The Advanced Placement Exams, or AP Exams, are tests given on individual subjects, usually to students that have just completed a year-long AP course in that same subject. AP Exams cover college-level material. They are usually taken in order to highlight a student's area of achievement or to improve credentials for admission into college. AP Exams give students an opportunity to earn college credit for coursework completed in high school.
High AP scores show a student's mastery of college-level material, and admissions officers often attach a lot of weight to AP coursework and exams. Due to the importance of these exams, it is highly recommended that a student take their high school's AP course prior to taking the AP exam. AP courses are usually taken in your junior and/or senior year. Contact the school's guidance office for more information on offered AP courses.
AP courses are designed as college-level courses. Having these courses on a college transcript indicates that a student can handle college-level coursework. Also, many schools weigh AP courses to reflect their higher level of difficulty. Therefore, earning a high grade in an AP course or courses could increase a student's overall GPA.
There are 31 AP Exams that cover the 5 general academic areas of math, science, history, English, and languages.
AP Exams are two to three hours long. Each tests covers the content of that subject. For example, the AP Exam in World History covers the content from the AP course in World History. With the exception of Studio Art, all of the AP exams combine multiple-choice questions with an open-response section. The open-response is either in essay or problem-solving format. For AP Studio Art, a student must submit a portfolio for review and scoring. For more details on each exam, visit www.collegeboard.org.
AP Exams are administered each May. Usually, a student's high school will handle AP registration. AP Exam dates, locations, and registration information can be found at www.collegeboard.org.
AP exams are graded by the College Board on a scale of 1 to 5, with the following criteria for performing in that subject at the college level:
Most colleges require at least a 3 to grant college credit. Some will accept a score of 2, while many of the more competitive colleges and universities require a 4 or 5 before granting credit.
AP grades are mailed to the student, his high school, and any selected colleges in July of the year the exam was taken. For an extra fee, scores will also be delivered by phone. AP transcripts contain scores from all the AP exams the student has ever taken, but a student may cancel one or more scores from being sent to colleges. It is necessary to contact the College Board by July 15th in order to suppress any scores.
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