AP COURSES

Advanced-level courses are based upon previous achievement in a sequence of study; these courses are unique and require the student to show special ability in the subject. Courses falling in this category are the following:

Art History

Course Description:
Students are introduced to college-level art history and prepare for the AP Art History exam. They study the evolution of Western and non-European art in contemporary society by examining the major forms of visual expression in world cultures. Students analyze architecture, sculpture, painting, and the decorative arts within a historical and cultural context. They also focus on the ancient through the medieval periods of history, as prescribed by the College Board curriculum.

Average Reading Per Night: 6-8 pages.
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 1,3-5 Page Term Paper
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 5-6 open note quizzes and 1-2 exams (Midterm and /or End of Semester)
Other Expectations:
Must be in class daily to view slides.
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam:
Verbal PSAT Score: >45

Computer Science A (Java)

Course Description:
Advanced Placement Computer Science (APCS) courses are designed for students of high academic ability who have a strong interest in computer science and who want to prepare for the APCS A examinations (the AB will no longer be offered after 2009). In colleges recognizing the APCS examinations, a qualifying score gives the student college credit or advanced standing. The topics covered normally comprise 3 or more semester hours included in the first year of a computer science curriculum at the college level. Projects will require both rigorous problem definition and program implementation strategies that will be written in the Java programming language. Other course assignments will require developing, tracing, and analyzing code and algorithms.

Average Reading Per Night: 6 pages
Average Number of Programs Per Semester: 8 programs
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 4 or 5 quizzes/tests and small bi-weekly quizzes
Other Expectations: Attendance is crucial, expect to have to spend one lunch period in the lab for each missed class period. Work outside of class will be required and in some cases might require programming to be done at home or at school in the lab at lunch or before/after school.
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam:
no recommendation available


Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles


Course Description: Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles (APCSP) course is designed for students of high academic ability who have an interest in exploring computer science and who want to prepare for the AP CSP examination which includes two projects that are completed as part of the course and digitally submitted. This course, offered in partnership with Code.org, advances student understanding of the central ideas of computer science, engaging students in activities that show how computing changes the world. Through a focus on creativity, students explore technology as a means for solving computational problems, examining computer science's relevance to and impact on the world today. Students will work on different projects to explore computer science concepts and work with peers to create algorithms, protocols, design and test code, and analyze data. Students do not need to have a deep understanding of computer science before taking this course, they will explore concepts and write about the impact those concepts have in different problems and the real-world.

Average Reading Per Night: 1 page
Average Numbers of Papers per Semester: 3-4 large projects
Average Number of Tests per Semester: 5-6 quizzes/tests and small biweekly quizzes
Other Expectations: Attendance is crucial. Work outside of class will be required, and in some cases might require access to a computer, students can work in school in the lab at lunch or before/after school. 

 

Language and Composition (English 11)

Course Description:
AP Language and Composition A and B are designed for the highly motivated student. Students will read complex non-fiction prose written in a variety of periods and rhetorical contexts. They will learn and practice several high level critical reading strategies, including textual annotation. Students will also strive to become skilled analytical and persuasive writers, in part by writing frequently (bi-weekly), in-class, timed essays in preparation for the AP English La3-feb-09 ents may earn college English credit or advanced preferential placement in English.

The course assumes that students already understand and use standard English grammar. The course model in discussion-based, and students should realize that class participation will affect their performance and learning. Students complete a two-part research paper in this class, consisting of a critical analysis and a rhetorical analysis, due in the second semester.

