What Every Parent Should Know about AP Exams

AP Exams are almost here.  The culmination of a year of hard work comes down to this two to three hour test for our kids.  By now, your child really needs to know their stuff—whether it’s asymptotic and unbounded behavior in AP Calculus AB or polar functions and vector functions in AP Calculus BC.

But what do you need to know? Here are the answers to the top questions parents ask us.

ap exams

Who takes AP Exams?

Over 30% of high school graduates take at least one AP Exam. Any student who is taking an AP class should take the corresponding exam while the material is fresh. So that means if your sophomore is taking AP Biology, they should take the exam now and cross it off the to-do list.

What is the test like?

The exams take about two to three hours. The first part of the exam is typically multiple-choice, and the score is based on how many questions are answered correctly – so there are no points given or lost for unanswered questions or wrong answers.

The second part is typically free-response, which might be an essay or a solution to a problem. For example, on the AP Chemistry Exam, students will have to provide appropriate scientific evidence and reasoning to support their responses. These answers are scored by college professors and experienced AP teachers at the annual AP Reading which is held during the first two weeks in June.

When are they?

AP Exams take place the weeks of May 5 to 9 and 12 to 16. Your school’s AP coordinator will have all the info on registering. Curious which exams are when? Here’s the official calendar.

What does it cost?

All AP Exams cost $89 each.  Students living outside of the U.S. must pay $119. The College Board does offer $26 to $28 fee reductions for eligible students.  The fee reduction varies by state.

Why should my child take them?

The AP Exam is one more way that your child can show off their affinity for a certain subject, much like with the SAT Subject Tests. In addition, there is a huge benefit to doing well: the score will be used by colleges and universities to help them place your student in courses or even grant course credit. While policies vary, scores of a four or five on the AP exam are usually accepted at schools in lieu of credit.

How are they scored?

The exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, using a weighted combination of scores from the multiple-choice and free-response sections.

Scores will be sent to the schools your child designates on the answer sheet, and when scores are available online in July, you can send them to additional schools for a fee.

How can your child prepare?

Need help? Now’s the time! September seems a looooooooooong time ago, doesn’t it? That’s why complete course review is so vital.  With the exams coming up fast, now is the time to seek help for concepts that your child struggled with the first time or just for a general overview and refresh.

That’s why Tutor.com is such a great 24-7 resource. Our experts have been vetted through an extensive screening, certification and background-check process. And while AP Physics might make your head spin, it’s all in a day’s work to our tutors, who have earned degrees from esteemed colleges like Brown University, MIT and UC Berkeley.

So as your child starts prepping for the AP Exams, help them with that boost of confidence that comes from knowing the material inside and out.

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