Get to Know Our AP Courses!

Get to Know Our AP Courses!

With application season coming to an end, many students feel relieved because they received an offer from their dream schools and are ready to take the AP exam. For students who want to go to college in the United States, the AP exam is of great importance. AP is the abbreviation of Advanced Placement. It is a program in the United States and Canada created by the College Board which offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students and it is also one of the three mainstream courses available in China (AP, A-level, IB).




The American High School AP program has 38 subjects and has been widely established in more than 15,000 high schools in the United States. It allows high school students to get to know university courses in advance. More importantly, American colleges and universities may grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores on the examinations.  This allows you to earn college credits without paying college tuition. Some students are able to skip the entire first year of college this way, thus cutting the entire cost of their college education by one quarter. Advanced Placement scores show admissions officers that you're ready for college-level work. Admissions counselors state that good grades and academic rigor are two of the most important factors when schools evaluate applications.




Shenzhen International Foundation College has offered AP courses since its founding in 2004, which was the first in Shenzhen. In 2017, SIFC was authorized by the College Board and became a member of AP International Schools. Our AP courses are CB-certified, so our students are also AP school candidates.

The current AP courses offered by our school include: AP English Language and Composition, AP Calculus AB & BC, AP Statistics, AP Chemistry, AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, AP Human Geography, AP Psychology, AP Macroeconomics, we also offer Pre-AP Chemistry, Pre- AP Physics and Pre-AP Biology courses.



This article aims to share an article From AP exam reform to AP teaching reform from math teacher from SIFC and introduce AP psychology course offered by Shenzhen international Foundation College, so that everyone will have a better understanding of the AP.


From AP Examination Reform to AP Teaching Reform

 Math Teacher Vincent


The annual AP exam month - May has just passed. This month is not only a test of knowledge, but also a test of learning persistence. It is also an investigation of whether students can really understand knowledge, use knowledge flexibly and solve problems by then using this knowledge interdisciplinary.

One of the strengths of the AP calculus AB course is the way that it challenges students to use their knowledge of formulas and then apply this knowledge to solve problems both with and without the use of calculators. From the fall of 2016, College Board carried out examination reform: the number of questions that calculators cannot be used increased from 28 to 30, the number of questions calculator can be used decreased from 17 to 15, while the answer options decreased from A, B, C, D and E to A, B, C and D, and they added a special limit formula and the application of L'Hospital's rule. From this it can be seen that College Board is paying more and more attention to the examination of thinking ability and computing ability, which puts forward the requirement for candidates to enhance their logical thinking ability and computing ability.






Class notes:Riemann Sum


Every time I attend the Asia-Pacific China AP conference, I find that the teachers' field for AP training is full and the training seats need to be booked in advance, otherwise there are no seats and training qualifications available. Nowadays, more and more people around the world are learning AP. Teachers attending the China Regional Conference are already more than just Chinese teachers, many of them come from India, Japan, the Philippines and other Asian countries, which reflects that the number of people studying and taking AP exams in other countries is also increasing, and that they attach great importance to overseas education and training.



AP calculus class


Secondly, I want to talk about AP teaching reform. Recently, College Board officials announced a new AP teaching guide that puts the syllabus for the 35 subjects together with new teaching plans gathered from thousands of AP experts' with decades of teaching experience. This will be provided free world wide without limit to teachers who are willing to teach AP so they can use them directly, and students from all parts of the world can also get quality educational resources. Education Excellence, equity and access are always unchanged tenets of College Board. Our teaching should not only focus on knowledge accumulation, but also on the ability to enable students to understand knowledge, transfer knowledge and apply knowledge.

Some students wrongly believe they can get good grades only by memorizing theorems, properties and formulas, but if they don’t have a systematic understanding of the knowledge they have learned, and can’t see the connection between knowledge, they don't know where to start when they encounter practical problems. They don't know what knowledge they need to use to solve them, and can't turn the word problems into mathematical symbols or mathematical language problems. These are common problems of students' learning at present. Our teaching reform is designed to solve such problems, to enable students to understand the relationship between knowledge, to analyze problems and then use their knowledge to solve problems. Improving students' ability to analyze and solve problems is an important task for AP classroom reform. Teachers should use effective methods to improve students' ability to analyze and solve problems. College Board has already began to work hard to help AP teachers. I believe that AP teaching results will have a qualitative leap in the future.



AP Psychology 

Psychology Teacher Afra



General Description of AP Psychology


AP Psychology is a very popular subject among all AP courses. It is categorized in social science as an important basic course for more than 60 majors including literature, economics, medicine, biology, politics, computer science in American universities. It also provides essential knowledge and skill training required by 136 professional fields such as medical, education, media, design, marketing, management and public service.


University functions:★★★★✩

Nearly all U.S. colleges and universities and many international institutions honor AP scores. Most have a written policy spelling out how they award credit and advanced placement. The AP Psychology course is designed to be the equivalent of the Introduction to Psychology course usually taken during the first college year and usually with 3 credits, following specific college curriculum. Like all other AP courses, a good score in AP psychology does not just mean a student can be relieved from a course at college, but also demonstrates strong proof of academic ability that will greatly assist the university application.



Level of difficulty: ★★★✩✩     

Medium difficulty. According to the global data, about 20% of AP Psychology exam takers have obtained a full score of 5. Actually a 5 score in AP psychology only needs to get 71% of the exam correct. A 4 means 61%~70% and a 3 51% to 60%。For unsatisfactory AP scores, one can apply for revocation, that is, to delete the examination records. But the biggest challenge for Chinese candidates would be English vocabulary like any other social science and history courses.


Course Content:★★★✩✩

The AP Psychology course introduces students to the systematic and scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. While considering the psychologists and studies that have shaped the field, students explore and apply psychological theories, key concepts, and phenomena associated with real life situation and academic studies. Throughout the course, students employ psychological research methods, including ethical considerations, as they use the scientific method, evaluate claims and evidence, and effectively communicate ideas.



AP Psychology Course in SIFC


Course election Prerequisite

·        Students must meet one of the following requirement
English proficiency has reached TOEFL 80 or equal;

·        Has recommendation from the course instructor who will evaluate the candidate's capability of reading a college-level textbook and other helpful qualities.







The 2018 to 2019 academic year was a demanding yet exciting year for eight SIFC high school students and their AP psychology teacher, Afra.




We learn psychology in our own psychology classroom which has been decorated with all kinds of psychological elements and approaches: Gestalt, Evolution, Psychoanalysis, biology etc.



We have 5 student in this class who have taken the 2019 AP Psychology exam. The students saw and talked about everything with psychology concepts and were even comfortable enough to ask for a prize if they got high scores.




Student: We almost finished all contents before the mid-term and took a practice exam as the mid-term exam for this course. The result was not bad, but our  psychology teacher Afra still sent us a package of practice exams for review and she stayed online during the entire vacation to answer our questions.



Immediately after AP Exam: Freedom! There are still classes after the AP exam although we are ‘liberated’ from ordinary lectures and quizzes. So we picked up all kinds of puzzles and activities, we just can't cool our sparkling mind down.




Although the AP exam is over,this semester is not over, the AP psychology course still requires a final exam result. Our exams are very flexible,  look at our final exam -- students teach their own class, we review the whole academic  year, we share how psychology affects us. LOL

There are many other SIFC students that took other AP exams. We will see their scores in July. We wish everyone get the best result!


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