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Do AP Scores Matter?

Stephen Friedfeld, PhD

Do AP scores matter?

With many colleges and universities making SAT and ACT scores an optional part of the admissions process, you might be wondering whether AP scores are still required and how much they matter as part of your application. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about AP exams:

- Do colleges even look at AP scores? Most colleges do not require official score reports for AP exams, but there is a place on the Common Application for you to list the exams you’ve taken and the scores you’ve received. If you choose to list scores, admissions officers will look at them as part of the evaluation process.

- Do I have to submit all of my AP scores? No! If you received a low score on an AP exam (typically a 1 or 2), it is okay not to report your scores on the application. However, we recommend reporting all scores of 3 or higher.

- How much do AP scores matter? As with most pieces of the application, this can depend on the institution you’re applying to. Generally, AP scores are not a significant part of the review process. In fact, much more weight will be given to the fact that you pursued an AP course and the grade received in that class than the exam score itself. If you are applying to highly selective institutions, however, having many 4’s and 5’s on your exams can be very helpful.

As has always been the case, the courses you take throughout high school and the grades you receive in those courses will far outweigh a single score on a standardized exam.

(Stephen Friedfeld is the co-founder and COO of AcceptU. He received a BA from Cornell University, an MA from Columbia University Teachers College, and a Ph.D. from Rice University. Prior to founding AcceptU, Stephen was an Assistant Dean of admissions at Cornell for four years and an Associate Dean of graduate admissions at Princeton University for six years. Stephen is an IECA Associate Member. )

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