What do “credit” and “advanced placement” mean?
Most U.S. colleges offer credit or advanced placement, or both, for qualifying AP scores.
Most colleges require that you earn a certain number of credits before you can graduate. Credits are a recognition of the academic work you’ve done—the classes you’ve taken and passed. You’ll usually need 120 credits to get a bachelor’s degree.
Many colleges offer credit for AP scores. Suppose you earn a 4 on your AP Biology Exam, and your college grants you 8 credits for that score. That means you walk into your college with 8 credits under your belt—before you even take your first class there.
Some students graduate from college early because of the credits they earn in high school through AP. This saves them money in tuition.
Many colleges recognize that your AP scores demonstrate that you already know the material in certain courses they offer. So they’ll let you skip those courses. These could be introductory courses required in your major, or core courses that the college requires all its students to take. Letting you skip these courses (so you can go right into advanced courses) is called granting you advanced placement.
Some students use the advanced placement earned through AP to free up space in their schedule so they can pursue a double major or take part in an internship or other special program.
Both Credit and Placement
In some cases, you’ll get both credit and advanced placement for a qualifying AP score. You’ll earn the credits and be able to skip a course.