Using AP Exams To Get A Leg Up On Your College Requirements

As the new school year begins, many new and first-year students are enrolling in “entry level” classes to help them meet their basic college requirements. These classes are often large and are meant to give freshman an easier transition into college life.

Universities often require these courses as “prerequisites” for graduation. However, many students are able to bypass these classes by taking Advanced Placement (AP) Exams prior to their arrival on campus.

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Advanced Placement: An Overview

Advanced Placement (or AP, for short) was created by The College Board to help high-achieving students test out of more basic classes prior to arriving on campus. This helps students meet their requirements effectively, graduate sooner, and even save some money on tuition fees.

Often times American high schools will offer AP classes. These courses are designed to prepare their students to take the AP test at the end of the school year.

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However, even if you’re not able to take these courses, you can still take AP exams. There are great study and course guides for you to use independently in order to prepare. Plus, the College Board has established rules for international test taking for those attending colleges from abroad.

Chinese, Japanese, and Calculus BC are among the most popular AP courses to take, according to an investigation by Total Registration. However Physics C E&M, Physics C Mech, Spanish, and Calculus AB are also popular choices, given that they can better prepare students for a more specific path to obtain the major of their choice.

How the Test Works

You can register for AP exams through your school if they have AP courses. They’ll order the exams and handle all of the associated fees. They’ll also inform you about your exam date, time, and location.

If you’re an international student, there are a lot of AP schools and intermediaries that can help you to enroll in AP classes and take the test from your home country. These schools can also help students print out their admission card for the AP exam once they confirm the examination venue.

AP scores are evaluated on a 5-point scale:

5 – Extremely well qualified
4 – Well qualified
3 – Qualified
2 – Possibly qualified
1 – No recommendation

Most universities and colleges will grant credit for any score that’s at a “3” or above. However, some universities and colleges have higher standards that only recognize scores over 4. Be sure to ask the university or college you’d like to attend about their requirements before you prepare for the AP exam.

How to Turn Test Scores Into College Credit

Students are free to check their score by using the College Board website. Once you find your score, you can send your AP score report directly to the college you decide to attend. Colleges and universities will inform you about credit placement after they receive your AP score report.


AP exams are a great tool for students looking to get a leg up and enter college more prepared. AP courses and tests will help you understand what will be expected of you once you arrive on campus, even if you don’t end up getting the exam score you were hoping for.

Head over to for more information about how to get started with AP tests today!

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Lang Song

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