
Hi Willeh,

An example AP info page for McGill is at this link. If you declare the AP exam , you cannot take the course for credit.

http://www.mcgill.ca/students/transfercredit/prospective/ap/

Most Ontario Universities have fairly common set of courses for first year sciences no matter what you actually apply to. Example, Western Bio-Med students still takes all the same 1st year science courses as any science students. MAC Health-Sci would be the exception. You will have 5 courses per term with each term having Math, Chem, Biol, Phys, Elective. The elective usually cannot be in science. Chem, Biol, Phys will usually be full year course. The math would usually be 2 of Calc1, Calc2, Functions, Stats. Chem, Phys, Biol will also have 3 hr labs every 2nd week.

I don't think trying to take the 1st year labs, if you are bypassing the course makes any sense. You will be already taking the 2nd year courses and their labs.

If going into life sciences, you might try to use the AP Calc and AP Physics. You could advance your start in the maths, and you might not take physics again depending on your path in Life Sci.

Cheers
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A photo of willeh willeh

@Meridian wrote
Hi Willeh,

An example AP info page for McGill is at this link. If you declare the AP exam , you cannot take the course for credit.

http://www.mcgill.ca/students/transfercredit/prospective/ap/

Most Ontario Universities have fairly common set of courses for first year sciences no matter what you actually apply to. Example, Western Bio-Med students still takes all the same 1st year science courses as any science students. MAC Health-Sci would be the exception. You will have 5 courses per term with each term having Math, Chem, Biol, Phys, Elective. The elective usually cannot be in science. Chem, Biol, Phys will usually be full year course. The math would usually be 2 of Calc1, Calc2, Functions, Stats. Chem, Phys, Biol will also have 3 hr labs every 2nd week.

I don't think trying to take the 1st year labs, if you are bypassing the course makes any sense. You will be already taking the 2nd year courses and their labs.

If going into life sciences, you might try to use the AP Calc and AP Physics. You could advance your start in the maths, and you might not take physics again depending on your path in Life Sci.

Cheers



Two things here:
1. Can you select which university to declare AP exams written to? I see that Mcgill and probably some other unis stop you from taking the corresponding first year courses after you declare the exam, but I saw on UBC's website that you can actually refuse the credit and take the course anyways.

2. What can I do with the freed course slot from bypassing a course? Can I take a second year course or another first year elective? And what are the benefits of doing so? Thanks!
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A photo of Meridian Meridian

1. Yes, you have control which Universities see which AP exam results. You might want to not select any Universities at the time you write the exam, and then follow up later by adding the Uni you want to see the results. It does cost $10-20 to do this afterwards via an automated phone system.

2. Any AP's that get counted as credits is like you have already taken the Uni course. It is up to you to figure out what you will do with that benefit. You might be able to skip forward to the 2nd year of that subject, or replace that slot with an elective or other discipline.

Points to keep in mind:

- many Uni's require you to start with a full course load in 1st year science.
- you may not yet have some other prerequisite for the 2nd year course that you may want to advance to.
- you may need faculty permission to register in 2nd year courses in 1st year (ex Western)
- first year probably has breadth requirements (ie you cannot take all sciences courses only).
- you might have scheduling issues fitting mix of 1st and 2nd year sciences. Depends on the size of the school how many different timeslots they have per course.


Calc might be a good candidate to use, maybe one of the sciences...

Good Luck
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