Average Reading Per Night: 2-4 essays per week, with annotation and written analysis.
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 3
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: N/A
Other Expectations: Rising AP students are required to read two texts during the summer. The written assignments on these texts are due in the first week of school. These will represent significant grades in the first quarter, and thus should be polished, sophisticated papers.
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam:
Verbal PSAT Score: >55

Literature and Compostion ( English 12)

Course Description:
Able 12th grade students may elect this freshman college-level course as their English program. Within broad guidelines defined at the national level, the program stresses practical application of the principles of rhetoric and the close study of a wide selection of challenging literature, both classical and contemporary. Students deepen their understanding of how literature communicates meaning through form and content by reading and discussing works representative of dominant literary genres and themes. Students increase their precision in thought and expression by applying methods of literary analysis; they also write frequently and revise expository essays. Regularly students are expected to write sample AP essays as timed writings in class. At the end of the course students are prepared for and should take the annual Advanced Placement Examination in English and may receive college English credit or advanced, preferential placement in English.

Average Reading Per Night: 35 pages
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: Three (3) major papers
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: Perhaps 3-4 major tests, frequent quizzes are also given.
Other Expectations: Students are expected to actively prepare for class discussions by sometimes rereading the assigned material, preparing notes, reviewing discussion questions. Students should be prepared to participate fully in class discussions. Supplementary research related to the study of literature will also be an expectation of the course. Papers are often used as assessment measures.
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam:
Verbal PSAT Score >50

Foreign Language Courses

Course Description:
This course is for capable foreign language students interested in a college-level course and/or gaining advanced standing in college. Using the MCPS Foreign Language Program of Studies, students will concentrate on developing proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The Advanced Placement Language Examination is rigorous and demands a high level of student proficiency. In addition, this course will place emphasis on the mastery of linguistic competencies at a very high level of proficiency.

Average Reading Per Night:
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: One every two weeks
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: One every two weeks
Other Expectations: A lot of individual work to review grammar concepts
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam:
no recommendation available

Calculus

Course Description:
The topics studied in AP Calculus are those traditionally offered in the first year of calculus in college, and designed specifically for students who wish to obtain advanced placement in mathematics in college. Concepts are communicated graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally. The basic topics studied include limits and continuity of functions and derivatives and integrals of algebraic and transcendental functions and their applications in problems. The advanced topics developed and applied include integration techniques. The BC course also includes convergence tests for series, Taylor or Maclaurin series, elementary differential equations, and hyperbolic functions. A graphing calculator is required for the AP examination.

Average Reading Per Night: 30 to 45 minutes of homework per night
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 6 to 8 take-home tests per semester
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 8 to 10 tests and 6 to 8 quizzes
Other Expectations: Three ring binder, active/focused note-taking, independent and group study
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam:
PSAT Math Score: >65

Statistics

Course Description:
Students engage in the exploratory analysis of data and make use of graphical and numerical techniques to study patterns and departures from patterns. They generate conjectures about relationships among variables. Association is distinguished from causation. Data sets are collected according to a well-developed plan—census, sample surveys, experiments, and/or observed studies—from which inferences will be made. These data sets lay the groundwork for an ongoing, year long project. Students have the flexibility to conduct research and choose from data sets that are representative of their interests, academic goals, and career choices. Students are expected to produce models using probability and simulation. Statistical inference guides the selection of appropriate models. Models and data interact in statistical work; models are used to draw conclusions from data, while the data may support or discredit the model when analyzed with inferential methods. This course is the equivalent of a non-Calculus-based introductory college statistics course. A graphing calculator is required for the advanced placement examination.

Average Reading Per Night: 5-8 pages
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 1
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 4
Other Expectations: A strong understanding of math concepts through Algebra II and an ability to explain or confirm an argument in writing.
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam:
no recommendation available

Biology

Course Description:
Biology AP A and AP B are for students with a special interest in and high motivation for an in-depth study of the biological sciences. The emphasis is on laboratory investigation. Biology AP A and AP B build on the concepts covered in Biology A and B, with greater detail in content and with additional topics and laboratory investigations. The courses include topics of the Biology AP Curriculum that can be taught in two semesters. Students are expected to take the Advanced Placement Biology Examination at the end of the course. Topics in Biology AP include unity of life, cellular energetics, genetics, diversity of life, evolution, ecology, and behavior.

