AP® Statistics Exam Scoring & Score Calculator

Are you taking the AP® Statistics exam and are wondering how it is scored? Well, we have got your back! In this article, we are going to discuss the AP Statistics exam scores and crunch some numbers to learn about the AP Statistics score distributions. By the end of this article, you will have a clear idea of whether AP Stats could be the right choice for you. Keep reading!

How Is the AP Statistics Exam Scored?

Let us begin this section with a simple question: how does scoring work on the AP Statistics test?

The AP stats exam consists of two sections: multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and free-response questions (FRQs). There are 40 MCQs in Section I and six FRQs in Section II. Each section carries 50% of the total composite score, making the overall composite score of 100. Let us look at the following table to learn how the composite score of 100 is distributed across the two sections:

Section I: 40 Multiple-choice Questions 50 points
Section II: 6 Free-Response Questions 50 points
Subtotal 100 points

As you can see from the table above, the 50 points in the MCQ section are distributed across 40 questions. Roughly, each correct answer carries 1 point. Now, are you penalized for guessing on the AP Statistics exam? NO! The exam does not penalize you for wrong answers, so never leave a question blank, even if you are unsure of the correct answer.

In Section II, each question carries roughly 4 points, totaling 50 points for six questions. These questions are graded holistically. This means your grade is awarded on the overall quality of your answer and not on the small bits of correct information or formulas you present on the answer sheet. The College Board® has developed the following grading rubric for each free-response question:

  • 4: Complete Response: Demonstrates a thorough understanding of the statistical components of the problem.
  • 3: Substantial Response: Although there may be arithmetic errors, the answers are still reasonable and demonstrate a thorough understanding of the problem's statistical components.
  • 2: Developing Response: This may contain errors that result in some illogical answers, but it demonstrates some understanding of the problem's statistical components.
  • 1: Minimal Response: Misapplies or fails to apply appropriate statistical techniques and demonstrates a limited understanding of statistical components by failing to identify important components
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  • 0: No Response: This demonstrates a lack of understanding of statistical components and also applies if the question is not attempted at all.

This grading rubric implies that if you only include a few correct equations or arithmetic answers, you won't earn many points. To get a good score on these questions, you must demonstrate that you understand how to use statistics.

AP Statistics Raw Score Conversion

Once your total points from each section are calculated, they are added to present your final composite score which is then converted into the AP scaled score, ranging from 1 to 5. The raw score conversion process is kept confidential by the College Board Your composite score on the AP Exam is never presented publicly. You only get the AP Exam grade (1-5) which is calculated after processing your composite raw score on your AP mark sheet.

If you are curious to estimate your composite score for the AP Statistics exam, here is a table explaining the raw score conversion setup:

Section Questions Maximum Points Per Question Raw Score Multiplier
MCQ 40 1 *1.250
FRQ (questions 1-5) 5 4 *1.875
FRQ (Investigative Task) 1 4 *3.125

Let’s follow this table to understand how to derive your raw score:

  1. For the MCQ section, multiply each answer you got right with 1.25. For instance, if you got 20 answers correctly, your composite score for Section I should be 20*1.25 = 25.
  2. For the free-response questions numbered 1 through 5, add the total number of points you scored and multiply that by 1.875. For eg., if your total number of points in the five FRQs comes up to 16, then your composite score for these five questions would be 16*1.875 = 30.
  3. For FRQ no. 6, which is the investigative task, multiply your points by 3.125. Let us say you scored 4 points on this question, then your composite score would be 4*3.125 = 12.5.
  4. Your next step is to add up the composite scores for all the sections to get your final composite score. In the examples we considered above, your final composite score would be 25+30+12.5 = 67.5.

This composite score is then converted into the AP scaled score by the College Board to give you your final AP score. Below is a table that gives the composite score ranges and their respective AP Stats exam scores. The College Board does not release the composite score ranges and their related scaled scores. So the following is just an approximation to help you understand how the AP statistics scoring system might work. We have compiled this table based on previous AP Stats scoring patterns to help you get an idea of the score conversion. Nevertheless, we recommend that you reach out to your AP coordinator for updates and details regarding the score conversion.

