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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 a final score on a scale of 1-5.(For example, they want to make sure a 3 on the AP US History exam means the same thing from one year to another, even if one version of the test turned out to be more difficult for students.) (Side note: There is a good chance that an AP teacher at your school goes to the AP Reading each year.
This is why you don't get your AP scores until July even though you take the test in May: the written portion of your exam isn't graded until mid-June.
After that, the College Board has to calculate the composite score and final scaled score for each exam, equating the test so the scores stay even from year to year.
Often, composite scores are between 0 and 100, or 0 and 150.
The composite score is then converted to a number on the scaled score range 1-5.
However, many teachers, prep books, and websites have come up with formulas to predict the scaled score for each AP test, which can help when you are grading your practice tests and trying to come up with a target score.
As we've seen, AP test scoring is not exactly straightforward.Typically, points aren’t deducted for the occasional small error, such as a spelling or grammar mistake.Most tests grade their free responses between 1 and 9, with 1 being least effective and 9 being nearly perfect.Let's say you get 40 right, get eight wrong, and leave seven blank.Your raw multiple-choice score would be an even 40 points.Since scaling varies year to year, there are no exact cutoff numbers for scores for AP tests, and the College Board does not release detailed scoring data.Furthermore, you will not see what your composite score was on your AP score report—you'll only get the final number between 1 and 5.You can look up the specifics for each exam on the official AP courses pages.The multiple-choice section is graded by a computer.This means that for each scaled score, there is a range of possible composite scores that could earn it.For example, a 5 could be any composite score between 110 and 150 on one exam.