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Advanced Placement (AP) Testing

AP (Advanced Placement) Tests are college level exams on specific subjects administered in May upon the completion of an AP course taken at a student’s high school. At many colleges and universities, a high enough score will earn the student college credit. In some instances can mean an overall lower college tuition bill. There are currently over 30 AP test options, though few high schools offer classes in every subject. AP tests are only offered in May, so if you’re going to take them, you need to plan ahead.

What specifically do the APs test?

A lot. Similar to the SAT Subject Tests, there are multiple different AP tests that cover a range of subjects. There are over 30 AP test options, ranging from Biology to European History to Music History. Want to know the full list? See it here.

What can I expect on APs in STEM?

AP Exams are offered in Calculus, Computer Science, Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. It’s a good idea to look at practice questions for each exam to see what kind of skills and knowledge they test. Each exam will have different types of questions and give you different amounts of time. Here is a tool to help you learn about the AP Exam in each subject.

How are the APs scored?

AP Exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5. While every college is different, most schools won’t accept AP scores for credit unless you score at least a 4.

How do I know if my score is good enough to earn college credit?

First know that every school is different. Some won’t accept credit unless you score a 5. Some won’t accept them at all. Be sure to check with your top schools to understand how they handle AP scores.

How do I register?

The APs are administered but the College Board, which also administers the SAT. However, not all AP tests are offered at every school. If you have an AP Coordinator at your school, talk to them directly about registration. If your school doesn’t have an AP Coordinator, you need to call AP Services no later than March 1 to get the contact information of your closest AP Coordinator. You can find the number for AP services on the College Board website.

The information above was taken from The Princeton Review. Visit their website.

What about IB (International Baccalaureate)?

International Baccalaureate or IB is an advanced placement international education program similar to AP. However IB differs from AP in that it is a K-12 program and has more classes to make up a student’s entire school curriculum. AP and IB students gain many of the same skills such as writing and reasoning in the sciences, arts, and ethics. Many colleges and universities will give course credit for passing AP or IB exam scores. For more information about the IB program, visit

Additional Links

College Board

This is your official site for all AP related information. You can register for tests, download practice tests and discover how an AP may help you.

Spark Notes

This site offers diagnostic tests of your current knowledge, practice tests for the real tests and other tools to made studying easier.

TEL (Tennessee Electronic Library)

The Tennessee Electronic Library has resources in its Learning Express Library platform for College Preparation. You can take practice exams for seven of the most popular AP tests.