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Advanced Placement

All About AP Exams

Written by Apoorvaa Agarwal


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AP exams are conducted after the completion of the AP courses of your choice. You are supposed to give an exam at the end of the year.

In a few courses like AP Art and Design, students are required to submit their portfolio for scoring instead of giving an exam. The AP exams are conducted mainly to see how well you have understood the specific AP course you have chosen.

AP exam structure

Every exam has its own specifications but the general instructions are mostly the same:

  • Time duration 2–3 hours.
  • Every exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice questions and free-response questions.
  • Exams such as Computer Science Principles, AP Seminar, Art and Design, and AP Research have different exam formats as these exams need students to submit some task or portfolio.
  • The first section of the exam usually consists of multiple-choice questions.
  • There is no reduction of marks or points if you leave questions unanswered or if the attempted answer is incorrect. 
  • The total exam score on the multiple-choice section is marked on the answers that are correct. 
  • The second section of the exam comprises questions wherein you must make up your responses according to your free will. Your response could be in the form of an essay, a spoken response, or a solution to the problem, it solely depends on the type of exam. 

How can you register for AP exams?

The College Board, which also directs the SAT, administers AP exams. However, not all AP exams are available at every school. If your school has an AP Coordinator, you should speak with them about registration.

If your school does not have an AP Coordinator, you must contact AP Services by March 1 to obtain the contact details of your nearest AP Coordinator. The number for AP services can be found on the College Board website.

AP exam schedule 2023

The AP exams will be held in school in the form of paper-pencil examinations in the time period of two weeks in the month of May ie. May 1-5 and May 8-12

Note- AP exams for Chinese and Japanese languages are held in school on the computer.

Exam timings

AP exams are conducted in two-time frames. Some exams are conducted in the morning time at 8 am, local time and some exams are conducted in the afternoon time at 12pm, local time.

Exams like AP Art and Design, AP Seminar and AP Research, and AP Computer Science Principles have separate deadlines for submission of online tests.

Week 18 am Local Time12 pm Local Time
Monday, 1 May 2023United States Government and PoliticsChemistrySpanish Literature and Culture
Tuesday, 2 May 2023Chinese Language and CultureEnvironmental SciencePsychology
Wednesday, 3 May 2023English Literature and CompositionComparative Government and PoliticsComputer Science A
Thursday, 4 May 2023Human GeographyMacroeconomicsSeminarStatistics
Friday, 5 May 2023European HistoryUnited States HistoryArt HistoryMicroeconomics
Week 1
Week 28 a.m. Local Time12 p.m. Local Time2 p.m. Local Time
Monday, 8 May 2023– Calculus AB
– Calculus BC
– Computer Science Principles
– Italian Language and Culture
Tuesday, 9 May 2023– English Language and Composition
– Japanese Language and Culture
Physics C: MechanicsPhysics C: Electricity and Magnetism
Wednesday, 10 May 2023Spanish Language and CultureBiology
Thursday, 11 May 2023– French Language and Culture
– World History: Modern
Physics 1: Algebra-Based
Friday, 12 May 2023German Language and CultureMusic TheoryLatinPhysics 2: Algebra-Based
Week 2

Online submissions

  • AP Art and Design: The deadline for submission of your portfolio as final to the AP Program through the AP Digital Portfolio is May 5, 2023 (8 p.m. ET).
  • AP Seminar and AP Research: The closing date to submit performance tasks as final and for your displays to be scored by your AP Seminar or AP Research teacher is May 1, 2023 (11:59 p.m. ET).
  • AP Computer Science Principles: The deadline for sending in your “Create performance task” as final is May 1, 2023 (11:59 p.m. ET).

Source- college board

What are the AP exam late test dates?

Students who are unable to appear for the AP exam on the planned date are given an opportunity by the College Board. This is scheduled after the actual AP exams. For 2023, the AP exam late test dates are 17-19 May 2023 at 8 am or 12 pm (local time).