Prerequisite: Completion of Biology A&B and Chemistry A&B

Average Reading Per Night: 5 - 10 pages
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: none
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 8 - 10 performance of the 12 AP Biology labs
Other Expectations: none
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam: PSAT combined Verbal and Math Score: >110

Chemistry

Course Description:
Chemistry AP A and AP B are designed for the highly motivated student who wishes to achieve additional skills to ensure greater success in first-year chemistry at the college level. This course includes topics of the AP Chemistry curriculum that can be taught in two semesters. In Chemistry AP A and AP B, the emphasis is on problem solving, laboratory skills and chemical investigations. In Chemistry AP the topics are atomic theory, chemical bonding, phases of matter, solutions, types of reactions and equations, equilibrium, reaction kinetics, and thermodynamics. Students are expected to participate in the AP exam at the end of the course.

Average Reading Per Night: about 10 pages; plus problem solving HW= 40-50 min total time
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: none
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 4 - 6 Tests plus regular quizzes and labs
Other Expectations: The course is double period (hence the heavy homework schedule) and is very lab oriented - so lots of lab work and lab reports. The lab component is actually great fun!!
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam: PSAT Math Score: >65

Environmental Science

Course Description:
This course is based on the course outline designed by the College Board and provides students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them. Laboratory and field investigation compliment the classroom portion of the program, providing opportunities to test concepts and principles that are introduced in the classroom. Extensive fieldwork allows students to explore specific problems in ways that are challenging, realistic, and relevant to their lives. Students are expected to take the Advanced Placement Environmental Science exam at the end of the course. Topics for the course are those described by the Advanced Placement Program of the College Board.

Prerequisite: Completion of Biology and Chemistry Concurrent

Average Reading Per Night: 8-10 pages
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 0
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 8
Other Expectations: There is a great deal of emphasis placed on the application of scientific principles to real situations which is incorporated into every test. To be successful it is recommended that students have completed biology and chemistry with at least a B and have taken at least one honors level course.
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam: no recommendation available

Physics ( single period only)

Course Description:
This is a single period course. AP Physics is designed for students who wish to expand their understanding of physics beyond that expected of a first year student. The content and activities are drawn from the Advanced Place curriculum in physics. Students who complete the course are encouraged to take the AP Physics - C examination, which may earn them college credit or advanced standing. Calculus is used in class instruction for this course.

Topics covered in AP Physics include mechanics and vector analysis, kinematics, particle dynamics, work, momentum, collisions between moving bodies, rigid body motion, gravity, planetary motion, and harmonic oscillations.

Average Reading Per Night: problem solving is approx. 5 hours a week
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: none
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 7 (every 2-3 weeks)
Other Expectations: Completion of Physics A&B (Honors Preferred)
Corequisite: Enrollment in Calculus A&B
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam: PSAT Math Score: 65

United States Government and Politics

Course Description:
This course is for students desiring a freshman college-level course in American government. Students use college-level textbooks and engage in seminars, simulations, discussions, and debates. This course is a broad survey of the structure and function of American government and politics, beginning with an in-depth analysis of the Constitution as the foundation of the American political system. Students next study the three branches of government as well as the administrative agencies that support each branch, the role of political behavior in the democratic process, and the workings of political parties and interest groups. Throughout the course, students use the concepts of rights and responsibilities to help make judgments about the workings of American government and politics. This course prepares students for the AP U.S. Government and Politics examination.

Average Reading Per Night: 15 pages
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 1
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 10
Other Expectations: Participation in Seminars
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam: no recommendation available

National, State, and Local Government and Politics

Course Description:
This course is a year long survey of American government. Students use college-level textbooks and engage in seminars, simulations, discussions, and debates. The course combines the content and skill development of Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics and National, State, and Local Government. Students examine the structure and function of American government and politics, beginning with an in-depth analysis of the Constitution as the foundation of the American political system. Next, they study the three branches of government as well as the administrative agencies that support each branch, the role of political behavior in the democratic process, and the workings of political parties and interest groups. Throughout the course, students use the concepts of rights and responsibilities to help them make judgements about the workings of the American government and politics. This course prepares students for the AP U.S. Government and Politics examination and the Maryland State Government High School Assessment. Note: Advanced Placement National State, and Local Government and Politics may be used to satisfy the graduation requirement of a year in NSL A and B.

