Burnaby North Excel Program

Click here to view AP Course Descriptions

Program Information

Excel Program at Burnaby North

The Excel program consists of Honours and Advanced Placement courses offered to students in grades 8 through 12. We have a student population of approximately 2,000 and about 40% of our students are enrolled in at least one Honours and/or Advanced Placement course. Students entering grade 8 are required to write an assessment exam and have the recommendation of their elementary teacher before being admitted into our Honours courses at the grade 8 level. The dates of these exams (generally in April and May) are available at all of our local elementary schools and at the time of registration for those students coming from outside of our catchment area. For more information, please contact Mr. Laurent Scaligine, Excel Program Department Head, at laurent.scaligine@sd41.bc.ca

Advanced Placement Program in General

ADVANCED PLACEMENT is a program of college level courses and examinations for high school students. It is administered by the College Board, headquartered in New York (www.collegeboard.com/ap) with a Canadian office in Victoria, BC. Students who have successfully completed examinations with a minimum score of 4 on a 5 point scale (some institutions only require a score of 3) may, upon admission to university/college, be granted credit and/or placement at most post-secondary institutions around the world. For information about credits offered at various institutions in British Columbia visit bctransferguide.ca/advanced/. For information about credits offered at institutions worldwide visit www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/intad.html.

Benefits of Taking Advanced Placement Courses

By taking Advanced Placement courses and examinations, students can:

  • Study a subject at a greater depth with other equally interested students;
  • Determine if they really would like to continue to study a subject at university;
  • Develop, in a high school environment, the study skills and habits they will need in university;
  • Save money – a score of 4 or 5 on an AP exam results in credit for a 1st year course ($500 saving);
  • Receive exemption from some introductory courses, thus getting more flexibility when enrolling in university courses or reducing time needed to obtain degree.

History and Success of Advanced Placement at Burnaby North

The Advanced Placement program at Burnaby North began in 1987/88 offering instruction in four course areas. Currently instruction is offered in 20 course areas and Burnaby North is recognized as having one of the largest AP programs in Canada. In addition to the size of our program, we have also been recognized for the excellence of our program. Last year, approximately 90% of the exams written by Burnaby North students have earned a score of 3 or higher on a 5 point scale. This is well above the national average of 75% and directly attributable to the dedication and skill of our many fine Honours and AP teachers in combination with the work ethic of our students. In 2013, Burnaby North had 359 students writing a total of 745 Advanced Placement exams. Of the students, 45 were recognized as National AP Scholars and a total of 130 students received AP Scholar awards for outstanding results on their AP exams.   (see https://professionals.collegeboard.com/k-12/awards/ap-scholar for an explanation of the awards).

Writing Advanced Placement Examinations

Students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses are strongly encouraged to write the external AP exam in May. There is no fee for taking an AP course but there is a fee for writing an Advanced Placement examination. Since this is an external exam administered by the College Board, we are obligated to charge the students the cost of writing the exam. For the current year, the cost of each AP exam is $120 (very inexpensive compared to a university course). Regardless of whether or not the student writes the AP exam in May, the fact that they completed an AP course is acknowledged on their official ministry transcript. However, if students want to pursue Advanced Placement placement and/or credit at a post-secondary institution, they must write the AP examination and forward their results to their desired institution(s).

How AP students do after graduation

Advanced Placement students, when placed in advanced courses at university, tend to outperform other students. About 80% of these students receive A’s or B’s in subsequent course work even at the most selective institutions. They usually have higher grade point averages and are more likely to graduate with honours from university having had less of an adjustment to university work. As the local universities see the performance of AP candidates after they leave high school, they become more interested in recruiting these students to their campuses.

