Created by the College Board, the AP Exams are 2-3 hours long and are designed to test students’ mastery of content and skill sets. Most exams consist of both multiple-choice and free-response questions. Some AP Exams require students to complete performance tasks, either in place of or in addition to multiple-choice and free-response questions. These include AP Computer Science Principles, AP Research, AP Seminar, and AP Art & Design.
The AP Exams are designed to align with the AP Course framework, content, and conformity of questions that students learn throughout the year. The College Board consults with AP Course teachers across the country to design and grade each exam, and they revisit exam design on an annual basis.
The 2022 AP Exams will be administered in schools as paper-to-pencil exams over a two-week testing window in May. AP scores are released in July. See below for the full list of test dates for this year.
|AP Subject||Test Date|
|Art and Design||Friday, May 6 (by 8pm ET)|
|Art History||Friday, May 6 @ 12:00pm|
|Biology||Wednesday, May 11 @ 12:00pm|
|Calculus AB||Monday, May 9 @ 8:00am|
|Calculus BC||Monday, May 9 @ 8:00am|
|Chemistry||Monday, May 2 @ 12:00pm|
|Chinese Language and Culture (computer-based)||Wednesday, May 11 @ 8:00am|
|Comparative Government and Politics||Wednesday, May 4 @ 12:00pm|
|Computer Science A||Wednesday, May 4 @ 12:00pm|
|Computer Science Principles||Monday, May 9 @ 12:00pm|
|Computer Science Principles: Performance Tasks||Saturday, April 30, 2022 (11:59 pm ET)|
|English Language and Composition||Tuesday, May 10 @ 8:00am|
|English Literature and Composition||Wednesday, May 4 @ 8:00am|
|Environmental Science||Tuesday, May 3 @ 8:00am|
|European History||Friday, May 6 @ 8:00am|
|French Language and Culture||Thursday, May 12 @ 8:00am|
|German Language and Culture||Friday, May 13 @ 8:00am|
|Human Geography||Thursday, May 5 @ 8:00am|
|Italian Language and Culture||Monday, May 9 @ 12:00pm|
|Japanese Language and Culture (computer-based)||Monday, May 2 @ 8:00am|
|Latin||Friday, May 13 @ 12:00pm|
|Macroeconomics||Thursday, May 5 @ 8:00am|
|Microeconomics||Friday, May 6 @ 12:00pm|
|Music Theory||Friday, May 13 @ 8:00am|
|Physics 1: Algebra-Based||Thursday, May 12 @ 12:00pm|
|Physics 2: Algebra-Based||Friday, May 13 @ 12:00pm|
|Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism||Tuesday, May 10 @ 2:00pm|
|Physics C: Mechanics||Tuesday, May 10 @ 12:00pm|
|Psychology||Tuesday, May 3 @ 12:00pm|
|Research: Performance Tasks||Saturday, April 30, 2022 (11:59 pm ET)|
|Seminar||Thursday, May 5 @ 12:00pm|
|Seminar: Performance Tasks||Saturday, April 30, 2022 (11:59 pm ET)|
|Spanish Language and Culture||Wednesday, May 11 @ 8:00am|
|Spanish Literature and Culture||Monday, May 2 @ 12:00pm|
|Statistics||Thursday, May 5 @ 12:00pm|
|U.S. Government and Politics||Monday, May 2 @ 8:00am|
|U.S. History||Friday, May 6 @ 8:00am|
|World History: Modern||Thursday, May 12 @ 8:00am|
The AP Exams are 2-3 hours long and are designed to test students’ mastery of content and skill sets. Most exams consist of both multiple-choice and free-response questions. Some AP Exams require students to complete performance tasks, either in place of or in addition to multiple-choice and free-response questions. These include AP Computer Science Principles, AP Research, AP Seminar, and AP Art & Design.
Due to the pandemic, the College Board is offering multiple test formats for the 2021 AP Exams. In the past, all AP Exams have been administered in-person, as paper-to-pencil tests, with the exception of AP Chinese and AP Japanese language which are in-school, computer-based tests.
This year, AP Exams are offered in two formats: paper-to-pencil (in-person) and digitally (at-home or in-school). Schools are responsible for choosing when students take each AP Exam, and the date on which students take the exam will determine the exam’s format. If students are taking a digital exam, the school will decide if they are to take the exam in-school or at-home.
