What AP® Test Scores Are Accepted by Colleges?

Many colleges across the U.S. recognize AP® test scores to grant college credit and advanced placement to students. However, each college has its own criteria for selection. Some colleges accept an AP score of 3, while some demand a 5. So, while you’re prepping for your AP exam, it’s important to know what AP test score you will need to get  advanced placement and credit at colleges across the U.S. and which colleges accept them.

What Are Advanced Placement and Credit?

The main purpose of taking AP exams is to get advanced placement and course credits in colleges for scoring high on the AP exams. If you score a 3, 4, or 5 on an AP exam, many colleges will offer you the chance to skip introductory courses during your freshman year. Based on your AP scores, colleges will offer you “advanced placement” into higher level courses by skipping the introductory ones. With a good AP score, you may also be eligible to get college credit. These credits are a way of acknowledging that you have mastered the introductory or core courses that are required for you to graduate. The credits you earn for your AP exam scores count towards the total credits required for you to graduate from college.

Many colleges offer both advanced placement and college credit for a good AP score (3 or higher). Some colleges, however, offer either placement or college credit. If you are seeking credit or placement for AP exam scores, you must ensure that the colleges and universities in which you’re interested accept the Advanced Placement® program. Remember that the policies on granting placement or credit on the basis of AP exam scores vary from institution to institution.

Which Colleges Offer Advanced Placement and Credit for AP Scores?

Every college has their own AP credit and placement policy that specifies the minimum AP score to earn credit and/or placement for a given exam and the amount of credit awarded for the said exam or course.
At some colleges, AP scores transfer directly to credit hours. However, at other colleges, your AP exam scores allow you to get a waiver for certain course requirements even if they do not grant you actual college credits. Some colleges, like LSU, offer you both placement and credit for your AP scores. The College Board®‘s  AP Credit Policy Search gives you detailed information about these regulations, but always be sure to confirm the information directly with your prospective colleges.

What Score Do You Need for Each AP Course?

Institutions generally acknowledge a 4 or a 5 on the AP exam, but some may even grant credit and/or placement for a 3. These scores indicate that you are qualified for an introductory-level college course. In most colleges, however, you will see that they have different score requirements for different courses. A college might accept a 3 in AP Statistics but a 5 in AP English Language. Therefore, it is crucial that you do a background check of your college’s AP policies well ahead of time.

Below is a table indicating how likely a college will accept AP credit and/or placement for corresponding test scores (irrespective of the course).

AP Test Score  College Course Grade Equivalent Probability of AP Credit Being Applied
5
Extremely qualified
A Usually
4
Well qualified
A-, B+, B Usually
3
Qualified
B-,C+,C Maybe
2
Possibly qualified
N/A Very Rarely
1
Not qualified
N/A No

To make things easier for you, we’ve also compiled a list of 50 colleges across the U.S. and their AP requirements. To learn more, click on the AP Policy and Credit Equivalencies for each college listed below:

School Accepts AP for Placement Accepts AP for Credit AP Policy AP Credit Equivalencies
1. American University Yes Yes Link Link
2. Boston University Yes Yes Link Link
3. Bucknell University Yes Yes Link
4. Carleton College No Yes Link Link
5. Carnegie Mellon University Yes Yes Link Link
6. Case Western Reserve University Yes Yes Link
7. Claremont McKenna College No Yes Link
8. Clemson University Yes Yes Link Link
9. Colgate University Yes Yes Link
10. Colorado College Yes Yes Link Link
11. Colorado State University Yes Yes Link
12. Columbia University Yes Yes Link Link
13. Cornell University Yes Yes Link Link
14. Dartmouth College Yes Yes Link Link
15. Duke University No Yes Link
16. Fairfield University Yes Yes Link
17. Florida State University Yes Yes Link
18. George Mason University Yes Yes Link
19. George Washington University No Yes Link
20. Georgia State University No Yes Link Link
21. Georgia Tech Yes Yes Link
22. Harvard University Yes Yes Link Link
23. Indiana University Yes Yes Link
24. Johns Hopkins University Yes Yes Link
25. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Yes Yes Link
26. New York University No Yes Link
27. Northeastern University Yes Yes Link Link
28. Northwestern University Yes Yes Link Link
29. Notre Dame Yes Yes Link Link
30. Ohio State University Yes Yes Link Link
31. Oregon State University No Yes Link
32. Princeton University Yes Yes Link
33. Stanford University No Yes Link
34. Texas Christian University Yes Yes Link
35. University of Alabama Yes Yes Link
36. University of California, Berkeley Yes Yes Link Link
37. University of Chicago Yes Yes Link
38. University of Colorado – Boulder Yes Yes Link Link
39. University of Florida Yes Yes Link Link
40. University of Georgia Yes Yes Link Link
41. University of Illinois Yes Yes Link
42. University of Miami Yes Yes Link Link
43. University of Michigan Yes Yes Link
44. University of Mississippi  No Yes Link
45. University of North Carolina Yes Yes Link
45. University of Oregon Yes Yes Link Link
46. University of Pennsylvania Yes Yes Link
47. University of Texas – Austin Yes Yes Link
48. University of Washington Yes Yes Link
49. University of Wisconsin Yes Yes Link
50. Washington State University Yes Yes Link

With so many colleges to choose from, it is always recommended to shortlist a few colleges of your choice before gearing up for admissions. If you’re curious to find out more about how you can score a 4 or a 5 on your AP exams, our AP Exam Study Guide is here to help. Good luck and happy prepping!

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