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A Guide To The AP Exams

High school students are at a crucial stage in their careers. They need to gear up for the future by getting ready for college admission. The AP exams are a very important assessment that helps students achieve their career goals. The AP or Advanced Placement courses allow students to prepare for college by taking up advanced courses that would prepare them for their college life. They can take up this program while at high school and make their preparation for their college more effective.

Advanced Placement Examination

The AP exams can be taken by students who complete the AP courses. By taking the exams, the students can earn credit for college education. The credit they earn will be considered by colleges allowing them to save on time and money. Most importantly, clearing the exams will be a plus point for students looking to join the best colleges. Top colleges give preference to students who have AP qualifications. Students can take up the courses in the areas of their interest and look forward to a great future.

The exams

The AP exams are standardized exams that are conducted by the College Board to test the proficiency of students. The goal of the exam is to assess how effectively the student has mastered the course and acquired skills. Assessment is usually done through an examination through pen and paper exam that is marked by assessors. There can be other forms of exams too. For example, a portfolio can be submitted for assessment (as in Art and design course).

Exam Structure

There are 38 AP courses for which AP exams are held. Each of the courses can have specific requirements but the structure, in general, is described below:

• The duration of the exams is for 2 or 3 hours.

• There are usually multiple-choice questions in the first part of the exam.

• There are no penalties for incorrect answers.

• The second part of the exam has questions that need to be answered in detail. These would be reviewed by an examiner who would award marks.

• The total score for the exam is arrived using a weighted formula of the score obtained in the two sections.

• The score obtained in the exam is presented on a 5-point scale. The scoring details are as follows:



Grade equivalent


Extremely well qualified

A+ / A


Very well qualified

A- / B+ / B



B- / C+ / C-


Possibly qualified



No recommendation


•    Once the scoring is done, the scores are sent to the colleges you indicated in the AP application and also your AP teachers.

•    In 2020, the average AP score was 3.03, which shows how competitive the exam is.

The AP exams are important for high school students. They can enroll in AP courses and then clear the exams. A good performance at these exams will allow students to earn college credit and help them get admission to the best colleges, thus helping them achieve their career goals.

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