What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

AP Grading Scale: How does it work?

Hey everyone! I'm taking a few AP courses this year, and I'm getting a little confused about the grading scale for the exams. Can someone help me understand how the AP tests are graded and how they might affect my college applications? Appreciate it!

7 months ago

Hello! I'd be happy to help clarify the AP grading scale for you. When taking AP exams, you'll receive a grade on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest possible score. Here's a general breakdown:

1. Very limited understanding of the subject

2. Possibly qualified (some understanding)

3. Qualified (average understanding)

4. Well qualified (above-average understanding)

5. Extremely well qualified (outstanding understanding)

These scores are given based on your overall performance on the AP test, which consists of multiple-choice and free-response questions. The specific weighting of each section varies by subject, but typically, each section makes up 50% of your total score. The scores from both sections are combined to determine your overall AP score.

Now, regarding college applications, there are a few ways AP scores can impact your application. Primarily, admission officers will look at the AP courses you've taken and the grades you've received in those courses, rather than the exam scores. Those factors demonstrate your commitment to taking challenging classes and excelling academically over a long period of time better than your performance on a single exam. That being said, sending some high scores over with your application, especially at highly selective colleges, is never a bad idea!

Once you're admitted to a college, AP scores can be used for earning college credit and/or placement into higher-level courses, depending on the institution's policies. Typically, colleges grant credit for scores of 4 or 5, and sometimes for scores of 3. Keep in mind that college credit policies vary greatly among institutions, and some might have stricter requirements or limit the number of credits you can earn through AP exams, so keep an eye on these policies at the schools you're considering if you're interested in earning credit through your AP exams.

In summary, your AP scores do matter for college admissions, but they're unlikely to be the thing that swings your application one way or another. Overall, focus on doing well in your AP courses and aim for a competitive score on the exam to maximize your potential benefits, but if your score on the actual exam isn't quite what you want, don't stress too much, especially if you've done well in the actual course overall.

Good luck with your AP courses!

7 months ago

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.