How are AP Exams scored?

After the AP Exams are administered, schools return all paper AP Exam materials to the AP Program. Then, for most AP courses:

  • 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 assessments for AP Seminar, AP Research, AP Computer Science Principles, the three AP Art and Design courses, and AP African American Studies are different. See each course page for details.

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