For some students, the hardest part of standardized tests isn’t the prep work. It isn’t the test-taking strategies or the test-day jitters either. Nope, for lots of high schoolers nationwide, the hardest part of standardized tests is the agonizing wait between test day and the day you receive your scores. For some tests, like the SAT, you know from the moment you sign up for the test exactly when you can expect the results back. For other tests, like the ACT, you are given a window of time in which you can expect to access your scores.
If you’re studying for an AP exam right now, or are thinking about taking an AP class in the future, you might be wondering: how are AP exams scored? In this post, we'll break down the scoring process, all the way from the raw scores you earn on the multiple choice section and essays to how you get assigned a final score of 1 to 5. Knowing how AP exams are scored can help you do your best on them – especially if you want a perfect 5. Those numbers mean: Any score 3 or higher is considered passing, though some colleges only accept 4s or 5s for credit. (See AP’s college database for specific policies at each university.) Getting a 5 is especially desirable because, for most exams, it puts you in the top 10-20% of scorers. See our list of AP classes for more info on passing rates.
In early June, I put my teaching assignment on hold to work as an AP Reader in Louisville. Downtown Louisville transformed into AP central with a small army of five thousand readers representing both the AP Literature and AP Language exams. Between the two exams, the readers filled two entire downtown hotels and occupied eight massive ballrooms at the Kentucky Convention Center. For seven straight days, readers from across the nation spent eight hours a day calibrating, deliberating, and scoring boxes and boxes of essays. I worked as an AP Language reader and we collectively scored over 507,000 essays.
When using a four-point rubric, such as the one below, a score of three is typically a score that shows students are achieving at an acceptable level. After all, it is the second highest point value on the rubric. Teachers who need to use letter grades are in a bind. Often the easiest way is to take the score earned on the rubric and turn it into a percentage. Mathematically this is accomplished by dividing the points earned by the number of points possible.
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Most universities follow a model based on the British system. Thus, at the University of Cape Town and the University of South Africa (UNISA), the percentages are calibrated as follows: a 1st class pass is given for75% and above, a second (division one) for 70 - 74%, a second (division two) for 60%-69%, and a third for 50 - 59%. The University of the Witwatersrand considers an A to be 75% and above. Some universities follow weighted average pattern to calculate percentage: 1st and 2nd Semester – 40% of the aggregate marks, 3rd and 4th Semester – 60% of the aggregate marks, 5th and 6th Semester – 80% of the aggregate marks, 7th and 8th Semester – 100% of the aggregate marks. International Grade Conversion by World Education Services for Percentages scored in Indian Universities. Until high school, an averaged percentage is provided.
to keep consistent standards and regular pass rates, which means we can only estimate based off of previous years. I use only past released exam formulas published by Collegeboard, which makes AP Pass the most accurate and up-to-date calculator available. Entering your scores might just give you a confidence boost for your test!
Total Registration has compiled the following scores from Tweets that the College Board's head of AP, Trevor Packer, has been making during June. These are preliminary breakdowns that may change slightly as late exams are scored. Please Follow @totalreg as we Tweet every time this page is updated. Please let others know about these AP Exam Score Distributions Tweet In 2014, more than 220,000 students registered themselves online for over 429,000 AP Exams at 577 schools using Total Registration's service. Request a no obligation bid to see how cost effective this service is.