How Do Pre-AP and AP Work Together?

Understand how these programs support each other—and how they’re different.

Learn More About Pre-AP Courses

What Is Pre-AP?

Open to all students, Pre-AP is a grade-level program usually taught in grades 9 and 10 though some schools offer these high-school level courses in middle school. Pre-AP courses:

  • Are back-mapped from AP courses and provide students with the content, skills, and practices for success in AP
  • Do not provide college credit or require a final exam
  • Offer a consistent instructional model of plan, teach, assess, and reflect, which provides continuity for students and teachers across all courses

What Is AP?

AP—Advanced Placement®—courses give high school students an opportunity to do college-level coursework and are often taught in grades 10, 11, and 12. Students take AP because:

  • College admissions officers look for challenging courses—such as AP classes—on applications.
  • Many colleges grant credit and/or placement in advanced classes when a student earns a qualifying score on an AP Exam.
  • AP courses help students build academic skills they’ll need to succeed in college.

How Pre-AP Prepares Students for AP

In Pre-AP, students have frequent opportunities to engage deeply with texts, sources, and data, as well as compelling higher-order questions and problems. Across Pre-AP courses, students experience instructional practices and routines that help them develop the important critical thinking skills needed to succeed in AP.

  • Pre-AP frameworks are back-mapped from AP expectations: Students begin building skills before they enter their first AP course.
  • Pre-AP performance tasks model AP free-response questions (FRQ): Students and teachers can evaluate student performance in ways not provided by multiple-choice assessments.
  • Pre-AP promotes equity: As a grade-level program, Pre-AP closes the opportunity gap for all students.

Pre-AP to AP Course Map

Pre-AP courses are directly back-mapped from specific AP courses and often include strong connections to multiple AP courses.

Pre-AP Course AP Course

Pre-AP English 1 and 2

AP English Language and Composition 
AP English Literature and Composition
AP Seminar
AP African American Studies 

Pre-AP World History and Geography 

AP European History 
AP Human Geography 
AP United States History 
AP World History: Modern 
AP African American Studies 

Pre-AP Biology 

AP Biology
AP Environmental Science

Pre-AP Chemistry

AP Chemistry
AP Environmental Science

Pre-AP Algebra 1

AP Computer Science Principles
AP Precalculus
AP Calculus AB 
AP Statistics 

Pre-AP Geometry with Statistics 

AP Precalculus
AP Calculus AB 
AP Statistics 

Pre-AP Algebra 2  

AP Precalculus
AP Calculus AB 
AP Statistics
AP Physics 1
AP Physics 2

Pre-AP Visual and Performing Arts 

AP 2-D Art and Design
AP 3-D Art and Design
AP Drawing
AP African American Studies

How Does Pre-AP Set Up Students for Success in AP Capstone Courses?

AP Capstone™ is a diploma program based on two yearlong AP courses: AP Seminar and AP Research. These courses are designed to complement other AP courses: Instead of teaching specific subject knowledge, AP Seminar and AP Research use an interdisciplinary approach to develop the critical thinking, research, collaboration, time management, and presentation skills students need for college-level work.

Pre-AP and AP Capstone share basic learning tenets and methodologies, providing a natural bridge for students to succeed in AP Capstone.

Both programs:

  • Are designed to prepare students for challenging high school and college coursework, career, and beyond
  • Have student-centered courses that emphasize key critical thinking, collaboration, and speaking and listening skills students need for college-level work
  • Provide high-quality instruction and assessments designed to serve all students
  • Offer professional learning opportunities for teachers
  • Provide schools with academic distinction because both programs are widely recognized for their skills focus and innovation



Pre-AP Course Descriptions

Explore all of Pre-AP's course offerings and preview course frameworks.