Composite Score Range AP Score
70-100 5
49-69 4
37-48 3
29-36 2
0-28 1

With the composite score we calculated above, your final AP score would be a 4.

Keeping these AP Statistics scoring guidelines in mind, we are now ready to look at how your AP scores reflect on your college applications. Let us find out which AP scores can get you a recommendation, placement, and college credits.

AP Statistics Scoring Table

After your statistics exam scores are recorded on the AP grading scale, they are sent to the respective colleges that you’ve selected for admission. If you want to learn how to have the College Board send your AP scores to your college, check out our page on AP Exam Scores.

Although each college has its own criteria for granting credit and/or placement based on AP scores, most colleges follow a standard formula when converting your AP Stats score to the equivalent college grade. Following is the AP score table showing the conversion of AP scores into equivalent college grades for the Stats exam:

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

As you can see from the table, colleges do not consider scores below 3 during admissions. Therefore, the rule of thumb would be to achieve a score of 3 or higher if you are considering getting college credits and Advanced Placement® for your AP Stats exam score. However, always remember to check with the colleges you intend to apply to on their minimum requirements.

" A recent study on students who achieve a score of 2 in AP Stats found that they earn significantly higher grades when taking the course in college than students with the same high school GPA! "

AP Statistics Score Distributions

AP Stats is one of the most popular AP exams taken by students every year. This is because Stats is one of the most versatile AP courses that can earn you Advanced Placement and/or course credit as you enter college, even if you have not finalized your college major. There are numerous other benefits of taking your AP exam for Statistics. Check out our AP Statistics Exam Guide to discover why taking the Stats exam is beneficial for your career.

In 2021, a total of 184,111 students took the AP Stats exam, with almost 58% of test-takers scoring 3, 4, and 5. That’s a fairly average success rate considering the common myth about AP Stats being one of the easiest exams to crack!

For 2021, let us crunch some numbers below to get an idea about the AP Statistics score distributions:

AP Score % of Students 2021
5 16.2%
4 19.9%
3 21.8%
2 17.2%
1 24.9%

Contrary to popular myth, the AP Stats exam is a challenging subject, but you can be a 5 pointer with the right study tools, course instruction, and dedication.

UWorld’s online AP Statistics practice questions will help you get there. Taking practice tests will help you track your progress and clear out doubts to help you form a solid foundation of core statistics concepts. You can also make quick notes and use our flashcards to revise concepts and theorems in a jiffy when reviewing for the exam.

Scoring Pattern for the 2021 AP Statistics Exam

To secure a good score on AP Stats, it is important to understand the scoring pattern for the exam. This will help you gauge whether a section might be a high scorer for you and which section you need to put more effort into. Let us look at the 2021 AP Statistics scoring pattern and learn how scores were distributed across the multiple-choice and free-response sections.

For the 2021 pen-and-paper exam, students scored significantly higher on the Multiple-Choice section than on the Free-Response questions.

For the multiple-choice section:

  • Units 1, 2, and 3 were high scorers, with ~18% of students answering all such questions correctly.
  • Units 4 (Probability, Random Variables, and Probability Distributions) and 5 (Sampling Distributions) were the most challenging ones, with 5% of students answering every question about these units correctly and 5% of students answering no questions about these units correctly.

For the free-response section:

  • Students performed well on Question 4 and Question 6. Especially for the Investigative task (question 6), students found the starting point to be the easiest of all the FRQs.
  • 10% of the test-takers earned all 4 points on Question 4 than on any of the other free-response questions.
  • By far the most challenging questions on the 2021 AP Stats exam were Questions 2 and 3. Nearly only 1% of students earned all 4 points on these questions.

Course Skills:

  • The most challenging questions for students required Skill Category 3, using Probability and Simulation. While prepping for your Stats exam, keep in mind to pay attention to this skill category in particular.
  • On the bright side, students performed well on problems that required using Skill Category 2. 18% of students answered every question that required this skill correctly.

