The Ultimate Guide To AP Exams

27/03/20237 minute read
The Ultimate Guide To AP Exams

If you're a high school student who wants to challenge themselves academically and gain an advantage over other college applications, taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses is a great way to achieve that. AP courses are designed to give students the opportunity to study at university-level and earn college credits.

Whether you're a student who is just starting your AP journey or someone who wants to know more about the exams, this ‘Ultimate Guide To AP Exams’ will provide you with everything you need to know. So, let's dive in and explore the world of AP exams!

What is the AP Exam?

The AP exams are standardized exams developed by the College Board, which allow high school students to earn college credit for the courses they have taken in high school. There are currently 38 different AP courses in subjects ranging from Psychology, Statistics, World History to English Literature, and each course has its own corresponding exam.

Students who take AP courses throughout high school have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the material through the AP exams. Scoring well on an AP exam can help students earn college credit, gain admission to top universities, and stand out in the college application process.

When are the AP Exams taken?

AP exams are typically administered in May each year, with a makeup testing period in June. To find out more information on the exact dates and times for each exam you can visit the Collegeboard website. It's important to note that AP exams are offered only once per year, so students wanting to take the exam must plan ahead and ensure they are able to take the exam on the scheduled date.

Blog Banner
Blog Banner

How to prepare for the AP exam?

Preparation for the AP exams should begin early in the school year, ideally at the beginning of the AP course. A combination of classroom instruction, independent study, and practice exams can help students feel confident and prepared for the exam.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for the AP exam:

  • Attend all classes and take thorough notes.
  • Participate in class discussions and ask your teacher for help when needed.
  • Review the course material regularly and create flashcards or study guides.
  • Take practice exams to get a feel for the format and types of questions that will be asked.
  • Seek out additional resources such as textbooks, online resources, or study groups to help you prepare.

At CGA, we understand the significance of thorough preparation and have the most exceptional educators worldwide to assist you in your journey. Our services range from academic guidance and career counseling to university admissions support, and we have helped numerous students worldwide achieve their goals in high school and university admissions.

What to Bring on AP Exam Day?

There is nothing worse than turning up to an exam and realizing you’ve forgot to bring a pencil. It is essential to organize yourself ahead of time and ensure you have all the correct material. On the day of the exam, students must bring a few items with them to be admitted to the testing room.

These items include:

  • A valid photo ID.
  • Several sharpened #2 pencils with erasers.
  • A pen with black or dark blue ink.
  • A calculator (if permitted for the exam).
  • A watch (in case you are not able to see the one in the exam room).

It is also important to check the list of unpermitted items such as, include food, smart watches, phones, and earplugs so you are not asked to leave the exam room. For a full list of items students should check the Collegeboard website for specific instructions on what is allowed and what is not allowed in the testing room.

Know the structure of the exam

The format of the AP exam varies depending on the subject, but each exam typically consists of multiple-choice questions and either one or two free-response questions. The multiple-choice section is scored based on the number of correct answers, while the free-response section is graded on a scale of 0-9.

AP exams are typically 2-3 hours long and are administered in a classroom setting with a proctor. It's important for students to arrive on time and be prepared to stay for the entire testing period. A great way to prepare is by taking practice AP Exam tests which you can find on the Collegeboard. This is a great way for students to get familiar with the structure of the exam and practice planning out their time.

Taking the AP Exam

On exam day, students should arrive at the testing location at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start time. After checking in and being seated, students will be given instructions by the proctor and will then begin the exam. It's important to remain focused and attentive throughout the exam, and to manage your time wisely in order to complete all sections.

After the exam, students will receive their scores in July through their Collegeboard account. Scores range from 1-5, with a score of 3 or higher considered a passing score.

Blog Banner
Blog Banner

AP Exam Scoring

AP exam scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score. Each college and university sets its own policy for accepting AP exam scores and granting credit, so it's important for students to research the policies of the institutions they plan to apply to.

A score of 3 or higher is generally considered a passing score, and many colleges and universities offer credit or advanced placement to students who earn a passing score. However, some institutions require a score of 4 or 5 to grant credit, and some do not offer credit or placement at all.

It's important to note that AP exams are not the only factor considered in college admissions. While strong AP scores can certainly help students stand out in the application process, colleges and universities also consider factors such as GPA, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation.

You can access your AP exam results by logging into your account on the Collegeboard website. Exam scores are typically released in July, but the exact release date can vary depending on the subject and location.


In conclusion, the AP exams are a valuable opportunity for high school students to earn college credit, demonstrate their understanding of course material, and stand out in the college application process. By following these tips and preparing early, students can feel confident and prepared to succeed on the exams. For more insight, our if you have any questions, speak with one of our advisors!