The AP Exam and its Benefits


Akshaya Jambunath

AP Exam season is coming up and students are working hard to prepare. This should be a good time to talk about the specifics of the exam, as well as the benefits it offers students.

According to College, “The 2023 AP Exams will be administered in schools over two weeks in May: May 1–5 and May 8–12.”

AP Exams are only given once a year, but it is possible for a student to repeat an exam in the subsequent year if they are not happy with their first score. If they do, both scores will be reported unless the student specifically requests that one be withheld from their transcript. 

AP Exams are scored on a 5 point scale. The average score for last year’s exams, according to the College Board, was 2.92. Additionally, more than 60% of all exams taken earned a score of 3 or higher. 

While students should aim for the highest possible score, it is important to note that colleges make different decisions about what scores they are willing to give credit. For example, Harvard University requires a score of 5 on the AP Chemistry exam, but George Mason University only requires a 3. When applying to schools, students should look into their dream colleges and those requirements to get a better idea of what they should be working towards. 

Additionally, while it is encouraged for students to take an AP Exam subsequently after taking an AP Course, it is important to note that it is not necessarily required. But taking it, and getting a good score, can have lots of advantages.

According to, “While [AP Exam scores] may not be as important as other required portions of the application, they may sometimes serve to set you apart when admissions committees need to choose between two or more applicants”

Alysa Yao, a sophomore student, is preparing to take the AP Calculus BC and AP World exams this May. “The AP Exams are a great way to demonstrate to colleges that you are able to master college-level material. It also lets you earn college credit, possibly letting you skip certain courses in college,” she said. 

Prisha Shah shares Yao’s positive outlook on the exam. “I understand that a lot of work must be put into getting a good score on the exam, something that might be very difficult to handle with other academic responsibilities and extracurriculars. But I feel that it would be a waste to take the AP class and then not get the credit for it by not taking the exam.”

There is no reason to not take the exam. Students technically don’t have anything to lose. A failed exam cannot affect GPA in any way, and students always have the option of retaking it the next year. Students also have the option of not revealing their scores to colleges when they apply if they are not happy with their score.

Serving as a great way to bolster college applications, performing well on AP Exams allows students to earn college credit while paving the way for admission into top colleges.