Founded in 1952 by a group of educators from some of America's top prep schools and universities, the Advanced Placement (AP) program enables high school students to measure achievement in a particular course or area of study through standardized exams. Although these exams are the culmination of college-level work in high school-and are sometimes awarded credit by colleges for entry-level courses-they are mainly used by private schools and colleges as a means by which students prove their motivation, challenge themselves academically and engage in advanced work in a given subject.
AP exams are administered each May at secondary schools all over the world. Tests offered range from math and science (calculus at two levels, chemistry, biology and physics), to foreign languages (e.g. French, Spanish and Italian), to world histories and social science courses (such as psychology, macro- and micro-economics and human geography). The exams are offered at the end of a year-long Advanced Placement course.