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)

Grading curve on AP exams?

Can someone clarify how AP exams are graded? I’ve heard terms thrown around like 'graded on a curve'—what does that actually mean for us? Do they adjust the scores based on how everyone does, so it's harder to get a 5 if lots of people do well? Just trying to set realistic goals for my upcoming exams.

8 months ago

Hello there! I understand that the grading process for AP exams can seem a bit mysterious. The idea of the exams being 'graded on a curve' is not quite accurate in the traditional sense. What actually happens is that the College Board, which administers AP exams, sets a standard that determines what constitutes a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 on any given AP exam. These standards are based on the level of proficiency that College Board expects students to achieve in the college-level material covered by the exam.

They maintain these standards by designing the distribution of scores to be consistent from year to year. For example, they aim for a similar percentage of students to earn each score from one year to the next, but this isn't 'curving' in the sense that your performance is directly pinned against everyone else's. It's more about maintaining the consistency of what each score represents in terms of mastery over the material. So, setting realistic goals involves aiming to understand and engage deeply with the course content to perform your best, irrespective of how others perform.

8 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.