About AP Scores

AP Exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5. Many U.S. colleges grant credit and/or advanced placement (that means they let you skip the equivalent course once you get to college) for scores of 3 and above.

Keep in Mind

Your total score is calculated from your section scores.

For most AP Exams, your score is a weighted combination of your scores on the 2 sections, multiple-choice and free-response. Some AP courses have assessments that include other scored components.

AP Exams are scored on a 5-point scale.

The final score for each AP Exam is reported on a 5-point scale that offers a recommendation about how qualified you are to receive college credit and placement—but each college makes its own decisions about what scores it will grant credit or placement for.

AP score setting is based on research.

The AP Program conducts studies in all AP subjects to correlate the performance of AP students with that of college students in comparable college courses. These studies help set the “cut points” that determine how AP students’ composite scores are translated into an AP score of 1–5.

FAQs

After the May AP Exams, schools return all AP Exam materials to the AP Program. Then:

  • The multiple-choice section is scored by computer. Each answer sheet is scanned and the total number of correct responses equals the multiple-choice score.
  • The free-response section (essays and open-ended questions) and through-course performance tasks are 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. These composite scores are then translated into the 5-point scale using statistical processes designed to ensure that, for example, a 3 this year reflects the same level of achievement as a 3 last year.

The above is true for most AP courses. However, the assessments for AP Seminar, AP Research, AP Computer Science Principles, and the three AP Art and Design courses are different. See each individual course page for details.

You, the college or university you designated on your answer sheet, and educators in your school and district, including your AP teachers. You can submit an online request to send your scores to additional colleges and universities for a fee. Your parents do not have access to your scores, unless you’ve given them your College Board account information.

If your school, district, or state partners with other educational organizations, your scores and/or personally identifying information may be shared with those specific educational organizations. To find out whether your scores will be shared with any of these organizations, ask your school.

If you are a resident of the state of Kentucky, your AP Exam scores will automatically be sent to the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KYHEAA). If you do not want your scores sent to KYHEAA, send us a request. Your request must be received by June 15 of the year you took the exam. Write to: AP Program, Educational Testing Service, 1425 Lower Ferry Road, 29Q, Ewing, NJ 08618. Be sure to include your full name, mailing address, date of birth, sex, eight-digit AP number, and your 6-digit high school code number.

Check the admission websites of the colleges that interest you to see if sending your official scores will help support your application. In general, colleges want to see that you are taking the most rigorous course work available to you. By enrolling in AP courses you demonstrate that you are interested in challenging yourself and learning at a college level.

Most likely not. When making admission decisions, colleges consider many more factors than just exam scores, including the strength of your coursework and your GPA in rigorous courses. By enrolling in AP courses you demonstrate that you are interested in challenging yourself and learning at a college level.

More than 75% of admission officers we surveyed told us that a low score on an AP Exam would not harm an applicant’s admission prospects.

The mean score for the 2019 AP Exams was 2.91. Nearly 60% of all exams taken earned a score of 3 or higher. To learn more about individual exams, visit AP Score Distributions.

Click Download Score Report to download an unofficial copy of your score report as a PDF. If your computer or device does not support PDFs, click the link to download the Adobe Acrobat software, or use the “print screen” function to get a screenshot of your score report.

Not a student?

Go to AP Central for resources for educators