Advanced Placement

University School of Milwaukee leads Wisconsin in Advanced Placement (AP) success. In the past five years, USM has consistently produced some of the highest numbers of students in the state recognized in the top categories of AP scholarship: the National Scholars and Scholars with Distinction. 

The two-year school-wide passing rate (3+) for all AP Tests is 86%. Roughly 99% of students who take AP courses take the corresponding AP exam. Overall, our students took a total of 435 exams in 20 subjects in the 2019-20 school year.


List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What is Advanced Placement (AP)?

    A. Advanced Placement is a program offered by the College Board, the national organization that administers many of the standardized tests that students take for admission to colleges, graduate programs, and medical and law schools.

    The Advanced Placement program is designed to allow highly motivated high school students the opportunity to do college-level work and earn college credit while still in high school. Students earn these credits based on their performance on national examinations administered each May. Most colleges and universities award credit, advanced placement, or both for grades of 3, 4, or 5. USM offers preparation in 19 Advanced Placement subject areas, and students take exams in several other areas based on their regular course work.

    According to the College Board, “More than 2,900 universities and colleges worldwide grant credit or advanced standing to students who have performed satisfactorily on the exams, and approximately 1,400 institutions grant sophomore standing to students who have demonstrated their competence in three or more of these exams.” For more information, visit
  • Q. How does USM determine a student's eligibility to take an AP course?

    A. Students are recommended for AP courses based on their previous performance in each subject area. Students may sit for AP examinations in courses with no AP designation with the permission of the teacher.
  • Q. How are the national tests graded?

    A. The exams are scored on a scale of 1-5. Most colleges and universities award credit, exemption from freshman introductory courses, or both for grades 3 or higher.

    AP Grade Qualification:
    5= Extremely well qualified; 4= Well qualified; 3= Qualified; 2= Possibly qualified; 1= No recommendation
  • Q. How successful are USM students on AP tests?

    A. For the 2019-20 school year, 88% of the tests taken by University School students earned a score of 3 or above, which qualifies for college credit.
  • Q. What are the benefits of earning AP college credit?

    A. USM students use their AP credit in a variety of ways. Many take a broader range of studies or pursue a second major in college. Some students take the time and savings to study abroad or to intern in their field. Students at large universities are often pleased to discover that the AP standing allows them to bypass large, freshman introductory courses and begin advanced work immediately. A number of students even opt to graduate early, advancing to graduate or professional programs in just three years.
  • Q. How do students prepare to take Advanced Placement Exams?

    A. Each academic department at USM offers one or more Advanced Placement courses. In addition, some departments offer after-school preparation sessions to help students study AP material not covered in the USM curriculum.
  • Q. How is an Advanced Placement course different from a regular course in the same discipline?

    A. The Advanced Placement courses in each discipline are especially rigorous. They require students to demonstrate academic commitment, critical thinking, and disciplined study habits. Students in AP courses may have lengthy homework assignments and may be asked to do research, reading, and writing typical of college courses.

    It should be noted that many courses at USM are as rigorous as AP courses, even if they are not designed to be an AP course. We encourage students to work with their advisor to determine the course load that is right for them.

AP Courses Offered at USM

Calculus AB
Calculus BC
Computer Science A
English Literature
Environmental Science
French Language & Culture
Multivariable Calculus ^
Physics 2
Physics C
Spanish Language & Culture
Spanish Literature
Studio Art: Drawing
Studio Art: 2D Design
United States History
US Government & Politics

^post AP course
Prekindergarten (age 3) - Grade 12 • Independent • Coeducational
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