What Students Need to Know About Advanced Placement Exams

By Huntington Learning Center

Many high school students are probably aware of the terms “Advanced Placement®” or “AP®,” and of course, those taking AP® classes understand that the courses offer a challenge for high-achieving students. But it’s worth reminding students important details about the AP® exams and how performing well on these exams could benefit them. Here are five things to share:

  1. AP® exams take place every May. Exams take place at high schools and exam centers only once a year. Students can get more details from the guidance counseling office.
  2. Students can take the exams more than once. If a student takes an exam and doesn’t earn their desired score, they can retake it. The student’s score report will include scores for all AP® exams taken unless the student requests that one be withheld.
  3. Exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5. The final score for each AP® Exam offers a recommendation about how qualified students are to receive college credit and placement. Every college makes this decision differently. In 2018, the mean AP® exam score was 2.89.
  4. Students can get college credit or placement for good AP® scores. As mentioned, each college makes its own decisions about what scores receive credit or placement. Generally, students who earn a good score on an AP® exam might be able to skip a course that a college requires for its general education requirements.
  5. AP scores shouldn’t hurt a student’s chances for admission. Colleges consider a wide range of factors when admitting students, including the strength of their curriculum. So, while taking AP® classes should bolster the application, a low AP® exam score isn’t likely to harm an applicant’s admission prospects.

To learn more about AP scores and what they mean, students should meet with the guidance counselor at school and visit www.collegeboard.org.