All about Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams (2023)

The AP program offers students the opportunity to take college-level courses while still in high school.

Does your student want to challenge themselves and work at the college level in high school? The Advanced Placement (AP) program provides this opportunity.

(Video) My AP Exam Study Routine for 2021 | Are APs worth it?

The AP program is administered by the College Board, a nonprofit organization that develops the curriculum, creates and administers the tests, and supports the faculty. The AP program offers students the opportunity to take one or more college-level courses while still in high school and earn college credit if they score a 3, 4, or 5 on the AP test they receive.

What AP courses and exams are offered?

The AP program currently offers 38 courses and exams in 24 subject areas. It offers the option of earning a degree called Capstone, which requires two courses, research and seminar, four subject-specific AP courses, and the exams. Schools vary in the AP courses they offer. In 2021-2022, College Board offered AP exams in 2D Art and Design, 3D Art and Design, Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Chinese Language and Culture, Comparative Government and Politics, Computer Science in A, Fundamentals of Computer Science, Drawing, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Environmental Studies, European History, French Language and Culture, German Language and Culture, Human Geography, Italian Language and Culture, Language and Culture Japanese, Latin, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Music Theory, Physics 1 and 2: Algebra Based, Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, Physics C: Mechanics, Psychology, Spanish Language and Culture, Spanish Literature and Culture, Statistics, Government and United States Politics - History and World History: Modernity.

(Video) Introduction to AP | Advanced Placement

Both AP quota and performance increase.According to the University Council, a total of 1.1 million students in the Class of 2021 took at least one AP exam, up from nearly 900,000 students in 2011. The percentage of high school seniors who scored a 3 or higher on at minus an AP exam increased from 17.2 percent to 22.5 percent during the same period.

Many schools offer college-level AP classes to prepare students for AP exams, but students can take the exams without taking a specific course. Taking AP courses helps students develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for a successful transition to college. Many believe that regardless of test results (and, in fact, many students do not take the test), students who take the courses are better prepared for college. Additionally, it increases the likelihood that a student will graduate from college on time. AP courses are often challenging and require a certain level of maturity and commitment for students to be successful.

(Video) Everything You Need to Know About AP Classes and Exams

If you are looking for your schoolgreat schools, you can see the percentage of kids taking AP courses, taking AP exams, and passing AP exams. And in California, Florida, New York, and Texas, you can see a list of advanced courses offered at each high school.

How much do the exams cost?

Students in 2022 must pay $96 per exam or $144 for the AP Seminar and AP Research exams. A $34 fee reduction can be obtained from the College Board for those who demonstrate a need. Students may also qualify for the AP Examfee waiveryour state, city and/or school district.

(Video) Pro Tips to Prepare for AP Exams

How do honors and AP classes compare?

Like AP courses, honors courses have more rigorous workloads and involve a deeper dive into the subject matter they cover. While honors courses do not earn college credit, they are a completely free alternative to AP courses and tell colleges that your student has chosen the added challenge of an honors course.

Unlike AP classes, honors classes are not based on a national curriculum. Instead, local districts, schools, and teachers determine what is taught (as long as the course content is consistent with whatever government standards may exist for that subject). Due to this flexibility, special grades can varyStrict. In some schools, they present a challenging alternative to AP classes, especially when those AP classes do not prepare students very well to do well on AP exams. At other schools, special classes may be more rigorous than regular classes, but less rigorous than AP classes. Because Honors rankings can vary so much, it's important to understand how Honors classes compare to other options at your child's school.

