You‘ve been waiting for weeks to get your AP scores back, but when you do eventually get those scores, do you know what to do with them? In this article, we’ll answer some of the most common questions we get about AP scores.
Before we get into the details, just remember this:
What score do I need for college credit?
Advanced Placement Exams allow you to earn college credit for specific subjects while you’re still in high school. That means when you get to college, you’ll have even more time to focus on learning subjects that interest you.
If you’re a student, you’re probably wondering:
What score do I need on my AP Exam to earn college credit?
For most colleges and universities, you’ll need a three or higher to qualify for credit. However, the answer is a little more complicated than that. Let’s take a look at how you can find the score you need and what that means for you.
The AP Exam’s scoring system is on a scale of one to five—with five being the best and one being the worst.
Here’s a table that breaks down the score you could get and what it means.
|AP Score||What it means|
|5||Best. The highest score you can get on your AP Exam. This score typically guarantees college credit or placement out of a required course at colleges that accept AP Exams.|
|4||Excellent. While not the highest, this is still an incredibly good score. You’ll usually get college credit with it.|
|3||Very good. This is often called a “passing” score and is the usual threshold for colleges to give you credit, though not at the most competitive colleges.|
|2||Okay. Even though this is not a “passing” score, it can still reflect some significant improvement over the course of a year.|
|1||Not the best. We all have to start from somewhere!|
Most colleges will give you college credit if you score a 3 or higher.
It varies from college to college though. So, if you want to know the score that a specific college will accept in exchange for credit, you’ll need to check with the college’s registrar’s office to find out information about AP credit for whatever AP Exam you took in May. Often, you can find this information on the school’s website. You can also check out the College Board’s search tool for AP credit policies.
NOTE: Colleges sometimes change their requirements for awarding college credit or offering placement out of required courses. So always check in with the college to make sure you have the most relevant and recent information.
What does this mean to you?
Bottom line: You’re going to want to score as high as you possibly can. Sure your dream school only requires a 3—but you should always be aiming for the highest possible score regardless.
When you get that credit, you will effectively be walking into college with part of the requirements already completed. It means you could skip a subject requirement and take whatever class you wanted to. Or, you could even save money on college tuition by spending less time getting credits. Either way, getting that college credit before college is a great way to set yourself up for the next four years. Read more about how AP Exams helped Marco Learning’s teachers earn college credits.
If you’re a senior, and would like to send your AP score report to the college you’ll be attending in the fall, make sure to check that college’s deadline for getting AP scores.
Also, bear in mind that when you order an AP score report, it will include your scores from all previous AP Exams you have taken, as well as the exams you took this year.
What if I get a low score?
Sometimes low AP scores happen. That’s ok though because the best thing about a low AP score is that it really doesn’t have any negative consequences for you.
You are not defined by your AP score, just as you are not defined by your grades or performance. You are more than any number.
If you want, you can make sure the AP scores you DON’T like are your own little secret. Read on for how to do that and for anything else you want to know about withholding your scores.
Where do I go to withhold my scores?
Just type “AP Score Withholding Form” into your browser. It will either take you directly to the form or a page on The College Board’s website that will take you to the form.
You could also just click on this link: AP Scores Withholding Form
N.B. Double-check that the form you are filling out is definitely the form for the correct school year!
Can’t I just not send any scores at all?
Yes. You can avoid sending your AP score report on your college applications. That will prevent anyone from seeing either high or low AP scores.
Do I need to fill out a score withholding form if I haven’t requested to get my AP scores sent to any colleges?
No. You do not need to use this form until you decide to send your scores to colleges.
How much will it cost to withhold my AP scores?
Well, each score that you withhold will cost you $10. But don’t forget that after your first free score report is sent, it will cost you $15 per report, PLUS the delivery fee ($15 for standard, $25 for rush).
Can I pick and choose which scores to withhold?
Yes. The score withholding form will let you choose exactly which subjects to hide scores from. So let’s say you got a 5 in APUSH and a 1 in AP Lit, you can choose to hide your AP Lit score. None of your colleges will ever know about your 1, and your 5 could help your college application and help you get credit. To see what kind of college credit you can earn for your score, check out The College Board’s Credit Policy Search
What does the June 20th deadline mean?
That’s a good question, because that’s a pretty confusing part of the form. The June 20th deadline only applies to anyone who already requested to send their scores to colleges in 2021. So if you fall into that category, you can’t withhold your scores. On the plus side though, if you already sent scores to your colleges, it probably means you’ve already heard back from the colleges that accepted you and it will make no difference if you got a 1 or not!