What score do most college require on AP exams to give college credit?


Adrian Dingle, Author of Crash Course AP Chemistry prep book

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In short, way too many answers to give any definitive, one size fits all response.

There are a multitude of variables that come into play here, and I would strongly suggest contacting individual schools, and moreover, individual departments. Policies very WIDELY, with an even wider range of reasons for those policies, including some colleges not wanting you to 'place out' since that has the potential to cost them money!

If I was pushed, obviously 1's and 2's don't count, 3 represents the minimum, and increasingly, if they give credit at all, many of the better schools are looking for 5's only. Having said that, as I have said above, it's a total crapshoot and there is no substitute for talking to individual departments within each school.

Robyn Scott, Educational Consultant, TutorNerds LLC

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Hi, The standard accepted score for most universities is a "3" on an AP exam. However, it's always a good idea to research ahead of time and find out what the specific schools you're looking at applying to accept. Some schools won't accept any AP scores. Other schools will waive a prerequisite class that could have been easily waived by taking an internal exam within the specific university (that might be much shorter). Some schools will give 'credit' for the test meaning they will give the student units but not for that particular course (so a student might end up taking college level English twice).

One thing to consider other than the actual course credits is the competition from peers. If the "average accepted student" has taken four AP courses, then it might be good to take them for admission purposes. Alternately, AP classes are arduous and and time consuming so it's a good idea to have your research done before committing to a year in a difficult course. Depending on your situation, you can also look into the CLEP exams as a way of getting college units waived.


I hope this helps!

Joelle Renstrom, BU professor and former AP teacher

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Great question! And the answer is: it depends on the university (and often, on individual departments or colleges within that university).

I teach in the Writing Program at Boston University, and we don't give credit for any AP Language or Lit tests--it's simply not possible to test out of Writing 100 or Writing 150 (but students can test out of English 100). I can see where that's frustrating, but as a writing prof who used to teach AP English, I can say that the courses don't have much in common and students would be at a disadvantage if they tested out of the required writing courses. But every school has different policies around this kind of thing.

For other subjects, the lowest credit-granting score is a 3 (it's rare but possible in some subjects to test out with a 3). 5's are a sure bet and 4's are pretty likely too. The College Board has this handy search tool to help you figure out whether the school you're interested in attending accepts AP scores for credit, and the minimum score you need to get credit. In some cases, a 4 on a test (let's say German Language and Culture, for example), will exempt students from Language 212, and a 5 on the same test would also exempt students from Language 303. Check out your school and courses here:


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