AP stands for Advanced Placement. The Advanced Placement (AP) program is a college-level curriculum in the United States and Canada sponsored by the College Board which offers standardized courses to high school students that are generally recognized to be equivalent to undergraduate courses in colleges or universities. Participating colleges and universities grant credit to the students who obtained high enough scores on the AP exams to qualify.
AP classes ate usually much more challenging than the general course offerings in High schools. In addition, Advanced Placement classes are graded differently than other classes offered.
AP exams are scored on a 1 to 5 scale as follows:
- 5 – Extremely well qualified
- 4 – Well qualified
- 3 – Qualified
- 2 – Possibly qualified
- 1 – No recommendation
Grading the AP exam is a long and complicated process. The multiple choice component of the AP exam is scored by computer, while the free response and essay portions are scored by trained Readers at the AP Reading each June. The AP scores on various components are weighted and combined into a raw Composite Score. The Chief Reader for each AP exam then decides on the grade cutoffs for that year’s AP exam, which determine how the Composite Scores are converted into the final AP grades. During the process, a number of reviews and statistical analyses are performed to ensure that the AP grading is reliable. The overall goal is for the AP grades to reflect an absolute scale of performance which can be compared from year to year.
Beginning with the May 2011, AP Exam administration, there was a change to the way AP Exams are scored. Total scores on the multiple-choice section are now based on the number of questions answered correctly. Points are no longer deducted for incorrect answers and, as was the case before, no points are awarded for unanswered questions.
Some colleges use AP test scores to exempt students from introductory coursework. Each college’s policy is different, but most require a minimum score of 3 or 4 to receive college credit. Typically this appears as a “CR” grade on the college transcript, although some colleges and universities will award an A grade for a 5 score. Some foreign countries, such as Germany, that do not offer general admission to their universities and colleges for holders of an American high school diploma without lengthy preparatory courses will directly admit students that have completed a specific set of AP tests, depending on the subject they wish to study there.
Why AP Exams?
A student can learn more in high school and have an opportunity to have a head start and standing out, which help his or her college admission process, in the same time the student can explore a variety of knowledge and find out his or her interest, which may lead to the student’s future path. In addition, the student can save college tuition and other costs by getting 3 ~5 score at each AP exam and receiving College Credits.
Recently, more and more high school students are taking AP classes and AP exams to be more competitive in their college applications. In addition, to save college expense is an attractive advantage. So start early, prepare for AP Tests!