AP Statistics Minimum Score Requirement for College Credits

As we mentioned earlier, most colleges across the US recognize AP exam scores to grant credit or advanced placement to their students. Having an AP statistics score of 3 or higher can earn you college credits, which will help you graduate from college early because of the credits you have already earned in high school through AP. While in other colleges, a score of 3 or higher can give you a chance to skip the core statistics course in the first semester and still get a grade for it, which gets labeled as ‘advanced placement’. Some colleges offer both advanced placement and credit, which means you will earn the credits and also be able to skip the course.

Each institution has its own criteria for acknowledging AP Statistics scores. Some colleges accept an AP score of 3, while some demand a 5. Some colleges do not offer you any credit but grant you a placement for your AP score. So, while you are preparing for your AP Statistics exam, it is essential to know your college entrance requirements for this course.

We have compiled a list of colleges around the country and the AP scores they accept for admission to help you narrow your search. Let us have a look:

Georgia Tech

N/A

Not Awarded

N/A

0

Grinnell College

4

Credit

4 as MAT/SST-115

For major credit for departments that require MAT/SST-115 except for Political Science.

Harvard University

5

Credit

4

Applicable upon activation of “Advanced standing”

Louisiana State University

4

Credit + Placement

ISDS 2000

3 credit hrs

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

N/A

Not Awarded

N/A

N/A

Mississippi State University

3

Credit

ST 2113

3 credit hrs

Notre Dame

4

Credit

MA 221

3 credit hrs

Reed College

N/A

Not Awarded

N/A

N/A

Stanford University

N/A

Not Awarded

N/A

N/A

Truman State University

3

Credit

STAT 190 Basic Statistics

3

University of California at Los Angeles

3/4/5

Credit

Unassigned

4

Yale University

N/A

Not Awarded

N/A

N/A

Institution AP Score AP Recognition Credit/Placement
type
Notes
Georgia Tech N/A Not Awarded N/A 0
Grinnell College 4 Credit 4 as MAT/SST-115 For major credit for departments that require MAT/SST-115 except for Political Science.
Harvard University 5 Credit 4 Applicable upon activation of “Advanced standing”
Louisiana State University 4 Credit
+
Placement
ISDS 2000 3 credit hrs
Massachusetts Institute of Technology N/A Not Awarded N/A N/A
Mississippi State University 3 Credit ST 2113 3 credit hrs
Notre Dame 4 Credit MA 221 3 credit hrs
Reed College N/A Not Awarded N/A N/A
Stanford University N/A Not Awarded N/A N/A
Truman State University 3 Credit STAT 190
Basic Statistics
3
University of California at Los Angeles 3/4/5 Credit Unassigned 4
Yale University N/A Not Awarded N/A N/A
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AP Statistics Score Frequently Asked Questions

AP Statistics scores are scheduled to be released in July every year for the exams administered during May.

Scoring a 5 on your AP Stats exam is absolutely the best score. However, scoring between 3 and 5 may also qualify you for placement and free credits in college.

A few tips to increase your chances of scoring high in AP Stats are to plan a thorough study schedule, focus on key concepts and theorems, and take an ample number of practice tests to sharpen your course skills and concepts. Our AP Stats study guide is here to help you plan and prep for your AP Stats exam. Do check it out for exceptional review tips and tricks.

While the College Board does not disclose the score conversion for composite score to AP score, it is recommended that students consistently score 50% or higher on the practice exams to get a passing score on the AP Statistics exam.

Of course! Scoring a 4 is good on AP Stats.

You need a composite score of at least 70 to get a 5 on the AP Statistics exam.

The highest scaled score for the AP Statistics exam is a 5. It roughly translates to a composite score of at least 70. The highest composite score you can earn is a 100, which equates to a perfect 5 on the AP scale.

Read more about the AP Statistics Exam

Confused about the AP Stats Exam Format? Here’s the AP Statistics Exam structure and question types you should know to stay confident in starting your preparation.
Don’t waste time looking for the perfect guide anymore! Check out UWorlds’s AP Statistics study guide for the essential review tips on the most commonly tested topics.
Want to know everything about AP Stats? Check out our complete article about the AP Statistics Exam—what’s on the test, why to take it, prerequisites and exam difficulty.
A simple course and exam description will save you a lot of time. Here’s our easy-to-understand AP Statistics CED that clearly explains units, topics, and concepts.
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