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Taking AP classes can help students:

Build skills and confidence.

  • AP students learn essential time management and study skills needed for college and career success.
  • They dig deeper into subjects that interest them and learn to tap their creativity and their problem-solving skills to address course challenges.

Get into college.

  • Students who take AP courses send a signal to colleges that they’re serious about their education and that they’re willing to challenge themselves with rigorous coursework.[1]
  • 85% of selective colleges and universities report that a student’s AP experience favorably impacts admission decisions.[2]

Succeed in college.

  • Research shows that students who receive a score of 3 or higher on AP Exams typically experience greater academic success in college and have higher graduation rates than their non-AP peers.[3]

Save time and money in college.

  • Research shows that students who take AP courses and exams are much more likely than their peers to complete a college degree on time[4]—which means they avoid paying for, for example, a fifth year of tuition.
  • Most colleges and universities nationwide offer college credit, advanced placement, or both for qualifying AP Exam scores. This can mean:
    • Fulfilling graduation requirements early
    • Being able to skip introductory courses or required general-education courses

Benefits

Taking AP courses and exams can help students:

  • Stand out on college applications. AP courses on a student’s transcript shows that they’ve challenged themselves with the most rigorous courses available to them. And success on an AP Exam shows that they’re ready for college-level coursework.
  • Earn college credit and/or skip introductory courses in college. Most four-year colleges and universities in the United States—as well as many institutions in more than 100 other countries—grant students credit, placement, or both for qualifying AP Exam scores. Search credit policies by college.

Learn more about how AP benefits students.

How It Works

Teachers Design Their Own AP Courses

The AP Program does not supply syllabi for AP courses. What we supply is a detailed set of expectations about what content a college-level course in that subject should cover. AP teachers design their own syllabi with these standards in mind. (They can also choose to use existing, approved syllabi.) We review each course design through a process called the AP Course Audit before authorizing your school to call the course “AP.”

The fact that teachers design their own AP courses—within guidelines that ensure that each course meets standards for college-level instruction—makes AP flexible and accessible for students and schools.

Learn more about the AP Course Audit.

AP Exams Assess Knowledge and Skills Learned in the Course

Each AP course concludes with an AP Exam. These assessments are designed by the same expert committee that designed the course. 

The exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5 by college and university professors and experienced AP teachers. Many U.S. colleges offer credit for AP Exam scores of 3 or higher.