Average Reading Per Night: 8-15 pages
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 1
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 11 Chapter Tests and 4 Unit Exams
Other Expectations: Students should have a serious interest in the content and be committed to challenging themselves. Success of seminars and debates depends on keeping up with reading and research inside and outside of class.
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam: 
PSAT Verbal Score: >56

Comparative Government and Politics

Course Description:
This course is for students desiring a freshman college level course in comparative government. Students use college level textbooks and engage in seminars, simulations, discussions, and debates. The course is both a survey of the various forms of government found throughout the world and an in-depth study of specific governments and approaches to politics. Students begin by examining the concept of public authority and the sources of political power. They analyze the relationship between state and society and between the citizen and the state. Students compare the structure of governmental institutions in different countries and learn how each structure affects society in general and individuals in particular. Throughout the course, students focus on the concept of political change and the different methods used to effect such change. This course prepares students for the AP Comparative Government and Politics examination.

Average Reading Per Night: 15 pages
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 0
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 10
Other Expectations: 4 chapter summaries and 2 simulations required per semester.
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam: PSAT Verbal Score: >60

Eurpoean History

Course Description:
This course is for students who are interested in a freshman college-level course in European history. The course surveys European history from the 15th century to the present. A college-level text is used, and students engage in college-level writing and discussion. This course prepares students for the AP European History examination.

Average Reading Per Night: 10-20 pages, sometimes
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 1 each semester
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 8 or 9
Other Expectations:
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam:
PSAT Verbal Score: >55

Economics: Macroeconomics

Course Description:
This course is for students interested in college-level work in Economics. Study begins with fundamental economic concepts such as scarcity, opportunity costs, production possibilities, specialization, comparative advantage, demand, supply, and price determination. Major topics include measurement of economic performance, national income and price determination, and international economics and growth. Students use a college textbook, examine economic topics in depth, conduct basic economic research, read and write widely, and produce a variety of products. This course prepares students for the AP Macroeconomics exam. A more detailed description of the course can be found on the College Board website.

Average Reading Per Night: 8-10 pages
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 2 projects
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 4
Other Expectations: Participate in class discussions, this is not a "straight lecture" class. Complete economic theory problems and applications to improve learning of material. In addition to major tests, there are weekly chapter quizzes. An optional marking period project related to economic theory is presented.

Economics: Microeconomics

Course Description
This course is for advanced students interested in college level work in Economics and/or gaining advanced standing in college. The course begins with a study of fundamental economic concepts such as scarcity, opportunity costs, production possibilities, specialization, and comparative advantage. Major topics include the nature of functions of product markets, factor markets, and efficiency, equity, and the role of government. Students use a college textbook, examine economic topics in depth, conduct basic economic research. This course prepares students for the AP Economics: Microeconomics examination. A more detailed description of the course can be found on the College Board website.

Average Reading Per Night: 8-10 pages
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 2 projects
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 4
Other Expectations: Participate in class discussions, this is not a "straight lecture" class. Complete economic theory problems and applications to improve learning of material. In addition to major tests, there are weekly chapter quizzes. An optional marking period project related to economic theory is presented.

Psychology

Course Description:
This course is designed for students interested in a college-level course. Topics include trends and schools of modern psychology, characteristics and methods of psychological research, learning, perception, motivation, and the life cycle. This course differs from Psychology 1 in that students use a college textbook, examine topics in greater depth, participate more frequently in research and experimentation, read and write more extensively, and produce a wider variety of products.

