High school seniors getting ready to enroll in college should understand how AP college credit transfers to a university. It’s up to a college to decide how to apply AP credit, and the standards are getting stricter as academic departments have a chance to observe students transferring AP credits to their programs. Colleges that award credit for AP coursework typically award a grade of CR to students who score a three or four on an exam, and some colleges award an A to students who score a five on an exam.
According to the College Board, which administers the exams, a score of three is considered “qualified,” four is considered “well qualified” and five is considered “extremely well qualified.” A score of two is considered “possibly qualified,” while a score of one receives “no recommendation.” There are 37 possible AP courses and exams, and in order to enroll in one of them, a student must attend a high school that has been approved to offer the course, according to the College Board. Subjects cover the arts, sciences, foreign languages and humanities.
Entering College With AP Credit
The AP exams are graded through a long and complicated process, and the grades on these tests are meant to represent an unbiased standard that remains constant from year to year. The courses are accelerated and resemble the pace of a college course, and the exam at the end of the course is comprehensive, similar to the final exam at the end of a college semester. Depending on the exam taken, about half is made up of multiple choice questions, and the rest is comprised of essay questions that must be graded by instructors. The scores from the two sections of the test are combined using a weighted formula, and each exam’s chief reader decides how to apply the score cutoff and whether to assign a curve.
Most colleges give credit only to students who earned at least a four on an exam, but some credit students who earned a three. Some colleges may award students an A in a college course for earning a five on the AP exam, and other colleges may only give this student a CR. The policy varies from college to college, and there is no standard method for awarding grades to AP students. However, earning AP credit looks good on a college transcript whether the college decides to award a CR or an A. Credit for AP coursework can lead to scholarships and study-abroad opportunities, and graduate schools take these accomplishments into consideration when reviewing applications.
How To Prepare For an AP Exam
The whole purpose of an AP course is to prepare students for college coursework, so the best way to get ready for an AP exam is to treat the semester like a college semester. First-year college courses demand more of students than senior-year high school courses, and there really isn’t any secret to scoring well on an AP exam. Colleges expect students to be as sharp as they can be, and by studying exhaustively and being prepared for your classes, you can score a four or five on the final exam.
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The demands being placed on AP students are getting stricter, but the rewards for performing well have never been better. If you’re a high school senior enrolling in AP courses, learn how AP college credit transfers to your college before taking the exam.