To view test dates and corresponding test formats, please click here.
The multiple-choice sections of the AP Exams are scored digitally. For the free-response questions and performance tasks, the College Board consults with experienced AP teachers and college professors to score each exam. A rubric is developed for each question. The score cutoffs of each rubric take into account a number of factors, including: previous years’ scoring percentiles, the difficulty level of the multiple-choice questions and other free-response questions, the overall quality of answers in the entire pool of test-takers, and how college students fare on the exam. AP scores are released in July.
AP Exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score possible. The College Board defines the scores as follows:
|AP Exam Score||Recommendation||College Course Grade Equivalent|
|5||Extremely well qualified||A+ or A|
|4||Very well qualified||A-, B+, or B|
|3||Qualified||B-, C+, or C|
AP Exam scores are released in July.
Colleges and universities often use high scores for course credit, and/or as a method of placement in order to exempt students from lower-level prerequisites. Additionally, AP scores play a significant role in the college admissions process.
The score curves vary from test to test. See the table below for more detailed scoring information.
AP Exam Score Curves – May 2019
|Subject||% of 5||% of 4||% of 3||% of 2||% of 1||Number of Students|
|Comparative Government & Politics||22.4||24.4||19.2||18.7||15.3||23,522|
|Computer Science A||26.7||21.9||21.0||11.9||18.4||69,685|
|Computer Science Principles||13.8||21.0||37.1||18.8||9.3||96,105|
|Physics C: E&M||37.6||22.6||12.7||16.6||10.4||25,342|
|Physics C: Mechanics||37.7||26.7||17.4||10.0||8.2||57,131|
|Studio Art: Drawing||20.8||33.3||37.0||7.8||1.1||21,769|
|Studio Art: 2-D Design||21.0||31.5||34.0||10.8||2.8||37,749|
|Studio Art: 3-D Design||10.0||22.4||37.5||25.7||4.3||6,040|
|U.S. Government & Politics||12.9||12.4||29.8||24.8||20.1||314,825|
AP Exam Score Curves – May 2020
|Subject||% of 5||% of 4||% of 3||% of 2||% of 1||Number of Students|
|Art and Design: Drawing||15.5||40.3||33.2||9.8||1.2||20,486|
|Art and Design: 2-D||12.1||36.1||41.3||9.8||0.6||36,901|
|Art and Design: 3-D||7.2||31.9||36.5||20.9||3.5||5,281|
|Comparative Government & Politics||24.4||27.4||18.4||17.3||12.5||22,051|
|Computer Science A||25.6||21.7||23.2||12.8||16.8||70,580|
|Computer Science Principles||10.9||23.6||37.1||19.8||8.6||116,751|
|Physics C: E&M||40.4||22.4||11.6||16.2||9.5||23,655|
|Physics C: Mechanics||41.6||26.4||16.3||9.2||6.5||51,718|
|U.S. Government & Politics||15.5||16.5||25.5||22||20.5||293,196|
The College Board’s deadline for AP Exam registration has been extended to March 12, 2021.
Students register for the AP Exams through their school. If students have any questions, they should contact their school’s AP coordinator.
If students are not taking the AP Exams through their school, they can still register! This might be the case if:
- A student would like to take an AP Exam that not offered at their school
- A student’s school does not offer AP Courses
- A student is home-schooled
- A student is taking an AP Exam without having taken the corresponding course
Here’s what these students need to do:
- Search the AP Course Ledger to find a school where students might be able to take specific AP Exams. After finding schools closeby that offer the test, call them directly, ask to speak with the AP coordinator, and find out whether the school is planning to allow outside students to test there this year.
- The AP coordinator will take care of ordering exam materials, communicating test-day information, and collecting exam fees.
Please note that schools often have their own deadlines and policies for receiving requests from outside students. It’s best to contact them as soon as possible!
For more information, please click here to visit the College Board website.
Students who have been approved for College Board accommodations for the PSAT and SAT will receive the same accommodations for AP Exams.
Students who receive accommodations in-school will most likely be approved for similar accommodations on the AP Exams. Students should contact their school directly to confirm that they have been approved for accommodations on the AP Exams. For more information, click here.