(Video) #Transizion What Are AP Classes? The Definitive Guide

PA Benefits

  • Students who score a 3, 4, or 5 on AP exams can skip introductory courses and enter many credit-bearing colleges and universities. Each college sets its own guidelines for college credit and advancement to higher level courses for successful completion of AP exams. To find out which schools offer credit for AP exams, use theCollege Board College Search Tool(In the Academic Credits section, check the AP Credit box) or check with the specific schools your child is interested in.
  • While there has been a national debate about whether students feel pressured to take too many AP courses, several studies have shown that higher scores (3, 4, or 5) on AP exams are associated with higher grades and graduation rates. correlate with college.
  • A study from the University of Texas compared the scores of students in advanced courses in 10 subjects. One group took an AP course in this subject in high school; the other group took the introductory college course. The study showed that students who used their AP credits for a more advanced college course scored higher in these advanced courses than students who took introductory college courses.
  • Some critics argue that high school AP courses do not match the depth and rigor of the courses offered by universities. But others argue that students are more likely to attract attention in a smaller AP high school course than in a large classroom-style introductory course.
  • Many selected colleges and universities are looking for students who have successfully completed the most challenging courses offered at their school. That means honors, AP orInternational Baccalaureate (IB)Courses.

Questions to ask at your school

  • Find out what AP courses are offered at your child's high school. Ask what requirements your child needs to be able to participate in these courses.
  • Ask how students scored on specific tests and whether the same professors teach these AP courses. Beware of the large number of low scores on any given test. This may indicate that students are not adequately prepared to pass the AP exam.
  • If your child is interested in a particular course, ask him or her to speak with the teacher beforehand to find out what the workload is and what preparation is needed to participate in the course. Some teachers require students to complete an assignment (such as a summer reading) before the course begins.
  • If your child is interested in an AP subject but the course is not offered at your school, find out which school can help your child prepare for the test. Some states also offer AP courses online.
  • Make sure your school follows the AP curriculum in accordance with the AP test. Beware of courses labeled AP Philosophy, AP Astronomy, or AP Botany. these are notSubjects included in the College Board Advanced Placement program.


How does advanced placement work? ›

What is Advanced Placement and why is it important? AP ® tests are college-level exams on specific subjects and are administered in May upon the completion of an AP course taken at a student's high school. At many colleges and universities, a high enough score will earn the student college credit.

Is advanced placement the same as AP? ›

Advanced Placement (AP) is a program in the United States and Canada created by the College Board. AP offers undergraduate university-level curricula and examinations to high school students.

How many advanced placement exams are there? ›

There are 38 AP subject exams. Want to take an exam for a course not offered at your high school? Talk to your guidance counselor about your registration and study options.

What are the top 3 hardest AP classes? ›

Top 10 Hardest AP Classes by Exam Pass Rate
  • Physics 1. 51.6% 8.8%
  • Environmental Science. 53.4% 11.9%
  • Chemistry. 56.1% 10.6%
  • U.S. Government and Politics. 57.5% 15.5%
  • U.S. History. 58.7% 13.0%
  • Human Geography. 59.0% 11.8%
  • European History. 59.3% 13.7%
  • Statistics. 60.0% 16.2%

How hard are advanced placement courses? ›

AP classes can be challenging, but that doesn't mean you're not up to the task. If you're willing to work hard and if you're prepared academically, you should be able to succeed in an AP course. And remember, students benefit from taking AP courses and exams, no matter their score.

Is advanced placement harder than honors? ›

AP classes, however, are more challenging than honors classes. These courses cover information, teach skills and give assignments that correspond to college classes. High school students taking AP courses will be held to the same standard as college students.

Do advanced classes boost your GPA? ›

AP classes can boost your GPA and strengthen your college application. But the number of advanced courses you choose to take should depend on your academic interests and your schedule.

How many AP classes should I take? ›

Aim for four to eight AP exams in your junior and senior years. For competitive Ivy League schools, admission officers also want to see AP courses for core subject areas and additional courses. If possible, aim to pass about seven to 12 AP exams if applying to these highly selective schools.

How many AP credits do you need to skip a year of college? ›

If you manage to take 11 AP classes throughout your high school stay, that's enough (33 credits on average) to skip a whole year of college. While that may too much, even a couple of classes can be enough to give you a semester ahead of your peers coming into college.

What is the least taken AP class? ›

Many of the least popular AP exams are world language tests, as these exams generally target a more niche group of students. What's more, some languages are less commonly taught at high schools than others (e.g., Japanese and Italian courses are rarer than Spanish courses).

