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FAQs About AP Courses & Exams

Last updated July 17, 2024

Considering taking an Advanced Placement (AP) course in high school? Here are some frequently asked questions (and our answers) about taking AP courses and exams!

A hand fills in a scantron with a white pencil - FAQs About AP Courses & Exams

What are AP courses?

Advanced Placement (AP) courses, created and administered by College Board, are college-level courses offered in most high schools. They are designed to be challenging and to give students a feel for what to expect academically in college.

Who can take them?

It depends on your high school. Some schools may require students to have a minimum GPA or to pass a placement exam to enroll. Check in with an educator to learn more about enrollment requirements.

What are the benefits of taking an AP course?

There are many benefits! Here are a few:

  • Be challenged academically. AP courses are typically harder and more rigorous than other classes in high school. They can give you a feel for how much time and work goes into college-level classes.
  • Receive college credit. If you take and pass the optional AP exam towards the end of the school year, you can earn college credit in high school.
  • Stand out to colleges. Experience with AP courses can go a long way on your college applications and resume

Do I need to pay to take an AP course?

While there’s usually no fee to take an AP course, there is a fee to take the AP exam.

What are AP exams? When do they take place?

AP exams are offered every May through College Board; they measure how much you learned in your course(s) that year. Learn more about taking AP exams here, and learn more about test dates and registration deadlines here.

Do I have to take the exam?

Nope! It's optional.

How much does the exam cost?

It costs $98. Some schools may pay for students to take the exam, so check in with an educator to learn more.

Is there a fee waiver to take the exam?

While College Board doesn’t offer fee waivers, they do offer a fee reduction of $36 to eligible students. Learn more about eligibility criteria to receive a fee waiver here.

Where do I register?

Register here!

How are AP exams scored?

AP exams are scored from 1-5, with 5 being the highest score. They typically consist of multiple-choice and free-response sections. The total score is a weighted combination of these sections.

How do I submit my score(s) to the colleges I’m applying to? Is there a fee?

College Board gives students until June 20 to send their score(s) to one college of their choice for free. After that, there is a fee of $15 per report sent to additional schools. Learn more here. 

When are scores available?

Scores are usually sent to students in early July.

Can I receive college credit for taking an AP exam?

Yes! Many colleges award credit to students who score anywhere from 3 to 5 on an AP exam; it varies by school. For example, many schools will accept scores of 3 and 4 to grant credit, while others will require a 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.

Can I retake the exam?

Students can only take an AP exam for a particular subject once per year. For example, if you took three AP exams for three different subjects, but want to retake one of the subjects' exams, you will have to wait until the end of the following school year (if you'll still be in high school then). 

How can I succeed in AP courses and exams?

With the right preparation and study habits, you can set yourself up for success! Read our tips for succeeding in AP courses and exams here.

Have any questions? Text #Hello to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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