Advanced Placement

3 Reasons to Take AP Exams

Every year, millions of students around the world enroll in AP courses in 38 different subjects, embarking on an AP journey that can help open doors as they prepare for college. 

Although there are many benefits to taking AP Exams, here are three reasons to keep in mind whether you’re deciding to take an AP course for the first time, registering for your AP Exam, or taking your last course in senior year.  

All AP Exam Scores Have Benefits 

Completing an AP course and exam advances you both personally and academically. Taking an AP Exam helps you develop valuable skills for all your classes through high school and beyond. This makes your transition from being a high school student to a college student easier. 

Whatever your score, taking an AP Exam can keep you on track for college. 

  • The majority of students who score a 1 or 2 on their first AP Exam are likely to improve their score on a future exam. 

  • Students who achieve an exam score of 2 do significantly better in introductory college classes. 

  • Students who achieve exam scores of 1 or 2 are still more likely to attend college and graduate on time (than academically similar students who don’t take AP). 

Your AP class is similar to the courses you’ll experience at college. And like a college course, it’s important to finish strongly by taking your AP Exam and seeing the class through to the end. Regardless of your exam score, the hard work you put in all year will benefit you in college and beyond.

John Barnhill, associate vice president for enrollment management, Florida State University

Stand Out to Colleges and Universities  

Most colleges and universities use AP as a factor in evaluating candidates for admission. This gives you an advantage when you’re applying to colleges and trying to stand out from the crowd. By taking an AP Exam, you’re showing colleges you’re persistent, resilient, and willing to work hard.  

85% of colleges and universities report a student’s AP experience favorably impacts admissions decisions.  

You’ve worked hard to master the material in your AP courses — and one way for you to demonstrate what you’ve learned is to take your AP Exams in May. Taking your exams can also show admissions officers like me that you’re ready for college-level work

Ronné P. Turner, vice provost for admissions and financial aid, Washington University in St. Louis

Save Time and Money

Three out of four AP students enrolled in a four-year college start school with some AP credit. Often if you’ve received a 3 or higher on an AP Exam, you can earn college credit, advanced placement, or both. Check out the credit policies at schools you’re interested in to learn more about the types of credit they grant for your courses. 

In fact, two out of three AP students earn some college credit in high school.  

Earning college credit with AP can give you the flexibility to change majors, pursue a second degree, study abroad, or transfer colleges. Earning advanced placement can let you skip introductory courses in college, freeing up more time in your schedule for courses you’re interested in or giving you a chance to graduate early. 

“AP can be challenging, but it is the most rewarding thing I did in high school—I came into college with enough credits to pursue a bachelor's degree AND master's degree in four years total!”

Anna K., University of Alabama

“The AP credits I received allowed me to skip straight to higher-level, more demanding courses in my major.”

Tyler V., University of Washington