What is the easiest AP Exam to pass? ›

Top 10 Easiest AP Classes by Exam Pass Rate
  • Physics C: Mechanics. 84.3% 41.6%
  • Calculus BC. 81.6% 44.6%
  • Spanish Literature. 75.1% 17.6%
  • Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism. 74.4% 40.4%
  • Physics 2. 73.3% 14.0%
  • Computer Science Principles. 71.6% 10.9%
  • Psychology. 71.3% 22.4%
  • Computer Science A. 70.4% 25.6%

How many APS should I take for Harvard? ›

Going up the selectivity chain, the average at Harvard is eight AP classes. To be competitive at some of the most highly selective colleges in the country, 8-12 AP courses may be the sweet spot amount, assuming the student can handle that level of rigor.

What is the most failed AP exam? ›

The most failed AP exams are Physics 1 (failed by 48.4% of all students), Environmental Science (failed by 46.6% of all students), and Chemistry (failed by 43.9% of all students). For a full chart of the hardest AP exams (those with the lowest passing rate), check out this site.

What AP classes should I take junior year? ›

eAchieve Academy recommends your student take core AP classes such as AP Sciences or AP Foreign Languages come junior year. It's a good idea to take two to four AP classes junior year, but students should be careful to not spread themselves too thin.

What are the hardest APS in high school? ›

United States History, Biology, English Literature, Calculus BC, Physics C, and Chemistry are often named as the hardest AP classes and tests. These classes have large curriculums, tough tests, and conceptually difficult material.

Is taking APS worth it? ›

Research shows that students who take AP courses and exams have better college outcomes than their peers. Whatever your score, taking an AP Exam can keep you on track for college. The majority of students who score a 1 or 2 on their first AP Exam are likely to improve their score on a future exam.

Are APS worth it in high school? ›

By and large, AP classes are worth it. While they take additional energy (and potentially a small financial investment for exam fees), your student could earn college credit while they are in high school. If your student gets the right scores, the test fee could save them hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Do colleges prefer AP or honors? ›

Colleges like them both. Both honors and AP courses are rigorous courses that most high schools weight more heavily on your transcript. AP courses, however, culminate in the AP Exam. Good AP scores show colleges you are ready to succeed at college-level work and can even earn you college credits.

How much do AP classes boost your GPA? ›

While honors courses usually add 0.5 points to your GPA, AP classes often add 1 point. In other words, a 3.5 GPA would be boosted to a 4.0 in an honors class and a 4.5 in an AP class.

How long is an advanced placement course? ›

This highly valued qualification is a 2-year program and offers one of two different awards. As mentioned previously, learning how to learn for college is hugely beneficial and sets students up for success later on in life.

Does taking AP classes senior year matter? ›

Senior APs do count. Colleges look at your senior courses to see that youre still taking challenging courses and your grades in your midyear report. If you take a lot, it won't necessarily make up for previous years. Don't take too many and overwhelm yourself but find a balance that works for you.

Should I take more AP classes junior or senior year? ›

If you're mainly taking AP classes for college credits, it may make more sense to load up your schedule during senior year. You won't have AP test scores by college application deadlines, but you can still earn credits toward your college degree.

Is 4 APs too much junior year? ›

Junior Year

Depending on what kind of school you want to go to, you should be taking between 3 and 5 AP® classes this year. You will need to manage your time well, however, as you also need to study for the SAT® or ACT® during this time.

What happens if you take an AP class but not the exam? ›

If you don't take an exam, you won't face any real consequences. Some AP teachers offer extra credit to incentivize students to take the exam, so you may miss out on that. But otherwise, there will be no issues.

How many AP classes should a freshman take? ›

Freshmen usually take 0-2 APs in areas such as Human Geography, Environmental Science, or Computer Science Principles. Sophomores usually take 1-3 APs in areas such as Psychology, World History, European History, Art History, or Economics.

Do colleges care if you don't take an AP exam senior year? ›

AP exams have literally no impact on admissions just the rigor. It will not hurt that you didn't take the tests as it will still be 7 APs.

Do colleges care if you drop an AP class senior year? ›

Having one dropped class on your transcript will almost never have an effect on your chances of getting accepted to colleges.

