Last Updated: April 14, 2021

Advanced Placement Scores

Advanced Placement (AP) Tests are taken by students who want to earn extra credits for their college during their high-school years. It also lets the students meet some of the course requirements in colleges and is a measure of how far the students are willing to push themselves into academia.

The scores in AP courses range from 1 to 5 where 5 is the maximum a student can get and the passing grade is 3. A grade of 4 and above are considered to be good while applying to colleges and though a 3 is passable and accepted in colleges, it does not let the student stand out from the rest.

Scoring in AP Courses

The total score in AP exams is calculated as the sum of the different section scores. The two different sections in AP exams are commonly multiple-choice sections and free-response sections. While these two sections are common to all AP tests, there are courses that include other scoring components as well.

Schools are required to send the AP Exam materials to the AP Program after the tests have been conducted. The different sections are evaluated manually and by a computer where the multiple-choice section is scanned and graded by a computer and the free-response section is graded by college professors and other AP teachers.

The scores in each of these sections are combined to form a composite score which is scaled into a 5-point marker through statistical processing that ensures that the grade remains the same for different difficulty levels of the exam over the past years.

Score Scales in AP Courses

The scores for AP tests are done on a scale of 5 where 1 is the lowest score and 5 is the highest score attainable. The passing grade for all AP tests is 3. Attaining a 3 implies that the student has qualified in the test while a 4 implies that the student is very well qualified. Receiving a 5 in an AP test implies that the student is extremely well qualified in the subject.
Exam ScoreCollege Equivalent
1-
2-
3B-, C+, C
4 A-, B+, B
5 A+, A

The mean score achieved by students in 2020 was 3.03 which indicates that out of the number of students who attended the test-taking different courses more than 60% of the students earned a score above 3.

Score Distribution Chart

The score distribution of the AP test scores of the year 2020 for select subjects including their mean scores and percentage of students that received a passing grade have been mentioned below.
CourseMean Score3 or Higher %
Calculus AB3.0761.4
Chemistry2.7656.1
English Literature2.8460.1
English Language2.9662.1
Art History3.1568.7
Music Theory3.2869.2
Psychology3.2271.3

Special Score Structures in AP

Receiving AP Scores

Students will be able to view their scores by signing into their College Board Account. The results come in waves depending on the location of the candidate but are traditionally received in the month of July every year. In case the student is unable to login into their account or has forgotten their user details, they are supposed to contact the authorities immediately, and in no circumstance are they supposed to create a second user id since this may cause delays in receiving the scores.

Sending AP Scores

Students can send their score reports to colleges or universities of their choice by signing into their College Board account and clicking on the Score Send tab that is available in their AP profile. They will be able to confirm if the college has received their score by signing into the online account provided by the college or by enquiring at the admission office. The score reporting system in AP only makes it possible to view the date on which the scores were sent to the college and there will be no information regarding when the score has reached the institution.

Apart from the one free score that can be sent to colleges, students can choose to send their scores to other colleges for a fee that differs according to the medium of delivery. The payment has to be made through a credit card by signing into their College Board account.
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While sending the score report to colleges, students must know that their previous AP test scores will also be included with the present score if they do not actively withhold or cancel any of the scores listed.

Cancelling AP Scores

Students will be able to cancel their AP test scores for no additional charge. If the student has requested for the cancellation of the scores immediately after the test, their answers will go unscored whereas if they cancel the score after the score report is out their scores will be deleted from their history.

Canceling the score does not entitle the student to a refund and if the student does not want their scores to be sent to the college or university of their choice, they will have to cancel the score before mid-June.
In order to cancel the score, the student will have to download and complete the AP score cancellation form with the information regarding which scores they want to be canceled. They can send the downloaded forms via mail or fax to AP Services, P.O. Box 6671, Princeton, NJ 08541-6671, Fax: 610-290-8979.

Withholding AP Scores

Students can withhold their scores from colleges or scholarship programs that have been chosen as score recipients. This does not delete their scores permanently from their record and in order to retrieve these results the student will have to send the AP Services a signed written request.

In order to apply for withholding scores, students have to download and complete the AP Score Withholding Form with detailed information and pay a fee of $10 per college. This payment should be sent to The College Board, P.O. Box 21535, New York, NY 10087-1535 if it is in the form of a cheque or money order. If the payment is made by credit card, it should be done to AP Services, P.O. Box 6671, Princeton, NJ 08541-6671, Fax: 610-290-8979.