Students planning to study abroad can sit for the US college-level Advanced Placement (AP
) exam on the mainland starting in May.
The US College Board, which also administers the SAT college entrance test, has authorized seven private educational institutions on the mainland to hold the AP test. Mainland students had to go to Hong Kong for the exams before the announcement.
"Through the college-level AP exam, Chinese students have more opportunities to earn credits or advanced standing at most US colleges and universities," Huang Donghui, the chief of registration at Beijing-based Siwa International School, one of the authorized institutions, told China Daily yesterday.
With 37 courses and exams across 22 subject areas, AP offers students a head start on college-level work, he said.
"It aims to sharpen student's problem-solving ability, broaden their intellectual horizons and help them stand out," Huang said.
Nearly 3,400 universities in 40 countries currently accept AP exam grades for admission, including four Chinese universities: Peking University, Tsinghua University, Beijing Foreign Studies University and Beijing Language and Culture University.
At least 1.4 million students around the world sat the exam last year for a fee of $84.
"Though the exam is not mandatory like the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), it adds weight to the application," Wang Junjie, a Beijing student, said.
The results are graded 1 to 5, with 5 representing excellent college work.
Most American colleges and universities give credits to students who receive a 3 or better on their AP exams. That means they can start with higher-level college classes than students who did not do as well or did not take the tests.
AP: AP是Advanced Placement的缩写，即大学预修课程，是由美国大学理事会主办的统一考试，包括哈佛、耶鲁等著名大学在内，已有超过40个国家的3391所大学承认AP成绩，北京大学、清华大学、北京语言大学也承认AP课程学分。该考试每年5月在全球80余个国家举行一次，颇像中国的高考。AP考试采取5分制，一般3分以上的成绩即可被大多数大学接受，并且可以在今后上大学时折抵多至一学年的大学学分。