Can you take an AP class if your school doesn't offer it? ›

Can I register for an AP Exam if my school doesn't offer AP courses or administer AP Exams? Yes. You can't order AP Exams directly, but you should be able to arrange to take exams at a nearby high school that administers AP Exams.

What is the hardest AP course? ›

AP Physics C – Electricity & Magnetism (E&M) is rated as the hardest AP test by real AP class alumnae, with an average difficulty rating of 8.1 / 10 (10 = hardest). Those who stay the course often score well, though, with a 2022 pass rate of 69%, and 30% of students earning a 5.

How many AP classes is too much? ›

Take as many as you can handle without spreading yourself thin, and make sure you will have time to study for the ACT or SAT this year. An Ivy League hopeful might take 3 to 5 AP classes, while if you're aiming for less-selective schools, 2 to 4 would be enough.

Is a 70% a 5 on the AP exam? ›

Usually, a 70 to 75 percent out of 100 translates to a 5. However, there are some exams that are exceptions to this rule of thumb. The AP Grades that are reported to students, high schools, colleges, and universities in July are on AP's five-point scale: 5: Extremely well qualified.

What are the hardest AP classes to self-study? ›

The Hardest AP Classes

Traditionally, courses like English Literature, Physics 1, and Chemistry are difficult to self-study for or complete at home because of the need for conversation and 1:1 instruction — like the lab element necessary to understand the science courses' material.

What is the hardest AP exam in the world? ›

This Blog Includes:
  • Gaokao.
  • IIT-JEE (Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination)
  • UPSC (Union Public Services Commission)
  • Mensa.
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examination)
  • CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst)
  • CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert)
  • GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering, India)

Can you get into an Ivy League without AP classes? ›

The Ivy leagues don't discriminate if your school doesn't offer you AP classes. However, if your school offers AP classes and you don't take the opportunity to take them all they will notice that and it's not a good thing. This really depends on how many your school offers.

Can I get into Harvard with 5 AP classes? ›

A Quick Review

Harvard only accepts AP® scores of 5 for course credit. If you have 4 scores of 5, you can opt to obtain Advanced Standing. You can use AP® credits to opt-out of lower-level classes. Harvard has general academic requirements that all students must take.

What is the highest GPA to get into Harvard? ›

In truth, you need close to a 4.0 unweighted GPA to get into Harvard. That means nearly straight As in every class.

Can you take an AP test again if you fail it? ›

AP Exams are only given once a year, but you may repeat an exam in a subsequent year. If you do, both scores will be reported unless you request that one be withheld or canceled.

Is it OK to get a 2 on an AP exam? ›

Students who earn AP scores of 2 are well prepared to succeed in introductory college coursework. Compared to academically similar college peers who did not take the AP course, AP students who earn scores of 2 perform as well or better when they take those introductory college courses.

Is a 75 a 5 on the AP exam? ›

Thing. Here are the basics of the AP English exam: it has 55 multiple-choice questions, worth 45% of your score, and three essays, worth 55% of your score. Each essay is graded between 1 and 9.
Step 3: Use the Chart to Estimate Your Scaled Score.
Composite Score (0-100 or 0-150)Scaled Score (1-5)
3 more rows
Mar 21, 2020

What is the highest GPA with AP classes? ›

How does the AP GPA scale work? Unlike a traditional 4.0 scale, AP courses are graded on a weighted scale that goes up to 5.0. On a traditional scale, a 4.0 is an A, 3.0 a B and so on. On the AP weighted grading scale, a 5.0 is an A, 4.0 a B and so on.

How many aps should i take sophomore year? ›

Instead, students typically start by taking 1-3 AP classes during their sophomore year, beginning with some of the less demanding courses. They may then pick up the pace during their junior year, enrolling in more challenging options. These courses can enhance your transcript and boost your GPA.

What AP classes give the most college credit? ›

It gives college credit for every AP exam, and you generally only need to score a 3 to get college credit (although higher scores often earn you more credit). Math, science, and foreign language exams tend to give the most credit.

