AP® Chemistry Scoring & Score Calculator
The AP® Chemistry exam has two sections. Each section accounts for 50% of the overall score. Section I includes 60 multiple-choice questions, while Section II has seven free-response questions. Of the 7 questions in Section II, 4 are short-answer questions, and 3 are long-essay questions.
Let’s look at the scoring methodology for each section.
|Total Questions||60||7 (4 short answer, 3 long essay)|
|Points per Question||1 point each||Short-answer: Up to 4 points each
Long-essay: 10 points each
|Total Score||60 points||46 points|
|Scoring Method||Digital scoring||Scored manually by AP Readers|
Your final score is on a 5-point scale related to your point tally. A weighted combination of your total score from each section converts to a score from 1 to 5 on the scale.
Many colleges consider a score of 3 or more while allocating college credit. Earning a college credit means you could skip an equivalent college-level foundational course in chemistry during your first year.
AP Chemistry Scoring Table
As you know now, your total score on the AP Chem exam translates to a weighted combination into a final score of 1 to 5. Each score is equivalent to a student’s performance level. Colleges decide which candidates are eligible for college credit based on these scores. Currently, students need to score a 3 or above to qualify.
This College Board® developed the AP scoring scale after conducting in-depth research. The main aim of AP Chemistry is to teach you college-level foundational chemistry while you’re still in high school. Hence, this scoring system ensures your performance on the exam correlates to a college student’s performance in a college-level chemistry course.
“Only two students got a perfect score on the AP Chemistry May 2021 exam.”
Let’s explore how each score translates to how well-qualified you might be for earning college credit. Each final score on the 5-point scale equates to college grades as indicated below.
|AP Chemistry Score||Qualification||College Grade Equivalent|
|5||Extremely well qualified||A+ or A|
|4||Very well qualified||A-, B+, or B|
|3||Qualified||B-, C+, or C|
Scoring a 4 or 5 on the exam is considered excellent, and you will most likely be eligible for college credit. At many schools, a score of 3 may also earn college credit. Though colleges typically only give credits for scores of 3 or higher, research by the College Board shows that students who earn a 2 are well prepared to succeed in introductory coursework and tend to perform better in those courses than their peers who did not take AP Chemistry.
AP Chemistry Score Distribution
AP Chemistry is popular among high school students who intend to further their education in science at the college level. In May 2022 alone, 124,780 students worldwide took the exam. Over 54 % of students scored a final score of 3 or above.
Let’s take a look at the AP Chemistry score distribution for May 2022.
|Final Score||No. of Students||% of Students (2022 Exam)|
Although it is highly popular, AP Chemistry is a rigorous exam; only about half of test takers attain college credit. If you’re worried about how to score well on this exam, rest easy. With the right kind of study materials, practice questions, planning, and review tools, you’ll be well on your way to a high score.
For the sake of comparison, let’s examine how students fared in the 2021, 2020 and 2019 exams. Based on historical information, the AP Chemistry exam maintains a consistent number of test takers and difficulty level each year.
AP Chemistry Scores and Placement
As we mentioned earlier, most colleges require a minimum score of 3 to allow you to qualify for college credit. However, you should also know that just taking the AP Chem course can make your transcript look good to the admissions committee, even if it doesn’t qualify you for free college credit.
If you're gunning for those college credits, here’s a list of top colleges and their minimum AP Chemistry score requirements.
|University||AP Chemistry Minimum
|Harvard, Cambridge, MA||5|
|University of Chicago, Chicago, IL||5|
|Princeton University, Princeton, NJ||4|
|Brown University, Providence, RI||4|
|Boston University, Boston, MA||4|
|The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX||3|
|The University of Massachusetts, Dorchester, MA||3|
Frequently Asked Questions
How is the AP Chemistry exam scored?
What is a good score on the AP Chemistry exam?
What is the average AP Chemistry score?
Why are AP Chemistry scores curved?
When will the AP Chemistry scores be released?
Do I have to take Chem 107 if I already have an AP Chem credit?
Is it possible to get a 5 on AP Chem while self-studying for the 2023 exam?
With the right study material, an efficient study plan, and dependable review resources, you can definitely score a 5 on the exam.
The College Board®