Getting the most out of Advanced Placement courses

Durham Public Schools

Q: I want my child to take Advanced Placement courses next year, but she’s a little intimidated. Is there anything DPS can do to help her prepare?

A: Advanced Placement courses are definitely challenging. They are college-level courses with a depth of material to cover that stretch our students’ abilities while preparing them for university classes. An important added benefit is that success on the Advanced Placement test for a given subject may lead to your child earning college credits before she even graduates high school. So enrolling and thriving in an Advanced Placement class is a very worthy goal.

To encourage even more students to accept the challenge of Advanced Placement courses, DPS’ Advanced Academics department hosts a Summer Scholars AP Camp full of content sessions, guest speakers, and skills sessions in writing, note-taking, study skills, test-taking strategies, and stress/time management. The camp will give your child a taste of several different AP courses and teach her how to manage a demanding course load — organizational skills are everything! The courses previewed include English Language, Statistics, U.S. History, Government and Politics, Environmental Science, Chemistry, Human Geography, Psychology, and Pre-AP Strategies.

The DPS Summer Scholars AP Camp will be held this year at Durham School of the Arts July 10-13. The link to apply for the camp is on the DPS website at in our Quick Links section. The deadline for applying is June 1.

Q: My son’s already enrolled in an AP course. What can he do to prepare for the exam?

A: The most important things, of course, are to thoroughly study, complete all classroom assignments and communicate constantly with the AP teacher. Durham Public Schools also offers review sessions before this year’s AP exams for all students on April 22 and 29 at City of Medicine Academy. Each day offers up to two sessions; students taking more than two AP classes may sign up for both days. You can find the links to apply for the AP review sessions in the Advanced and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) section of the DPS website.

Q: There are great things happening in my school that no one seems to know about. How can I get the word out?

A: We have many reasons to be proud of DPS’ students, teachers and schools — and in a world of social media and so many demands on our attention, sometimes it’s hard to get the word out. You can help. On our front page, you will find a link that reads, “Tell us about good things happening in your school.” Use that link to tell us about upcoming events, a teacher or staff member who does an incredible job, a student who’s accomplished amazing things, or anything else extraordinary or positive. DPS staff will look into it further and may be able to share that good news on Twitter and Facebook, interest local reporters, or find ways to express our thanks to staff for a job well done.

We know how much you care about our students and schools. You can help us let the world know that great things are happening there.

What are your questions about Durham Public Schools? Email them to and DPS will connect you to the experts.