Ponderosa Advanced Placement Program


What is Advanced Placement?

The Advanced Placement Program (AP) provides high school students with the opportunity to experience college-level material. After taking an AP course, students may earn credit, advanced placement, or both, for college. The AP Program promotes critical thinking, independent evaluation, accelerated learning and achievement.

Our AP program offers rigorous college level courses that have been approved by the College Board and prepares students for success in their academic futures. Under this accelerated learning program, students will sharpen their analytical and writing skills, and hone their study habits in preparation for a demanding college curriculum. If a student successfully passes the AP exam administered in May, college credit and/or advanced placement can be earned (depending on the student's test score and the college policies). 

Since the rigor of a student's curriculum is often a crucial factor in the college admissions process, students taking AP courses are more competitive (as the demands and strengths of AP classes are widely recognized and are regarded with a weighted grade). Many colleges will consider whether the student has taken enough AP courses to pursue a challenging curriculum. AP courses are demanding and parents and students should carefully assess whether the student can keep up with an accelerated pace of learning together with the extracurricular activity under consideration.

 College Board Description


AP Courses Offered During 2024-2025 School Year




Why Take AP Classes?

The AP program allows students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. The academic rigors of these courses provide students an opportunity to proceed at a faster pace and develop and strengthen academic talents.

Students learn subjects in depth, refine analytical reasoning skills, and form disciplined study habits that will contribute to their success in college. Further, along with academic performance, the most significant factor in college admissions decisions is the strength and rigor of a student's curriculum. AP courses are recognized and valued for their quality, depth and rigor.

Get started selecting the right courses:


 How can I support my AP student?

Parent’s Guide: Help your Student be Successful 

1.      Quiet structured study time

Help your child to establish a study routine by setting up a quiet study area and a consistent quiet study time nightly. The routine will help them practice good study habits for college. Should the study area be their bedroom or a family area, like the dining room? That depends on your household and your child. If your child is self-motivated and can work steadily without supervision, then a quiet desk space in their bedroom would work well. 

2.      Work on your AP course(s) EVERY night

For your child to stay up-to-date in this course, they need to spend some time on each of their AP courses every night. The ideal would be about 1-1.5 hours per night or approximately 7-11 hours per week. Depending on the course, this might include textbook reading, lecture review, lab or writing assignments, and test preparation. On weeks when they cannot devote as much time as needed on a weeknight, they should put in extra time on weekends to make up for it. On nights where they have minimal time, your child should at least review the day’s lecture notes and/or stay up on their reading.

3.    Explore AP Central

Encourage your child to regularly check https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/exploreap/for-parents as a starting point for great resources that will help them succeed in each AP course for which they are enrolled. AP Central has information about AP courses and tests, as well as practice exams and graded FRQs (free response questions).

4.      Support Study Groups

Encourage your child to arrange a study group with other students in the class. Each student will have different strengths and weaknesses in this course. In one unit, your child will be the teacher to other students; in a different unit they will be the student. Putting two or more heads together is always beneficial. Students learn best when they have to explain concepts to someone else. Keep in mind, while study groups and cooperative effort are strongly encouraged; on final written work, all students are required to craft their own answers and must have a uniquely worded answer for each question.

5.      Use a Lifeline

Encourage your child to ask for help. All our AP students have their teacher’s office hours and e-mail addresses for help after school hours. AP teachers are here to help them understand and learn to love the subject of each AP course as much as they do. Check with each teacher to see their specific email policy.

6.      Don’t Panic!

​Stick with it! Some parts of AP courses will come more easily than others. Encourage your child to work steadily and not to be discouraged. Success will build as they improve their critical thinking skills and their writing ability through practice. This is a college course and they are working on more than learning a specific subject; they are working on skills that they will use to succeed academically for years to come.  Your child needs to work hard and work steadily and they will be rewarded in their course or courses!