College Credit for AP Exams
In two weeks, score reports Will start rolling in for students who took the AP exams in May. Through we don’t yet number the number graces, we couldn’t be more proud of our students. The time and dedication our student spent prepping for these courses was immense. As they are receiving their scores, we want to offer clarification on the score reports, the range of questions and how these scores translate to college applications and credit.
First, the range of an AP Exam is between a 1 and a 5. The passing score is a 3. Any score 3 and above will translate to at least one semester (or quarter) of coursework waived. To make it clearer, you can break the scores down into letter grades. (5 – A, 4 – B, 3 – C, 2 – D, 1 – F). The AP Exam is offered by the College Board, so students have the same type of options of sending or canceling scores for prospective colleges that they would have for the SAT.
Second, the scores themselves will determine the types of classes that are waived at your prospective college. Not all colleges will waive courses for AP Exam scores, so it is important to get their AP Exam policies in writing before you send scores to colleges. It may also happen that the colleges will require a higher AP Exam score in certain subjects in order to receive credit (for example, you must receive a 5 in French to waive a course, but you can receive a 3 in English lit). Schools on a quarter system will typically waive one quarter of a lower-division course (lower-div courses are typically a year long) for each point (3,4,5) of an AP Exam. Schools on a semester system will waive one semester for a score of 3 and two semesters for a score of 4 or 5. Again, the policies from school to school are different.
There is another factor to consider with AP Exam scores and that is the learning that takes place in a college level lower division course versus receiving credit through an AP Exam score. If you waive a course through AP Exams, but plan on majoring in that field (for example, Biology) it may not be advantageous to waive the lower div. There is more that will be covered in the course than you will have learned in your high school classes. If you took Bio without a lab in high school, but get credit for Bio with a lab than you may be at a disadvantage when taking, for example, an anatomy course or Microbio class. Keep these issues in mind as you talk with your high school counselor and begin to narrow down your choice of major. The financial advantage of waiving a course may not be worth the academic disadvantage of skipping over a course with an essential lab component.
For more information on this type of coursework, you can go to the college board’s website or visit college confidential’s discussion board. First and foremost, do your research and be informed about what your first choices colleges require.