What Are AP Exams?

What Are AP Classes?

As I’m sure you already know, AP stands for “Advanced Placement.”  AP classes are college-level courses that are only offered at select high schools to students who excel in one or more subjects.  AP classes offer a more challenging curriculum and allow students to engage in group discussions and solve problems as you would in a college setting.

What Are AP Exams?

An AP exam is a college-level exam that is taken in May by those high school students who have been enrolled in AP classes during the school year.  They offer high school students the opportunity to earn college credits based on their score.  If your score is high enough, then you do not have to take certain classes in college.  This gives first-year college students a chance to graduate early and save money, take on a double major, or study abroad for a semester.

Also, as an added bonus…AP classes tend to impress college admissions committees.  This lets them know that you are not afraid to work hard and challenge yourself.

How Are AP Exams Formatted?

There are 33 different AP exams that high school students can take.  Most AP exams are a combination of multiple choice questions and essays.

How Am I Graded?

All AP exams are graded from 1-5:

5=Extremely Qualified

4=Well Qualified


2=Possibly Qualified

1=No Recommendation

Do All Schools Accept AP Exam Scores for College Credit?

Nearly all schools (90%) give students credit for AP exam scores.  Some schools will only give credit to those student’s who have earned either a 4’s or 5’s, while other give credit for 3’s as well.  You will have to contact each school directly to find out their specific process.  Regardless, all colleges will recognize a student with AP courses listed on their transcript.

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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