Frequently Asked Questions About AP Classes & Exams
Last updated August 29, 2022
Considering taking an Advanced Placement (AP) class in high school? Having all the important information about taking an AP class can help you make the best decision possible for you and your schedule. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about taking AP classes in high school!
What is Advanced Placement?
Advanced Placement (AP) classes are college-level classes taken in high school. These classes, which are offered through The College Board, are designed to challenge students academically, give them a feel for college-level coursework, and even allow them to receive college credit.
Who can take AP classes?
Any high school student can take an AP class if they have shown that they can succeed in difficult classes. Some high schools, however, may require students to pass a placement exam to be able to enroll in AP classes. Check in with a teacher or your guidance counselor to see what is required of you before enrolling.
My school doesn't offer AP classes! What should I do?
Don't worry! There are so many great ways to stand out academically on college applications - even without AP classes. Read our guide on what to do if your school doesn't offer AP classes here.
What are the benefits of taking an AP class?
There are many benefits of taking an AP class! Here are a few:
- Be challenged academically. AP classes are typically harder and more rigorous than other classes in high school.
- Get a feel for college-level classes. Taking an AP class can give you a feel for how much time and work goes into college-level classes. This can help you feel more prepared to start college when the time comes.
- Potentially receive college credit. If you pass the AP exam in the spring, you can earn college credit, which you can use to save time and money on college tuition down the road.
- Stand out to colleges when applying. Experience with AP classes can go a long way on your college application and student resume - it shows colleges that you can handle college-level work!
Are AP classes free?
Yes! There is no charge or fee to take an AP class through your high school. There is, however, a fee to take the AP exam.
How can I do well in AP classes?
AP classes can be challenging - but you got this! Read our tips for succeeding in AP classes and exams here.
Can I get college credit from taking an AP class?
Yes! Most colleges and universities will give you credit for AP courses if you receive the exam score required by that institution. For example, many schools will accept a score of 3 or higher, but some more competitive colleges and universities may require scores of 4 or 5. When you’re applying to colleges, be sure to research their policies on accepting AP credit, or use College Board’s Credit Policy Search here.
What are AP exams?
AP exams are official exams offered through The College Board to measure how much you learned in the AP class(es) you took that school year. The exams are paper and pencil exams, and usually last around 2-3 hours. Learn more about the specifics of taking AP exams here.
Do I have to take the AP exam?
Nope! AP exams are optional, even if you took an AP class.
When are AP exams?
The AP exams are every May, but tests are ordered in March. The dates vary slightly from year to year so be sure to check out the test dates and registration deadlines here.
How much does the exam cost?
AP exams cost $97 per test. All exams must be paid for and ordered separately. Some schools may pay for students to take the exam, so check in with your teacher or counselor to explore your options. Learn more about up-to-date costs and fees here.
Is there a fee waiver to take the exam?
The College Board provides a $32 fee reduction for eligible students with financial need. Some schools and states also offer financial assistance to bring these costs down further. To learn about any fee waivers offered through your state, click here.
How can I prepare for the exam?
The College Board has practice questions and other resources to help you study for your AP exam. CrashCourse on YouTube also has free informative videos on a variety of different AP subjects, such as History, Science, and Math.
How do I submit my exam scores to the college(s) I’m applying to?
When you register for the exam, you will be able to choose the schools you want to receive your scores. Additionally, through The College Board website, you can create an account and view your scores when they become available. If you forgot to include a school you want to send your scores to, you can choose to send them through your online account. There is an extra fee to do this, however, so we encourage you to remember all the schools you want to submit your scores to before taking the exam!
Can I retake the exam?
It is possible to retake an AP exam, but since you can only take the exam once per year (when it's offered in May), this isn’t a very common option. Talk to your teacher or counselor if you’re considering retaking an exam.
Considering taking an AP class or exam and need some help making a decision? We’re here to support! Text #Hello to 33-55-77 to speak with one of our college advisors.