What is a good AP score?

9 November, 2021
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Giasuib.com – The AP certificate like the SAT is one of the college admissions certificates that plays an important role in helping schools accurately assess the academic qualifications of candidates. So what is a good AP score for admission?

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What is a good AP score?

AP exam scores are a combination of two sections: the multiple-choice which are scored by computer and free-response sections are scores by AP teachers who have experience teaching corresponding college courses. AP exam is scored from 1 to 5 point as below:

AP Exam Score Assessment College Course Grade Equivalent
5 Extremely well qualified A+ or A
4 Very well qualified A-, B+ or B
3 Qualified B-, C+ or C
2 Possibly qualified  
1 No recommendation  


Some universities and colleges in the US accept AP scores for course credit, others accept to place students into higher-level courses, and some do both. The requirements of each university are different, but most will require a minimum score of 3 or 4 to enter the university.

For more: Does HCM city have Biology in English tutoring centers?

Percentage of students achieving average scores in AP courses

After you know what is a good AP score, let’s look at which 2021 AP exams have the highest passing rates—a.k.a. rates of scores over 3. We also note the percentage of students who get a 5, the highest score.


Exam Name Passing Rate (3+) 5 Rate
Chinese Language and Culture (Total Group) 88% 57%
Art and Design: Drawing 87% 14%
Art and Design: 2-D Design 87% 10%
Seminar 85% 11%
Spanish Language and Culture (Standard Group) 84.2%* 17%*
Research 82% 14%
French Language and Culture (Standard Group) 80.9%* 15.7%*
Spanish Language and Culture (Total Group) 80% 17%
Calculus BC 75% 38%
Japanese Language and Culture (Total Group) 74% 47%
Physics C: Mechanics 73% 23%
Italian Language and Culture (Total Group) 73% 21%
Italian Language and Culture (Standard Group) 72.2%* 11.1%*
Gov. and Politics – Comparative 72% 17%
Art and Design: 3-D Design 72% 7%
Japanese Language and Culture (Standard Group) 71.4%* 23.6%*
French Language and Culture (Total Group) 71% 13%
Chinese Language and Culture (Standard Group) 70.9%* 23.8%*
Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism 70% 33%
German Language and Culture (Standard Group) 67.9%* 11.8%*
Computer Science A 67% 25%
Computer Science Principles 67% 13%
German Language and Culture (Total Group) 65% 18%
Physics 2 65% 15%
Spanish Literature 65% 8%
Music Theory 61% 20%
Biology 61% 7%
Microeconomics 60% 20%
European History 59% 14%
Statistics 58% 16%
Latin 57% 10%
English Language and Composition 57% 8%
Psychology 55% 15%
Human Geography 54% 15%
Art History 54% 11%
Macroeconomics 52% 18%
World History 52% 10%
Calculus AB 51% 18%
Chemistry 51% 11%
Gov. and Politics – United States 49% 11%
United States History 48% 11%
Environmental Science 48% 6%
English Literature and Composition 44% 5%
Physics 1 42% 7%

The above statistics are extracted from the official website of the College Board, the organization that designs and organizes the AP exam. For language subjects, “Total Group” includes all students, while “Standard Group” includes only those students who didn’t indicate they speak this language at home or spent more than four weeks studying it abroad.

These year-to-year AP score statistic tables will give students a perspective to refer to the percentage of candidates taking the AP subject that they want to take most likely to achieve a pass or maximum score or not, then having the right study plan to easily achieve a high AP score makes applying to universities more convenient.

For more: AP exam preparation tips

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