Average Reading Per Night: Textbook reading - 10-15 pages
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 0
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 6 exams
Other Expectations: There are application assignments for each unit. The split between homework/class participation and projects vs. unit tests is roughly 50%-60%. There is a non-written research project first semester and students will be conducting and presenting their own experiments second semester.
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam:
PSAT Verbal Score: >52

Human Geography

Course Description:
This course is for students who desire a college-level course in geography. The purpose of the AP course in Human Geography is to introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to analyze human social organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice. This course prepares student3-feb-09 strong>Average Reading Per Night: 5-6 pages
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 1-2
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 4
Other Expectations:
1) daily attendance
2) data analysis - expectation is you will work to learn a variety of data
reporting methods and make use of such data
3) thought and discussion during class
4) understanding this is college-material and is treated as such
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam:
no recommendation available

Economics: World History

Course Description:
This course is for students who desire a college-level course in world history. Students use college-level textbooks and engage in seminars, discussions, and debates. The purpose of the AP World History course is to develop greater understanding of the evolution of global processes and contacts, in interactions with different types of human societies. This understanding is advanced through a combination of selective factual knowledge and appropriate analytical skills. The chronological time frame is from 1000 to the present. This course prepares students for the AP World History examination.

Average Reading Per Night: 8 pages
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 2 take-home tests, 4/5 in-class essays
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 4
Other Expectations: 1/2 graded discussions per week ( socratic discussions)
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam:
no recommendation available

Music Theory

Course Description:
Students with strong interest and preparation in music prepare to meet the requirements of the College Board for advanced placement in Music Theory. They gain increased fluency in all aspects of music notation while strengthening skills in tonal imagery and tonal memory. Practice in sight-singing, dictation, composition, and improvisation, is complemented by listening and score analysis. Fulfilling requirements similar to those of a college music theory course, students read, write, and analyze music of increasing complexity. They study in detail the techniques used to compose, vary, and ornament melodies, and apply these techniques in their own compositions and improvisations. They explore uses of electronic technology in composition.

Average Reading Per Night: varies, 2-3 pages on average, 10 pages, max.
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 2-3 projects
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 7-8 major tests
Other Expectations: There are homework assignments almost everyday. The final exams are usually not comprehensive but are over information learned during the past 9 weeks.
Material learned is cumulative so it is important to keep up with the assignments. This is an excellent prep course for college Music Theory and a "must take" for students that are planning to minor or major in music.
R ecommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam: Math PSAT Score: >55

US History

Course Description:
This course is for students desiring a freshman college-level course in United States history. The course is a survey of our country's history from 1607 to the present, using a college-level text and requiring college-level writing and discussion. This course prepares students for the AP U.S. History examination.

Average Reading Per Night: Course is by Units: Each unit has a different number of chapters. Some units have 2 or 3 or 4 chapters. Chapters can be 20 pages.
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 1
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: 8
Other Expectations: Taking notes in class. Keeping up with the reading.
Recommended PSAT Score for 75% or better chance of scoring a 3 or better on AP exam:
PSAT Verbal Score: >60

Studio Art

Course Description:
This individualized program concentrates on art projects that demonstrate the competencies expected of advanced placement art applicants as identified by the College Board.

Portfolios are assembled to meet the submission requirements.

Students are to choose one of 3 major concentrations: Drawing Portfolios, 3-D design portfolio, 2-D design portfolios.

Each Major consists of 3 parts.

For Drawing and 2D portfolios:
-Quality includes 5 original works.
-Concentration includes 12 original works in slide form
-Breath includes 12 works in slide form.

For 3D portfolios:
-Quality includes 5 original works.
-Concentration includes 12 original works in slide form
-Breath includes 8 works in slide form.

Average Reading Per Night: Instead of reading requirements, students are expected to work 5-10 hours a week at home .
Average Number of Papers Per Semester: 1
Average Number of Tests Per Semester: none
Other Expectations: At least 24 pieces are needed for the portfolio presentation. Critiques are conducted every 2 weeks and are updated.