In case you missed the email, Advanced Placement (AP®) scores for tests taken in May began rolling out on a region-by-region basis this past weekend on www.apscore.org. Starting with west coast scores posted on Saturday, the process should be complete by Wednesday, July 9, when all test-takers are promised access to their AP scores.*
With the launch of the online system, old fashioned snail mail reports have been discontinued in favor of an arrangement that requires you to have a College Board account to access your scores.
And with the staggered publishing of electronic reports, students searching for scores shouldn’t be getting bogged down in a system clogged with too many test-takers logging in at once.
So if you haven’t already accessed scores, now is the time to log-in and take a look.
BUT, to get your scores, you will need
- a browser set up to allow “cookies” (yes, the College Board likes to keep track)
- an online College Board account requiring registration (so as to link scores from other products such as the PSAT and SAT)
- your username and password, and
- your 2014 AP number or student identifier (if you wrote it on your answer sheet)
The system has a few wrinkles, but unless there was a problem with identification, scoring or test administration, your scores should be waiting for you and will be added to a cumulative report of all AP tests you have taken to-date (you actually have to pay extra to have any scores removed from the report).
If you’re unlucky enough not to have a score report, feel free to contact the College Board at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-225-5427 (toll free), especially if you haven’t received scores by September 1.
And what do the scores mean? AP exams are graded on a scale of 1 to 5:
- 5: Extremely well qualified to receive college credit or advanced placement
- 4: Well qualified to receive college credit or advanced placement
- 3: Qualified to receive college credit or advanced placement
- 2: Possibly qualified to receive college credit or advanced placement
- 1: No recommendation to receive college credit or advanced placement
You can also think of the five-point scale in terms of letter grades, with 5 equating to an “A” and 1—well, you get the picture.
And what are they worth? The awarding of credit and placement status is determined by individual colleges or universities. You can check directly with the school or on the College Board website to research this information.
In most cases, a student who scores a 4 or 5 will receive college credit. In rare cases, a school may require a 5, and almost no colleges will accept a score of 2. In fact, the most selective schools will not accept a 3 for credit.
Locally, George Mason University will accept a 4 or 5 for credit in specified courses, but will go as low as a 3 for languages, Music Theory, Human Geography, and Computer Science. Neither Georgetown nor GW will award credit for any score below a 4.
The University of Virginia generally awards credit for scores of 4 and 5, but allows a score of 3, 4, or 5 on the French exams to fulfill the foreign language requirement. Students receiving a 3, who wish to continue to study French, may skip FREN 2020. That must be one tough test!
AP exam scores may also be used to meet standardized test requirements in the admissions processes of several colleges. Fair Test keeps track of this evolving trend on its Test Score Optional List and includes Bryn Mawr, Colby, Colorado College, Hamilton, Middlebury, and NYU among those colleges and universities allowing AP’s to be submitted in place of ACT/SAT scores.
Teachers and AP administrators will be receiving scores later in the month, and many high schools include score distributions in the school profiles they send to colleges along with transcripts. This is so admissions offices can put individual scores reported on applications in context with those earned by others in your class.
And if you’re considering whether or not to take a specific AP course offered by your high school, these score distributions when correlated with grades can give you a pretty good evaluation of the quality of the class.
Absent the requirement to register with the College Board, the online reporting system seems like a more efficient, environmentally-friendly way to get scores. But be aware. The College Board can now connect your AP scores with PSAT and SAT scores as well as any information you provide on one of their net price calculators.
And if you haven’t graduated from high school yet, expect to receive recruitment materials from colleges should the College Board sell your name and contact information to admissions offices anxious to get to know you.
*NOTE: DC, Maryland, and Virginia AP scores should be available on Tuesday, July 8.