Advanced Placement Courses

Advanced Placement (AP) courses offered at Racine St. Catherine's are meant to challenge any high school student who wants or needs to be pushed to a higher level of scholarship. Because all AP courses align to the rigorous, college-level standards set by the College Board, each course prepares students to take college level courses and exams and to earn college credit or placement while still in high school.

AP courses offer the opportunity for students to master curriculum similar to the college-level. These rigorous classes require extended reading and preparation for class, and students are challenged to analyze and synthesize learned information. AP courses prepare students to take the corresponding AP Exam in May, where college credit may be earned based on a set of standards deemed by each individual institution. A large percentage of colleges and universities grant credit upon a score of 4 or 5.

Visit the College Board website to learn more about the AP policies of various institutions.


AP English Literature & Composition:

This course is intended to prepare students for college level writing and the Advanced Placement Test in Literature and Composition. Any AP course should be a challenging and stimulating experience that requires more effort and gives greater opportunity for individual accomplishment than the regular high school courses. Students should be self-motivated enough to complete, and sometimes exceed, assignments without prodding or checking. AP English emphasizes a wide variety of reading, writing, editing, revising, and discussing tasks. These include both research topics assigned in advance and impromptu in-class timed writings, where students learn to condense the writing process so they can write a well-organized essay in a short time. Students will develop: a) a broad working vocabulary of literary terms; b) some knowledge of the evolution of English prose style since the Middle Ages; c) the critical perception to evaluate diction, syntax, tone, structure, purpose, and meaning; d) the facility to choose from a repertoire of writing styles and structures. These students will be able to convey information accurately, without distortion or ambiguity, and, as appropriate, will be able to influence the reader’s feelings through diction, figures of speech, and sentence structure. All students enrolled in this course are encouraged to take the AP Test in Literature and Composition.

AP Studio Art:

AP Studio is not based on a written examination; instead students submit their portfolios for evaluation at the end of their senior year. The student will assume personal responsibility for their learning and creative process and consistently produce challenging artistic images and quality art. The curriculum for this class should be discussed, agreed upon, and documented by the student, the student’s guidance counselor and the instructor before the class begins.

AP Calculus:

Calculus is the mathematics of change and motion. This course will cover both differential and integral calculus. In differential calculus functions will be reviewed. Derivatives of polynomial, rational, and inverse functions will be studied, along with the applications of derivative in the curve plotting, finding the maxima and minima, and the mean value. In integral calculus the definite and indefinite integrals will be introduced as well as their application in finding area, volume, moments and center of mass, and centroid and center of gravity. There is an added emphasis on the more developed level of problem solving needed to successfully complete the AP exam. All students enrolled in this course are encouraged to take the AP Calculus AB exam.

AP Biology:

AP Biology is a rigorous and demanding course, which is the equivalent of an introductory college biology course. Content will be covered in more depth and greater expectations will be placed on interpretation and analysis of information than previous biology courses. In addition, statistical analysis of data and modeling of concepts will be expected. A significant amount of studying must be completed at home to allow time for discussion, labs, and inquiry during class time. The College Board redesigned the curriculum in 2013, and although the amount of material has been reduced, the emphasis on scientific thinking and analytical thinking has increased. The course will be structured differently this year due to the changes and to allow for more class time for labs and discussions. The new AP Biology curriculum encompasses 4 ‘big ideas’, with Essential Knowledge and Process Skills that support each one. All students enrolled in AP Biology are expected to take the AP National Exam.

AP Microeconomics/AP Macroeconomics:

This course will be an intensive study of the fields of both microeconomic and macroeconomic theory. The microeconomic component will include in-depth analysis of such topics as the central economic problem of scarcity, supply and demand, the firm, factor markets and the role of government will be included as part of the course. The macroeconomic component will include in-depth analysis of such topics as economic instability, national income accounting, economic growth, money, and governmental monetary and fiscal policy. The course is meant to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement Tests in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics administered in May.

AP United States History:

This course offers a collegiate level approach to the study of United States History from pre-colonial to contemporary times. The course is designed to develop a more intense understanding of individuals, institutions, and events that have shaped our nation’s history. Students will be expected to read extensively about historical scenarios and problems, do in-depth research, and submit several scholarly papers on various topics of American history. Emphasis will be placed on critical thinking skills and interpreting primary source historical documents. Significantly more outside reading, research and writing time is expected of students for this course. Class methods will include discussion, lecture, project work, and other related techniques. Students are expected to take the Advanced Placement Examination at the end of the year. This course is intended for juniors and accelerated sophomores (a sophomore must have received an “A” in World History). This course satisfies the U.S. History requirement. Students may not take both the regular U.S. History course and the AP U.S. History course.


Each institution views AP credits differently. Below is a short list of schools; click on a school that interests you to learn how you can earn college credits through AP Courses at St. Catherine’s.