AP courses occur at the grade 12 level and are designed to provide students with background and knowledge equivalent to a first-year university course. They allow students the opportunity for enriched, intensive study in one or more subjects of interest and strength. Based on their performance on the standardized AP exam, students may earn a transfer credit, advanced placement or both for university. Each university decides independently how to recognize successful completion of AP courses and has a clearly articulated AP policy which students can access.
AP courses cover both the Ontario curriculum and the AP content. Students are evaluated on each area separately. A student's final mark in the course is based on his or her knowledge of the Ontario curriculum. Evaluation of the AP content occurs during the standardized AP exam (written annually in May).
Many schools that offer AP courses decide to offer pre-AP courses in grades 9, 10 and 11. Pre-AP is more of a mindset than an actual destination or stream. The focus of pre-AP courses should be on developing the skills and habits of mind needed for success in AP courses, including inquiry and problem solving, critical thinking and creativity, communication and collaboration.