Advanced Placement Courses offered at Burnaby North for 2014/2015

  • Art History
  • Biology
  • Calculus AB (BC)
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Chinese Language and Culture
  • Economics (Micro & Macro)
  • English Literature
  • Environmental Science
  • European History
  • French Language
  • Human Geography
  • Music Theory
  • Psychology
  • Physics 1 & 2 (NEW!)
  • Statistics
  • Studio Art 2D Design
  • Studio Art 3D Design
  • Studio Art Drawing

Click here to view AP Course Descriptions


Beginning in September 2014, the Advanced Placement Program will include an innovative new diploma program option called AP Capstone.  Burnaby North and Burnaby South Secondary schools were selected as two of just ten schools in Canada to initially offer this program.  Developed in response to feedback from higher education faculty and college admission officers, AP Capstone complements the in-depth, subject-specific rigor of AP courses and exams, allowing students to engage in the rigorous development of skills critical for success in college: inquiry, research, collaboration, and writing.
It includes  a two-course sequence: AP® Seminar and AP Research.

The AP Seminar course, taken in grade 11, will equip students with the power to explore academic and real-world issues through an interdisciplinary lens and consider multiple points of view. Through a variety of materials ─ from articles and research studies to foundational and philosophical texts ─ students will be challenged to explore complex questions, understand and evaluate opposing viewpoints, interpret and synthesize information, and develop, communicate, and defend their own points of view. Teachers have the flexibility of choosing themes based on student interests, whether they are local and/or civic issues or international topics. Samples of themes that can be covered in the AP Seminar course include education, innovation, sustainability, and technology. Students are assessed through an individual and team project completed during the year and a year-end written exam.

The subsequent AP Research course, will allow students to design, plan, and conduct a yearlong mentored investigation on a topic of their choosing. Students will build on the skills learned in the AP Seminar course by using research methodology, employing ethical research practices, and accessing, analyzing, and synthesizing information to present and defend an argument.

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher on the AP Seminar and AP Research Exams and scores of 3 or higher on four AP Exams of their choosing will receive the AP Capstone Diploma™. Students who earn qualifying scores on the two AP Capstone exams but do not take or earn qualifying scores on four additional AP Exams will earn the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™.

AP Capstone will help students distinguish themselves during the university application process by demonstrating their commitment to challenging coursework and by allowing them to showcase their in-depth understanding, interest and passion for specific issues.
Students who are entering grade 11 and are interested in applying for AP Capstone for 2014-2015 are invited to submit an application to the Burnaby School District Office by February 24, 2014.  Application forms are available in the Burnaby School District web site, or you can pick up a copy in Student Services at Burnaby North.  Please note AP Capstone is a district program, and is open to students from all Burnaby secondary schools.

For more information about the AP Capstone program, visit www.collegeboard.org/apcapstone.

Grade 8 Honours Entrance Examinations Information

At Burnaby North, Honours courses begin at the grade 8 level for Art, English, French, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.  Students interested in applying for Honours courses in any of these areas must demonstrate high academic achievement and request their current grade 7 teachers to complete the Honours Application form, which were given to students in their registration package.

The dates for the examinations are listed below. Students must write these exams in order to be considered for Honours courses in grade 8.





French 8, 9, or 10 Honours Thursday, April 24, 2014

3:30 to 4:30


English 8 Honours Tuesday, April 29, 2014

3:30 to 4:30


Social Studies 8/9 Honours Thursday, May 1, 2014

3:30 to 4:30


Science 8/9 Honours Tuesday, May 6, 2014

3:30 to 4:30


Mathematics 8 Honours Thursday, May 8, 2014

3:30 to 4:30


Please arrive at the exam room at least 15 minutes before the start of each examination. Remember to bring a pen, pencil, and eraser to the exam. Calculators are NOT allowed for the Mathematics exam.

Students do not need to call the school to sign up for these exams – they are automatically registered by returning the course selection and Honours application forms to Burnaby North.

For students considering Art 8 Honours, they must return their completed portfolio assignment to Burnaby North due by Thursday, May 1.

The list of students who qualify for grade 8 Honours courses will be sent to elementary schools by the second week of June. Students who do not qualify at this time will be placed on the waiting list. Please do not call Burnaby North as we will not be able to provide exam results over the phone.

If you have any questions or require additional information about these exams, please e-mail Mr. Laurent Scaligine, Excel Program Department Head, at laurent.scaligine@sd41.bc.ca.