Mentor College is proud to offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses to eligible senior students. AP is a programme in the United States and Canada created by the College Board which offers university-level curricula and examinations to high school students. This is a cooperative educational endeavour between secondary schools and colleges and universities. AP courses provide the opportunity for academically talented and highly motivated students to upgrade the quality and increase the challenge of their studies.
Some schools offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, but the flexibility of the Advanced Placement (AP) allowing students to choose specific courses is preferred at Mentor College. IB and AP are both high school programmes, but their philosophies and goals are quite different.
AP examinations take place in May and are administered by the US-based College Board. Grade 11 or 12 students interested in pursuing AP courses/ exams must apply in May and be approved by the department head, AP teacher, and the Principal. There is an additional fee to cover course materials and exam costs. The AP class is taken from September to May in a regularly scheduled time slot in the student schedule. This is the same as the class period in a regular credit course. Subject specialist teachers trained in delivery of AP curriculum teach the class. The exams are written in May at Mentor and are scheduled by the College Board for international administration at a common time under strict guidelines. They are sent to the College Board in the U.S. for marking as a standardized exam.
Every university has its own rules about acceptance of AP for first-year course credit, so students must research their choices. Eligibility also varies from programme to programme. Saying this, most students take AP courses not for credit, but to learn the university material in a course prior to first year. This helps students gain an advantage in understanding and earn better grades in the first year class.
The AP Biology course is designed to help highly motivated and independent learners develop a conceptual framework for modern biology and to help students gain an appreciation of science as a process. Primary emphasis in the AP Biology course is on developing an understanding of concepts rather than on memorizing terms and technical details. Essential to this conceptual understanding are a grasp of science as a process rather than as an accumulation of facts, personal experience in scientific inquiry, recognition of unifying themes that integrate the majors topics of biology, and application of biological knowledge and critical thinking to environmental and social concerns.
Calculus AB is primarily concerned with developing understanding of the concepts of calculus and providing experience with its methods and applications. The course emphasizes a multi-representational approach to calculus, with concepts, results and problems being expressed graphically, numerically and analytically. Throughout the use of the unifying themes of derivatives, integrals, limits, approximation, and applications and modeling, the course becomes a cohesive whole rather than a collection of unrelated topics.
AP Calculus BC explores the key concepts, methods, and applications of single-variable calculus including all topics covered in AP Calculus AB (functions, graphs, and limits, derivatives, integrals, and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus) as well as additional topics in differential and integral calculus such as parametric, polar and vector functions, and series. The course teaches students to approach calculus concepts and problems when they are represented graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally, and to make connections amongst these representations.
AP Chemistry should meet the objectives of a good college general chemistry course. Students in such a course should attain a depth of understanding of fundamentals and a reasonable competence in dealing with chemical problems. The course should contribute to the development of the students’ abilities to think clearly and to express their ideas, orally and in writing, with clarity and logic. The college course in general chemistry differs qualitatively from the usual first secondary school course in chemistry with respect to the kind of textbook used, the topics covered, the emphasis on chemical calculations and the mathematical formulation of principles, and the kind of laboratory work done by students. Quantitative differences appear in the number of topics treated, the time spent on the course by students, and the nature and the variety of experiments done in the laboratory.
The AP course in Comparative Government and Politics introduces students to fundamental concepts used by political scientists to study the processes and outcomes of politics in a variety of country settings. The course aims to illustrate the rich diversity of political life, to show available institutional alternatives, to explain differences in processes and policy outcomes, and to communicate to students the importance of global political and economic changes. Comparison assists both in identifying problems and in analyzing policymaking. For example, we only know that a country has a high population growth rate or serious corruption when we compare it to other countries. Careful comparison of political systems produces useful knowledge about the institutions and policies countries have employed to address problems, or, indeed, what they have done to make things worse. We can compare the effectiveness of policy approaches to poverty or overpopulation by examining how different countries solve similar problems. Furthermore, by comparing the political institutions and practices of wealthy and poor countries, we can begin to understand the political consequences of economic well-being.
The AP Economics course consists of two parts called macroeconomics and microeconomics. The purpose of an AP microeconomics course is to provide a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to the functions of individual consumers and producers within a larger economics system. The AP course macroeconomics is designed to offer a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to an economic system as a whole. Two final examinations are required (one for micro and one for macro).
An AP course in English Language and Composition engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of rhetorical contexts, and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Both their writing and their reading should make students aware of the interactions among a writer’s purposes, audience expectations, and subjects, as well as the way genre conventions and the resources of language contribute to effectiveness in writing.
The goal of the AP Environmental Science course is to provide 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 or preventing them. Environmental science is interdisciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of topics from different areas of study. Yet there are several major unifying constructs, or themes, that cut across the many topics included in the study of environmental science. The following themes provide a foundation for the structure of the AP Environmental Science course.
The AP French Language course is comparable to a third-year college level French course. It emphasizes the use of language for active communication and helps students develop the ability to understand spoken French in various contexts, a sufficient vocabulary to understand articles published in newspapers, magazines, and literary texts, and the ability to express themselves coherently and with reasonable fluency in both written and spoken French. Students are assessed by means of an examination which is approximately two-and-one-half hours long.
This course is recommended for students who are in Grade 11 and it targets the big ideas in any first semester algebra based university or college level physics course. In addition to the regular high school curriculum, it includes complex concepts such as rotational kinematics and dynamics, torque, conservation of angular momentum and energy of angular motion. The focus of this course is an inquiry based learning meant to develop critical thinking skills that will provide an enduring support for future advanced science courses.
This course is recommended for students who are in Grade 11 and it targets the big ideas in any second semester algebra based university or college level physics course. The content of this course includes the study of fluids and fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and kinetic theory, in-depth analysis of electric fields and electric circuits, magnetism and magnetic induction, all facets of optics and basic ideas in modern physics. Most of this content is not included in the regular high school curriculum. Through inquiry based learning, this course will build solid critical thinking skills to be used in any future advanced science courses.
This course is recommended for students who are in Grade 12 and it targets the big ideas in any university level physics course for physics or engineering majors. It covers all components of mechanics including kinematics and dynamics of linear and two-dimensional motion, all facets of angular motion, and an in-depth analysis of mechanical systems from an energy standpoint. The implementation of calculus in all laws and principles of mechanics is targeted, and the physical interpretation of all the mathematical steps/solutions is of critical importance. For this reason, it is recommended that this course is taken concurrently with an AP Calculus course. The laboratory component is strictly documented and builds up critical thinking skills of high quality.
This course is recommended for students who are in Grade 12 and it targets the big ideas in any university level physics course for physics or engineering majors. Course material includes electrostatics, conductors, capacitors and dielectrics, electric circuits, magnetic fields, and electromagnetism. All laws and principles will be presented using advanced calculus concepts and all solutions will have to be interpreted from a physical standpoint. It is highly recommended that the students enrolled in this course are concurrently or have already taken and AP Calculus course as well. The laboratory component is strictly documented and builds up critical thinking skills of high quality.
The AP US History course focuses on developing students’ understanding of American history from approximately 1491 to the present. The course has students investigate the content of US history for significant events, individuals, developments, and processes in nine historical periods, and develop and use the same thinking skills and methods (analyzing primary and secondary sources, making historical comparisons, chronological reasoning, and argumentation) employed by historians when they study the past. The course provides seven themes: American and national identity, migration and settlement, politics and power, work/exchange/technology, America in the world, geography and the environment, and culture and society. Students explore these themes throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places.