Each of the 34 exams has its own unique requirements; however, almost all of the exams have several things in common:
1. Most exams are two to three hours long. Be prepared to tackle a challenging exam with limited breaks. Eat a good breakfast and, if you are taking more than one exam on the same day, make sure you have lunch and snacks to keep you going.
2. The first part of the exam usually consists of multiple-choice questions. You will choose one of four or five answer choices for each question and use a pencil to bubble in your choice on your AP answer sheet. Your total exam score on the multiple-choice section is based only on the number of questions answered correctly. You won’t receive or lose points for incorrect answers or unanswered questions.
3. The second part of the exam usually consists of free-response questions that require you to generate your own responses. Depending on the exam, your responses could be in the form of an essay, a solution to a problem, a spoken response and more. In most cases, you’ll be writing your response in pen in the free-response exam booklet.
Not all AP Exams are pencil and paper exams.
AP Chinese Language and Culture and AP Japanese Language and Culture Exams are CD-based and taken on computer. AP Studio Art students submit portfolios of their work for review.
Completing an AP course and exam is a huge accomplishment.
You should feel very proud about the work you've done and the skills you've learned. Your AP score is one way to share this accomplishment with others, like colleges and universities. The final exam score is reported on a scale of 1–5 and shows how well you've mastered the content of the course.
Your AP score shows how well you did on the AP Exam.
It's also a measure of your achievement in your college-level AP course. This score will be used by colleges and universities to determine if they will grant you credit for what you've already learned, or allow you to skip the equivalent course once you get to college (this is known as advanced placement).
Your score is a weighted combination of your scores on the multiple-choice section and on the free-response section. The final score is reported on a 5-point scale as follows:
5 = extremely well qualified
4 = well qualified
3 = qualified
2 = possibly qualified
1 = no recommendation
"Qualified" means that you have proven yourself capable of doing the work of an introductory-level course in a particular subject at college. Many colleges and universities grant credit and placement for scores of 3, 4 or 5; however, each college decides which scores it will accept.