AP Exam Scores: Do They Really Matter?


As mentioned in my previous post, AP exams are just around the corner, but some of you may be wondering how much AP exam scores actually matter. Is getting a 5 on an AP test worth the time and effort it takes to master the subject and ace the exam?

Yes. Yes it is.

What makes studying for your AP tests worth it in the long run? Consider these factors …

Most colleges allow students to self-report their AP exam scores, so that works in your favor. If you bomb the exams, then you can omit that information from your college application, and of course, if you do well (get either a 4 or a 5), then it’s worth mentioning.

How does a high AP score benefit you in college admissions? For one, if you scored well on your AP exam but had an average grade in your class, then the AP score helps contextualize the difficulty of your course and reflects better on your overall academic performance.

Also, if you have a high AP score, you will increase the overall competitiveness of your college application. It won’t necessarily be enough to make or break your admission status, but the more information admissions officers have, the better they can gauge how strong a student you are.

Not only do high AP exam scores help round out your college application, they can also translate into college credit.

The real question is, should you replace college-level courses at a prestigious university with coursework you did in a high-school setting?

In many cases, the AP exams allow you to opt out of first- and second-year courses -- i.e., the prerequisite courses you have to complete before doing advanced studies for your major.

It shouldn’t be a huge loss to take the class credit and move on to the next stage, especially if you spent countless hours mastering the materials to get a 4 or a 5. But maybe you really want to learn about, say, the basics of DNA replication one more time. In that case, you do you.

Even if you are not fully convinced that doing well on AP exams is in your best interest, there is another thing to consider: AP exams and SAT Subject tests have overlapping content areas and similar formats. And while AP exams aren’t necessarily a requirement for college admissions, many top-tier schools will require that you take at least one SAT Subject test. Why not knock out two tests with one focused month of studying?

The bottom line …

AP exams aren’t going to define your college applications, but they can serve as useful tools to contextualize your academic performance and even give you a boost over the competition. Everything counts when it comes to submitting your best self to admissions officers, so give it the old college try and knock out your AP exams.

Planning to take AP exams? Want extra help to increase your chances at scoring a 5? Look no further than our AP exam tutoring services! Our expert AP exam tutors can determine your weaknesses and get you on the right path to acing your tests. Schedule now while tutors are available!

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