Advanced Placement Exams

Who takes this test?

All high school level students are eligible to take Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Accommodations can be made for students with disabilities, home-schooled students, and student whose schools do not offer AP courses. For more information, see the College Board's AP Program Guide.

When is this test given?

AP exams are usually administered in the first two-weeks of May every year. For the full exam schedules, visit the College Board AP Calendar.

What is on the test?

Each of the 38 exams has its own unique requirements; however, almost all of the exams have several things in common:

  • Most exams are two to three hours long.
  • The first part of the exam usually consists of multiple-choice questions.
    • Students will choose one of four or five answer choices for each question.
    • For the multiple-choice section, students will not receive or lose points for incorrect answers or unanswered questions.
  • The second part of the exam usually consists of free-response questions that require student to generate their own responses.
    • Depending on the exam, responses could be in the form of an essay, a solution to a problem, or a spoken response.
    • In most cases, students will write their response in pen in the free-response exam booklet.

For more information visit Taking the Exam on the College Board site.

How is the test scored?

The AP Exam score is a weighted combination of scores on the multiple-choice section and the free-response section. AP Exam scores are reported on a 5-point scale that indicates how qualified students are to receive college credit and placement:

5 = extremely well qualified

4 = well qualified

3 = qualified

2 = possibly qualified

1 = no recommendation

AP Exam scores of 5 are equivalent to grades of A+ and A in the corresponding college course. AP Exam scores of 4 are equivalent to grades of A-, B+, and B in college. AP Exam scores of 3 are equivalent to grades of B-, C+, and C in college.

For more information read the AP Bulletin on the College Board site

The multiple-choice section is scored by computer. The free-response section (essays and open-ended questions) is scored at the annual AP Reading held during the first two weeks in June. Specially appointed college professors and experienced AP teachers score this section of the exam. The total scores from the free-response section and the multiple-choice section are combined to form a composite score.

For more information visit the About AP Scores page on the College Board site.

How are the results reported?

Students can view their AP scores online on the college board website. starting in July of the year that exams were administered. Visit the College Board AP site after exams to learn when you can access your scores. Your online score report will include all of your AP scores if you've tested in the last four years. For more information on AP scores, visit the Scoring and Reporting page on the College Board site.

How are the results used?

Many colleges and universities grant credit and placement for scores of 3, 4, or 5; however, each college decides which scores it will accept. To see college policies for AP scores, visit the College Board’s AP Credit Policy Search. In order to be considered for credit or placement, students must send their official AP score report to the college they are planning to attend.

For more information visit the About AP Scores page on the College Board site.

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