Academic Insights: TCS Advanced Placement Program

The Senior School recently finished another successful year of annual Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Students taking AP courses from Grade 9 to 12 gather under exam conditions to write standardized College Board AP exams up to three hours in length.

All AP courses are graded on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest possible grade and indicating that the candidate is “extremely well qualified” in that subject; a grade of 3 is considered to be a passing grade.

TCS continues to offer one of the widest arrays of AP courses in the country; this year 167 students took 314 exams in over 20 AP disciplines. Below is a list of courses/exams and the number of TCS students who participated:

  • Psychology: 16
  • Research: 24
  • Seminar: 38
  • English Literature & Composition: 18
  • Statistics: 18
  • 2-D Art and Design: 2
  • Art: Drawing: 2
  • Biology: 22
  • Microeconomics: 14
  • Macroeconomics: 2
  • Computer Science A: 21
  • Computer Science Principles: 21
  • Chinese Language & Culture: 4
  • Chemistry: 21
  • French Language and Culture: 16
  • Physics 1: 11
  • Physics 2: 8
  • Calculus AB: 25
  • Calculus BC: 1
  • English Language & Composition: 27
  • Comparative Government & Politics: 1
  • German Language and Culture: 1
  • Spanish Language and Culture: 1

The goal of the AP program is to enable students to pursue further enrichment and university preparedness by engaging with first-year university-level academic content while still in secondary school.

AP Capstone Diploma
TCS continues to embrace the innovative AP Capstone Diploma. The diploma is built upon the foundation of two core courses – AP Seminar and AP Research – both intended to supplement and enrich the comprehensive, subject-specific study provided through the School’s senior-level courses.

The AP Research course is only available to Grade 12 students who have successfully completed the prerequisite AP Seminar course in Grade 11. AP Research provides a unique opportunity for graduating students to engage in sustained, in-depth research on a topic of personal interest. The course is structured to actively develop research, writing, revision, presentation and oral defence skills. TCS alumni who completed the AP Capstone Diploma have continually cited how helpful the program was in terms of preparedness for the research and writing they faced in university.

This year’s three AP Research classes worked diligently towards completing their 5,000-word essay on their original research, along with building a 20-minute multimedia presentation and preparing for an oral defence. Click here to read more about our AP Research students and their topics.

To learn more about the AP Capstone Diploma and how to participate, visit

A special thanks go to Laurie Caine, assistant to the academic directors, and to Suzy Hall, director of academic administration, for their work in coordinating arranging hundreds of AP exams and student writers.

In this year of continued pandemic challenges, our TCS students and AP teachers are to be commended for their outstanding work in our Advanced Placement program.

- By Myke Healy, director of teaching & learning