Taking Advanced Placement® exams can be your ticket to earning college credit even before you step foot on campus. Many schools will give you college credit for a 3 or higher on a AP exam, but policies may differ. Here’s how to find out if your scores will earn AP credit.

ap credit

1. Find out which colleges accept AP credit.

A college’s AP credit policy will lay out the minimum score to earn credit for a given exam, the amount of credit awarded, and how credits are applied. At some colleges, AP scores transfer directly to credit hours. At others, your exam scores allow you to “place out” of certain course requirements, even if they do not give you actual college credits. For example, Brown University doesn’t accept AP scores for course credit but will allow students to place into upper-level classes with their scores!

You can use the College Board's  AP Credit Policy Search, but be sure to confirm the information with each of your prospective colleges since policies can change.

Learn More:  College Finder

2. What score do you need for each AP Subject?

Colleges are generally looking for a 4 (“well-qualified”) or 5 (“extremely qualified”) on the AP exam, but some may grant credit for a 3 (“qualified”). These scores mean you have proven yourself capable of doing the work in an introductory-level college course. Of course, colleges often have different score minimums for different subjects. The University of San Diego accepts a 3 in AP Bio but only a 5 in AP U.S. History, for example. 

AP Score MeaningEquivalent college course gradeWill this score receive AP credit?
5 Extremely qualified A Usually
4 Well qualified A-, B+, B Usually
3 Qualified B-,C+,C Maybe
2 Possibly qualified N/A Very Rarely
1 Not qualified N/A No

3. Prep well for your AP exams.

Earning a 4 or 5 on your AP exams means knowing what AP topics and question types to expect, honing your standardized test-taking strategies, and completing a thorough content review. Some students find that their high school classes are not enough review! Check out our AP cram courses for a quick refresher and consider add-on hours with an AP tutor so you can meet your score goals.

4. Send AP scores to colleges.

If you want to be considered for credit, you need to send your official AP score report to the colleges you plan to apply to or attend. When you take your exam, you can ask College Board to send your scores to one school for free. Go online to the College Board website to send score reports to additional schools for a fee.

Read More