How do you bring an F to an A? ›

Turn your F into an A
  1. Identify the Problem. Before you start working on fixing the current problem, you need to figure out what caused you to be in this situation in the first place. ...
  2. Seek Help. Before you start working on anything you need to seek out help. ...
  3. Formulate a Plan. ...
  4. Use Some Tech. ...
  5. Reward Yourself.
Apr 15, 2016

How many hours of homework do you get per AP class? ›

Statistics 30-45 min of homework per class. Larger projects: week long project at the end of the year. Small projects: 2-3 per quarter (given 2-3 days to complete). Unit tests: 1-2 per quarter.

What is a good first AP class? ›

Easiest AP Classes and Tests:

Psychology. Human Geography. Environmental Science. US Government.

Are advanced placement classes really worth it? ›

Research shows that AP students — especially high scorers on AP exams — are more likely to have higher GPAs in their first year of college than those who didn't take any AP exams. This suggests that participation in the AP program correlates to better preparation for a college curriculum.

Which AP is the hardest? ›

AP Physics C – Electricity & Magnetism (E&M) is rated as the hardest AP test by real AP class alumnae, with an average difficulty rating of 8.1 / 10 (10 = hardest). Those who stay the course often score well, though, with a 2022 pass rate of 69%, and 30% of students earning a 5.

What is the easiest AP class? ›

AP Psychology maintains its reputation as an "easy" course due to its relatively uncomplicated course content. Students complete projects, tests, and quizzes throughout the year as they prepare for the exam. Students can take the AP Psychology exam on paper or in a digital format.

How do AP exams work in high school? ›

AP Exams are standardized exams designed to measure how well you've mastered the content and skills of a specific AP course. Most AP courses have an end-of-year exam, but a few courses have different ways to assess what you've learned—for example, AP Art and Design students submit a portfolio of work for scoring.

How many APs should I take for Harvard? ›

Going up the selectivity chain, the average at Harvard is eight AP classes. To be competitive at some of the most highly selective colleges in the country, 8-12 AP courses may be the sweet spot amount, assuming the student can handle that level of rigor.

Do APs look good for college? ›

Students looking to earn admission to highly selective colleges should take multiple AP classes to bolster their applications and demonstrate they can handle challenging coursework. Some college admissions experts recommend taking as many as 7-12 AP courses before applying to the most elite universities.

What is the most failed AP course? ›

What Are the Most Failed AP Exams? All AP exams have a passing rate of at least 50%. The most failed AP exams are Physics 1 (failed by 48.4% of all students), Environmental Science (failed by 46.6% of all students), and Chemistry (failed by 43.9% of all students).

What is the lowest passing AP class? ›

Physics 1 has the lowest pass rate of any AP exam (42.1%) along with one of the lowest percentages of students scoring a 5 (just 6.9%). Physics 1 is an algebra-based physics class that explores topics such as Newtonian mechanics, simple circuits, and mechanical waves.

What grade is AP failing? ›

The College Board considers a score of 3 or higher a passing grade. That said, some colleges require a 4 or 5 to award credit. Whether a 3 is a good AP score depends on the colleges you're applying to.

Is it better to get a B in an AP class? ›

The short answer is that it's better to get a "B" in the AP or Honors class because selective colleges want to see that students are challenging themselves academically, but also that they're mastering the material.

What is the second hardest AP class? ›

Environmental Science:

The second hardest AP class is environmental science, with a passing rate of 53.4%. This class is often known for students underestimating the course.

What happens if I pass the AP class but not the exam? ›

Although there are no consequences from skipping the exam, you might be missing out on some opportunities. The first and most obvious advantage is the college credit. Although many colleges are highly selective about AP results, or don't accept them at all, some still will give you credit.

What happens if you fail a high school AP exam? ›

What happens if you fail an AP exam? If you fail an AP exam, you will not receive college credit for that course. The good news is that a failed exam does not affect your GPA. In addition, you can retake the AP exam the next year.

What happens if I fail an AP class? ›

Your GPA Will Be Lowered: If you fail an AP Class, your unweighted GPA will be impacted the same way as if you'd failed any other class, which isn't great! However, your weighted GPA will fall by less, since AP classes are usually weighted a point or two higher than normal classes depending on your school.


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