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What is the Advanced Placement (AP) Program?

AP is a program of college-level courses and exams that give secondary school students an opportunity to gain advanced placement and/or credit for college. More than 90 percent of the colleges attended by AP candidates grant credit and/or placement to students whose AP Examination grades are considered acceptable.

What is an AP course like?

It is a special college-level learning experience that most often takes a full academic year. It is challenging and stimulating and compared to other high school courses often takes more time, requires more work, gives greater opportunity for individual progress and accomplishment, and explores subjects in greater depth.

Why should I take the AP Exams?

The benefits of an AP Program are numerous. Advanced placement in college allows you to avoid repeating work you've already done. You can also take advanced courses in your AP subject, explore other subjects that interest you, and join honors and other special programs. If you earn the required grade on an AP Exam, you may receive the equivalent of credit for a one-year course.

What are the AP Exams like? When are they given?

All AP Exams for courses given at Costa Mesa High School contain both multiple-choice and free-response questions that require essay writing, problem solving, and other skills.  Tape recordings are used with certain portions of the foreign language exams. Most of the exams are three hours long.  AP exams are given every year in May. 

How can I get involved in AP classes?

Students must be recommended by a current teacher in the subject area. An AP contract must be signed by student, parent, and specified teachers.

Advanced Placement Program

**New Changes for 2019-2020**

  • Register for AP Exams: August-November 1 (New Early Deadline)

  • Students receive course resources from AP teachers

  • $40 cancellation fee (November 2-February 28)

  • $40 late registration fee, per exam (November 2-February 28)

  • Students register for exams through College Board website

  • More information: 2019-2020 AP Changes

  • My AP Student Experience 

  • Please contact the Counseling Office if financial assistance is needed.

AP Exam Schedule 2020
Date 8:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m.
Monday, May 4 AP U.S. Government & Politics  
Tuesday, May 5

AP Calculus AB

AP Calculus BC

AP Human Geography
Wednesday, May 6 AP English Literature & Composition  
Thursday, May 7

AP Chemistry

AP Spanish Literature

Friday, May 8 AP U.S. History

AP Physics 1

AP Studio Art: 2D

AP Studio Art: 3D

AP Studio Art: Drawing

Monday, May 11 AP Biology

AP Chinese Language

AP Environmental Science

Tuesday, May 12 AP Spanish Language AP Psychology
Wednesday, May 13 AP English Language & Composition  
Thursday, May 14 AP World History AP Macroeconomics
Friday, May 15   AP Statistics
AP Course List


English Language
English Literature


Environmental Science

Social Science

World History
US History
American Democracy
Human Geography


Calculus AB
Calculus BC

Visual & Performing Arts

Studio Art
Studio Art Drawing

World Language

Spanish Language 
Spanish Literature