As we reach mid-April, students all over the country are preparing in for their upcoming AP Exams. AP Exams are generally administered over two weeks in May; this year, tests will be held on May 7 – 11, 2018, and on May 14- 18, 2018. Here’s a brief primer on AP Exams and the AP Scholar Awards.
Why Take AP Exams?
There are many reasons for students to tackle AP classes and exams, not the least of which is the college admissions process. Competitive colleges do not simply look at a student’s GPA; they examine the rigor of his or her courses. If you are a student aspiring for a the Ivy League or other highly competitive universities, it’s important to make sure your academic record lists multiple challenging APs.
In addition to improving a student’s high school transcript, AP classes offer another perk: the opportunity to earn college credit. Many universities give course credit for qualifying AP scores, meaning that a score of “5” in Literature and Composition, for example, might provide a pre-existing English credit for a student entering his or her freshman year. These extra course credits can be very useful for earning minor degrees, as prerequisites for higher level courses, or for earning exemptions from “101” classes freshman year. Though each university sets its own criteria about awarding credit, and the minimum score requirements can vary based on the university, AP exams often allow students to save money and get a head start on their degrees while still in high school.
The AP Scholar Awards
An additional benefit to the AP exams comes in the form of the AP Scholar Awards. An AP Scholar is someone who receives an award from the College Board for outstanding performance on several AP exams. There are different award levels, depending on how many exams the student takes — and how many exams he or she scores highly on. There are many advantages to becoming an AP Scholar; for starters, students can list AP Scholar Awards on their college applications and resumes, which makes those AP courses look even better.
AP Award Levels:
- Scholar – This is awarded to students who score 3 or more on at least three AP exams.
- Scholar with Honor – This is awarded to students who have averaged a minimum of 3.25 on the AP exams they take and score 3 or more on at least four of those exams.
- Scholar with Distinction – This is awarded to students who average a minimum of 3.5 on all their AP exams and score 3 or more on at least five of these exams.
- State Scholar – This is awarded to one male and female student in each state. The student must have a score of 3 or more on the highest number of AP exams, as well as the highest average score on all the exams they take.
- National Scholar – This is awarded to students who average at least a score of 4 in all the AP exams they take and score 4 or more in at least 8 of these exams.
- DoDEA Scholar – This is awarded to one male and female student attending one of the Department of Defense Education Activity schools. Whoever has the greatest average score on the highest number of AP exams among all the students in the school receives this award. A minimum score of 3 is mandatory.
- International Scholar – This is awarded to one male and female student attending a school outside the United States or Canada with the greatest average score on the highest number of AP exams. A minimum score of 3 is mandatory.
- Seminar and Research Certificate – This is awarded to students who score 3 or more in both AP Research and AP Seminar.
- Capstone Diploma – This is awarded to students who get a score of 3 or more in AP Research and AP Seminar and any four additional AP exams of their choice.
If you want to qualify for any of these awards before you apply for college, you need to take the requisite exams by the end of your junior year so that you can get the award by fall of senior year.
Receiving An Award:
Students who receive AP awards are notified by email. The award is then added the student’s online score report. Students can log in to the college board website to view their AP scores and awards. If the student is a State AP Scholar, the printed award certificate is sent to the state’s superintendent of education for distribution.
Learn more about maximizing your college application at MoonPrep.com.