Advanced Placement (AP)

Advanced Learning (Honours/ Advanced Placement) Department

General Information

The Advanced Learning program consists of the Honours and Advanced Placement courses offered to students in grades 8 through 12. Advanced Placement (AP) is a program of university/college level courses and exams for high school students. For students who successfully complete external AP exams (with a minimum score of 4 on a 5 point scale), they may, upon admission to university/college, be granted credit and/or placement at most post-secondary institutions around the world. (Some institutions will also grant credit for a score of 3.) Pre-AP Honours courses offer advanced and motivated students the opportunity to learn in an enriched environment with similar students. Grade 11 Honours courses, in particular, help prepare students who intend to take AP courses at the grade 12 level. Please note that Burnaby South Secondary only offers AP exams to students enrolled in Burnaby South’s AP Courses. If you are interested in becoming a Burnaby South student and enrolling in AP Courses, please inquire at our front office.  

Advanced Placement Course Offerings In 2024-2025, Burnaby South is planning to offer the following 22 AP courses.  They include:  Art 2D Design, Art 3D Design, Art Drawing, Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Chinese Language and Culture, Computer Science A, Computer Science Principles, English Literature, French Language, Human Geography, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Music Theory, Physics 1 and Physics 2, Psychology, Statistics, Seminar and Research.  For more information about AP courses and their corresponding AP exam, please visit AP Course and Exams

AP Seminar and AP Research are two courses that form the foundation of the AP Capstone program. Please check out the AP Capstone program website by clicking here

Honours (Pre-AP) Courses Pre-AP Honours courses are intended for motivated and advanced learners in grades 8 to 11. Honours courses begin at the Grade 8 level with English 8 Honours, Social Studies 8 Honours, Math 8 Honours/Accelerated and Science 8 Honours. For more details, click here. Students do not have to take all the courses on a ‘pathway’. They may opt in or out of the program from year to year although this is not the preferred path. However, courses taken as a prerequisite for an AP course (such as Life Sciences (Biology) 11H for AP Biology 12), condense the grade 11 curriculum and introduce the grade 12 curriculum in one year. Students are then able to complete the grade 12 curriculum and the first year university curriculum in the AP 12 course. In essence, students are completing three years of curriculum in two years. It is very important, therefore, that students choose their courses carefully in grade 10 and 11 so that they have the necessary prerequisite(s) for the AP course(s) that they wish to take.

On average over the last 5 years, over 33% of the students enrolled at Burnaby South took one or more Honours/AP courses and over 38% of all Grade 12 students were enrolled in at least one AP or Honours course. For a pictorial view of all the Honours courses at Burnaby South and how they lead to the AP course, please click here.

Writing the Advanced Placement Examination  Students enrolled in AP courses are strongly encouraged to write the external AP examination in May. There is no fee for taking an AP course but there is a fee for writing this AP examination. Since this is an external exam administered by the College Board, we are obligated to charge the students the cost of writing the exam. The cost is $145 per exam (very inexpensive when compared to a university course). Regardless of whether or not the student writes the AP exam in May, the fact that they completed an AP course is acknowledged on their official BC Ministry of Education transcript. However, if the student wants to earn advanced placement credit at a post-secondary institution, they must write the AP exam and forward their results to their institution(s).

Click here for statistics and PowerPoint slides on how students generally do in University if they have taken the AP Exam.

Admissions and Credit for University/College AP courses may be combined with other high school courses for the purpose of admission at most post secondary institutions in North America. Most have also stated that exam results will only be used in the calculation of admission averages if they increase the student’s admission average. Please check with each individual post-secondary institution for their up-to-date admission policy. Students who successfully complete an AP exam with a minimum score of 4 on a 5 point scale (some institutions only require a score of 3) may, upon admission to the university, be granted credit and/or placement at most post-secondary institutions around the world. Please check each individual university/college website to find out about their current policy for AP credits.


AP also recognizes students who do extremely well on three or more AP exams. They are given the title of AP Scholar. For more information, please click here.

How AP Students Do After Graduation Advanced Placement students, when placed in advanced courses in university, tend to outperform other students. About 80% of these students receive As or Bs in subsequent course work even at the most selective institutions. They usually have higher grade point averages and are more likely to graduate with honours from university having had less of an adjustment to university work. As the local universities see the performance of AP candidates after they leave high school, they become more interested in recruiting these students to their campuses.

Results from the past few years showed that Burnaby South students did extremely well.  Over the last few years, approximately 70%, of all exams written received a grade of 4 or 5. This corresponds to an “A” letter grade at local post-secondary institutions. 90% of all exams written received a grade of 3, 4 or 5. By AP’s standards, these students received a passing grade.  We have had students as young as in Grade 9 write an AP exam and receive a score of 5 out of 5. We also had a student who successfully received 32 first-year credits at UBC, thus essentially completing his first year requirements before the start of his first day of post-secondary studies.

What Do Former AP Students Think?  If you really want to find out about the AP program, you should talk to former students. Click here to find out what a few former students have to say about the program.

For More Information about Advanced Placement, visit AP Student.  For additional information about AP and Honours courses at Burnaby South, please contact the Advanced Learning Department Head, at (604)296-6880.