Are AP Tests Worth It?


Last Updated: Nov 8, 2011

Should you take AP tests in high school? Are the AP Tests worth my time and money? Are those AP tests worth it?

Well, most of the top colleges in the nation consider AP credits. But before you get too excited about passing out of your freshman year in college, remember this: sometimes colleges grant "general elective" credit for AP scores. This "general elective" credit is useful if you want to graduate early because it means you have to take fewer electives at the college. However, if you are looking to test out of a course in an area that you are majoring in, some colleges will only give you placement into an upper level course within your concentration. As for IB scores, most colleges consider a 6 or a 7 to be equal to a 4 or a 5 on the AP exam, but few colleges actually list the credit given for IB classes. You are highly encouraged to call or email the admission office to see exactly what kind of credit is offered for each of the AP examinations.

Some colleges offer their own tests to see whether or not students have the knowledge necessary to test out of their courses. These placement examinations are also often used to see whether or not students are qualified to test into advanced-level courses. So even if you don’t do as well as you’d hoped on the AP test, at some colleges, you can redeem yourself by testing well on their placement exams. Some colleges only accept or give credit or placement based on your performance on these exams. We highly recommend calling the admission office at the college you are considering to get the exact details of the college-administered exams.

You are encouraged to look at the links to the college websites for more details, especially if you are considering applying to (or have already applied to) the college. There may be other stipulations for credit to be awarded.

NOTE: For colleges which do not advertise their AP policies, or who give AP credit selectively based on request, specifically CalTech, Harvard, and UPenn, we recommend calling the admission office and the office of the division that you are considering for information.

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