Things to keep in mind for AP exams

  1. Exam schedule/ timetable
    • Make sure you are aware of the AP timetable and schedule beforehand. Usually, the AP exam takes place every year in May.
  2. Location of the exam
    • You can find out from your school counselor if your school administers AP exams. There are many schools and exam centers where the AP exams are held.
  3. Scoring on the AP exam
    • The scoring of the AP exam is conducted by AP teachers and college professors.
  4. Benefits of taking the exam
    • There are a lot of U.S colleges that grant credits or advance placement, in some cases even both for qualifying AP scores.
  5. Past exam dates
    • In case you need to know when you took the exam you could look up the past exam dates. 
  6. Scoring procedure
    • AP test scores on a scale of 1-5. Most schools do not grant credits if you have scored less than 4.

How to prepare for AP exams?

The most basic and easy way to prepare for AP exams is to answer more often in class and pay attention to the teacher, set aside time to study, and try to complete all your assignments timely. The AP program releases free response practice questions so you can go through that as well for a better understanding.


  1. Start in your AP class
    • Ask your AP teacher to go through the exam format and explain everything so that you are clear about the kind of questions that will be asked. 
  2. Be aware of the practice questions and papers in the AP classroom 
    • AP Classroom is a collection of digital tools teachers can use all year to help students prepare for the AP Exam. Progress checks with multiple-choice and free-response questions that your teacher can unlock for you to receive personalized feedback on the skills and topics you’re learning in the course are among the tools available. To enhance your learning, you can access AP Daily videos that cover all course content and skills.
  3. Check out your course exam page
    • You can visit the course page and go to about the exam to find out details about the exam timetable, and structure as well as tips. You can find your course in the AP course index. 
  4. Check out the practice material from the “exam preparation” section
    • Here you will come across practice materials, past exam answers, guidelines for the exam, and sample students’ responses. 

AP exams scores

The AP exam is graded on a scale of 1 to 5. Many colleges in the United States give credit and/or advanced placement (which means you can skip the equivalent course once you get to college) for scores of 3 and above.

  1. The sum of your section scores determines your overall score
    • Your score on most AP exams is a weighted combination of your scores on the two sections, multiple-choice and free-response. Other scored components are included in some AP assessments.
  2. The AP Exam is graded on a 5-point scale
    • The final score for each AP exam is reported on a 5-point scale that recommends how qualified you are for college credit and placement—but each college makes its own decisions about which scores it will grant credit or placement for.
  3. The AP score is determined through research
    • The AP Program conducts research in all AP subjects to compare AP students’ performance to that of college students in comparable college courses. These studies contribute to the establishment of “cut points” that determine how AP students’ composite scores are transformed into AP scores ranging from 1 to 5.

What is the use of AP exam scores?

  1. Get college credit
    • If you do well on an AP exam, some colleges will give you college credit. Because these AP credits add up toward your graduation requirements, you can take fewer college courses.
  2. Make a good impression in front of admissions officers
    • Even if your AP scores do not result in college credit or exemption from certain courses, most universities will recognize your choice to challenge yourself by taking an AP course.
  3. Comply with college requirements
    • Some colleges will let you “place out” of certain prerequisites if you perform well on an AP exam, even if you do not receive actual college credits.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is it necessary to give an AP exam?

It is not essential that you appear for AP exams, they are not required for admission but they can increase your chances of gaining admission to your desired college for sure. 

What happens if you fail an AP exam?

If you fail an AP exam you will not be eligible for credit for the chosen course. A failed exam in no way affects your GPA, you can retake the exam next year if you want. 

What is the passing AP score?

You can score on a scale of 1 to 5. Usually, 3 is a good score. Institutions offer credits for a score of 3 or above.

Who gets my grades?

When your AP scores are released, you, the college, university, or scholarship program you designated in your “My AP” account, and teachers in your school and district, along with your AP teachers, will receive your AP scores.

What is the average AP exam score?

The 2022 AP Exams had a mean score of 2.92. More than 60% of all exams taken received a 3 or higher.

Reviewed by

Priyanshi Agrawal

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