Academic Insights: TCS Advanced Placement Program

AP Research Presentation, Fall 2019

The annual Advanced Placement exam period, held in May each year, was significantly disrupted by the pandemic. While normally Trinity College School students would gather under exam conditions to write standardized AP exams up to three hours in length, this year the College Board cancelled some exams and allowed other exams to be written online from home.

While many across the globe called for the AP exams to be cancelled, the College Board chose to honour the hard work of students and allow the opportunity to show their learning and earn an AP score. All AP courses are graded on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest possible grade and indicating that the candidate is “extremely well qualified” in that subject; a grade of 3 is considered to be a passing grade.

TCS continues to offer one of the widest arrays of AP courses in the country; this year 160 students took 235 exams over 23 AP disciplines. Below is a list of courses/exams and the number of TCS students who participated:

  • Psychology: 4
  • Spanish Language and Culture: 2
  • Japanese: 1
  • Research: 9
  • English Literature & Composition: 3
  • Statistics: 9
  • Studio Art: Drawing: 9
  • Environmental Science: 12
  • Biology: 8
  • Microeconomics: 7
  • Computer Science A: 12
  • Seminar: 28
  • Chinese Language & Culture: 4
  • Chemistry: 15
  • French Language and Culture: 23
  • Physics 1: 11
  • Physics 2: 3
  • Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism: 2
  • Physics C: Mechanics: 2
  • Calculus AB: 18
  • Calculus BC: 1
  • English Language & Composition: 21
  • Computer Science Principles: 31

The goal of the AP program is to enable students to pursue further enrichment and university preparedness by engaging with first-year university level academic content while still in secondary school.

AP Capstone Diploma
In line with the Senior School’s academic vision focused on developing 21st century skills of collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity, TCS continues to embrace the innovative AP Capstone Diploma. The diploma is built upon the foundation of two core courses – AP Seminar and AP Research – both intended to supplement and enrich the comprehensive, subject-specific study provided through the School’s senior level courses.

The AP Research course is only available to Grade 12 students who have successfully completed the pre-requisite AP Seminar course in Grade 11. AP Research provides a unique opportunity for graduating students to engage in sustained, in-depth research on a topic of personal interest. The course is structured to actively develop research, writing, revision, presentation and oral defence skills. TCS alumni who completed the AP Capstone Diploma have continually cited how helpful the program was in terms of preparedness for the research and writing they faced in university.

This year’s AP Research class worked diligently towards completing their 5,000-word essay on their original research, along with building a 20-minute multimedia presentation and preparing for an oral defence. See the list of Grade 12 presenters and their topics below:

  • Raphaëlla Bergeron-Hartman: Do you have the guts? How Clinical Dietitians Recommend Probiotics to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs)
  • Nathan Chareunsouk: Swearing Your Way to Success?
  • Daniel Cook: “Isn’t that the fat disease?”: Research into Stigma Surrounding Diabetes
  • Vanessa Fullerton: The Future of Pre-Service Teachers’ Abilities Starts Here
  • Jayden Lefebvre: DAVE: Wasabi Agriculture and Automation
  • Jack Moser: The True Impact of Concussions
  • Megan Titterton: Athletes: What Can They Control?
  • Aidan Wylie: Control, Conflict & Surveillance in Dystopian Fiction and Reality Television
  • Angie Zhang: Breaking Barriers: Hygiene Control in China’s Tattoo Industry
  • Jack Zhang: Playing Chess by Heart

To learn more about the AP Capstone Diploma and how to participate, visit

Our TCS students are to be commended on their outstanding work both in the AP Capstone Diploma program and our rich selection of Advanced Placement courses.

- By Myke Healy, director of teaching and learning