Learn About the AP Program

Taking the College Challenge

College Board’s AP courses are college-level classes in a wide variety of subjects that you can take while still in high school. They offer you challenging course work and a taste of what college classes are like.

AP Exams

When you take an AP course, you have the opportunity to take the AP Exam in that subject. AP Exams are given in May. They’re two- to three-hour tests made up of multiple-choice and free-response questions. The exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5.

You must pay a fee to take an AP Exam. If you can’t pay the fee, you can ask your school counselor or school AP Coordinator (if your school has one) about a fee reduction. Learn more about AP Exam fee.

AP Course Difficulty

AP courses are usually more demanding than regular high school classes. Most AP courses are similar to first-year college courses. They aren't easy, but you can succeed in them if you put in time and effort.

Benefits of Taking an AP Course

The extra effort you put into an AP course is definitely worth it. Consider these benefits:

  • AP courses offer the opportunity to study a subject in-depth at the college level. This better prepares you for college work.
  • If you receive a high enough score on an AP Exam, you may be eligible for credit, advanced placement or both at most colleges in the United States.
  • The AP Program offers a number of AP Scholar Awards to students for outstanding performance on AP Exams. If you qualify, colleges will recognize this achievement.

Enrolling in an AP Course

Begin by talking with a school counselor, an AP teacher or the school AP Coordinator. Find out if taking an AP course would be a positive experience for you. It’s important to make sure you understand and can handle the workload.

Signing Up for an AP Exam

Ask your AP teacher or school AP Coordinator when your school will offer the AP Exam and how to register for it.

For more information, go to AP Courses & Exams to get a complete list of AP subjects and check out AP course descriptions.