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Advanced Placement

What Is a Good AP Score for You?

Written by Apoorvaa Agarwal

Updated on: 11 Jul 2024


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  • An AP score of 3 or higher is considered good.
  • What constitutes a good AP score depends on the test you take and which colleges you apply to.
  • Good AP scores can earn you college credit and reduce the amount of time it takes to complete your degree.

What defines a good AP score varies depending on the exam and the colleges to which you apply. An AP score of 3 or higher is considered a good AP score and can earn you college credit and shorten the time it takes to complete your degree. 

With this blog, you will understand what is a good AP score along with how AP exams are scored and what is the minimum AP score required for college credit.

What is a good AP score?

A 3 or higher is usually considered a good AP score. However, you can get a better idea of your AP score by making comparisons to the average score for that test that year.

In 2021, for example, the average AP Biology score was 2.83. Anything above that is considered above average for that test. Because the difficulty of AP exams varies, the average score varies as well. A 3 is above average for AP Computer Science Principles, but it is below average for AP Calculus BC.

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How AP exams are scored?

High school students take AP exams and classes to get a jumpstart on college-bound and to earn college credit for general education classes. They may receive college credit for a subject if they pass an AP exam (in addition to high school credit). 

A score of 3 or higher is considered a passing score by the College Board. However, some colleges require a 4 or 5 to grant credit. The colleges you’re applying to will determine whether a 3 is a good AP score.

As shown in the table below, the AP exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest possible score.

AP Exam ScoreRecommendationCollege Grade Equivalent
5Extremely well qualifiedA, A+
4Very well qualifiedB, B+, A-
3QualifiedC, C+, B-
2Possibly qualifiedN/A
1No recommendationN/A
AP exam score

A 4 or a 5 is the most likely AP score that will earn you college AP credit. Of course, regardless of how well you perform on the AP exam, you will receive a grade for that AP class from your high school. Good AP course grades always look better on your transcript!

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What is the minimum AP score required for college credit?

The bad news is that, while the College Board defines a 2 as “possibly qualified” for college credit, almost no college will accept a 2. Most selective colleges will not accept a 3 for college credit.

A student who receives a 4 or 5 will almost always receive college credit. Some selective schools may require a 5 in rare cases. This is especially true in schools that require true mastery of a subject, such as calculus in a strong engineering program. The specific guidelines differ from college to college, and they frequently differ from department to department within a college.


In conclusion, a good AP score is a subjective term that depends on factors like the difficulty of the test, the college you are applying to, and your individual goals. However, in general, a score of 3 or higher is considered a good AP score.

If you are aiming for a high AP score, there are many things you can do to prepare. First, make sure you take a challenging AP course that is well-aligned with the AP exam. Second, study for the AP exam using a variety of resources, such as textbooks, practice exams, and online tutorials. Finally, take the AP exam early in the testing window so you have time to retake it if necessary.

A good AP score can have benefits like earning college credit, reducing the cost of college, and increasing your chances of getting into a selective college.

If you are considering taking AP courses, be sure to research the benefits of AP credit and how your target colleges will use your AP scores.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Can you question an AP score?

If you believe the scoring on your paper and pencil AP exam is incorrect, you can have it rescored through the College Board’s Multiple-Choice Rescore Service. It costs $30 to have your exam rescored, and all rescore requests must be submitted by the end of the school year. It is important to note that rescoring is your only option for potentially changing your AP scores that year. Once your rescore is completed, the new score is final; you cannot appeal or have the test rescored again. However, you may retake the test the following year in order to improve your score.

What is a good AP test score?

In most cases, a 3 or higher score is considered a good AP test score. But the best way to determine how good is your score is by comparing to the previous year’s average score for that test.

Is a 2 an acceptable AP score?

A 2 is not a good AP score in general because it is not considered a passing score by the College Board. If you receive a 2 on your AP exam, you should consider not submitting that score to the colleges to which you are applying. On your application, you should only include the most impressive aspects of yourself.

Is a 4 a good AP score?

A 4 is a good AP score for the majority of students. If you’re applying to a prestigious, extremely selective school like Duke, you may need a 5 in order to earn credit for certain subjects.

What is the AP exam passing score?

A 3 can be considered a passing score for the AP exam. Colleges that offer credit and placement for AP courses typically begin with a score of 3 or higher.

What is the highest AP score?

A score of 5 is the highest AP scores one can get.
We hope this article helped you in understanding what is a good AP score and it helped you in fixing your goal. If you want to know more about AP scores, read our latest article, “How to send AP scores?“.

Written by by

Apoorvaa Agarwal

Reviewed by by

Priyanshi Agrawal

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