AP Exams

Young student stressed by her examinations in a classroom

Strong AP scores not only tell colleges that you truly learned the material in your respective advanced classes, but they also can count for course credit once you get to college.

Walking into freshman year with course credit gives you the opportunity to do one, if not all all, of the following:

  • Focus on the classes you WANT to take
  • Take a lighter courseload during challenging quarters/semesters
  • Double major or add a minor (since you now have more room in your schedule)
  • Graduate early!

High scores on AP exams prove to colleges that you are prepared to pursue particular subjects on the college level. This is your chance to show admissions officers where your strengths lie and to convince them that you can thrive in their school’s advanced courses, so be sure to take tests in your areas of academic interest (for instance, if you intend to apply as a Physics major, you’ll want to do extremely well on the AP Physics exam). Strong AP scores also reinforce strong grades or can make Admissions officers more forgiving of weaker grades; for instance, getting a B in a class but scoring well on the AP exam shows that you understand the material but perhaps had a tough teacher.

NOTE: You are under no obligation to report your AP scores on your college applications, but it does look a bit suspicious if you don’t. If you take an AP class but do not report a score, there’s always a chance they’ll believe you were sick the one day of the year that the exam was offered — but there’s an even greater chance they’ll assume you simply did poorly.


AP exams are offered in thirty-four different high school subjects, and each exam is 2- to 3-hours long:

  • Art History
  • Biology
  • Calculus AB
  • Calculus BC
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese Language & Culture
  • Computer Science A
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Environmental Science
  • European History
  • French Language
  • German Language
  • Comparative Government & Politics
  • U.S. Government & Politics
  • Human Geography
  • Italian Language & Culture
  • Japanese Language & Culture
  • Latin: Vergil
  • Music Theory
  • Physics B
  • Physics C
  • Psychology
  • Spanish Language
  • Spanish Literature
  • Statistics
  • Studio Art
  • U.S. History
  • World History

While you typically need to have taken the related course in order to do well on an AP exam, you are not required to have done so.

Points are not deducted for incorrect answers and NO points are awarded for unanswered questions, so it is always better to guess than to leave a question blank.

Scores range from 1-5, with a 3 or higher representing a “pass.” Many colleges, though, require a 4 or a 5 for students to receive course credit and test out of introductory classes in particular subjects. This varies by school, so you’ll need to check with each college individually.

Young student stressed by her examinations in a classroom

You should be taking fairly regular practice exams in your AP class, which will give you a solid understanding of your preparedness (or lack thereof). When gauging how well you are doing, consider the weight of each section of the test; for instance, in US History, the DBQs carries a lot more weight than the multiple choice Education and Common Core questions, and yet many teachers focus their practice tests on multiple choice questions because they are easier to grade. Know how to address the free response portions of your exams, as they are by far the most important.

Depending on your needs, our tutors can supplement any gaps in material that exist or simply cover strategy, pacing, etc — either in one-on-one sessions or in a small group with your friends/siblings (learn more about private vs group tutoring). How much time we spend and how in depth we go is entirely dependent on how you’re currently scoring, how you hope to score, and how much energy you want to invest in improving.

Explore our various Classic packagesClassic+ packages, and Founder’s Circle packages to determine which is best for you!