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When you think of standardized tests, you probably think of filling in bubbles on a multiple-choice exam sheet, which will be fed into a computer that calculates your score. You’re not wrong— that’s a big part of the standardized testing experience.

 

When it comes to AP tests, however, multiple-choice questions are only part of the story. Essays, short-response questions, and other tasks that require you to show your work require human beings to grade, and make the process of scoring a bit more complicated. The College Board also needs time to combine this data with the results of your multiple-choice sections and come up with a score for you on the 1-5 scale.

 

If you’re taking AP tests this year, it’s important that you know what to expect when it comes to when and how you’ll receive your scores. Read on for an overview of the AP scoring process, how scores are released, and what to do if there’s a problem with your scores.

 

 

What Makes AP Test Scores Different from Other Standardized Test Scores?

As you likely already know, AP tests are offered only once a year, near the end of the school year. In the United States, this happens within a roughly two-week period in May. This puts you on the same schedule for taking exams and scoring as every other AP student in the US.

 

A big reason for this schedule is that the College Board needs real human beings with expertise in particular AP subjects to grade these exams, so most readers are high school teachers or college professors. In June, after most schools get out for the summer, these readers come together and undertake an intensive push to get the free-response questions on all of that year’s AP exams scored.

 

Once the free-response sections of the AP exams are scored, the College Board takes some time to review these scores, combine them with the computer-scored multiple-choice sections of the test, and translate these results onto the 1-5 scale. Typically, this process is finished by early July, and all students in the US receive their scores over the course of about a week in early to mid July.

 

AP scores are released by state, with the 50 states spread out over the course of a week or so. The exact release dates for the 2018 testing season haven’t been announced yet, but you can check back on the AP website after your test for more information.

 

On your state’s release date, you and all other AP testers for that year will receive your scores on all the exams you took that year. (Certain special circumstances may affect your personal release date, but most students won’t have to worry about those.) Currently, AP scores are released online only, and you can find them at apscore.org.

 

For more information directly from the College Board about AP test scores, how you’ll receive them, and what they mean, visit the College Board’s AP Scores website.

 

 

What Should I Do Before the Test?

You’ll have the best chance at your scores reaching you promptly and smoothly if you take care to fill out all your test documents correctly when you register and take your AP test. Double-check all the information you provide, including your name, date of birth, identification number, and contact information—an error can derail the College Board’s exam tracking system.

 

Since AP scores are only released online, you’ll need to make sure that you hold onto all your College Board online account information; it would be extremely frustrating to lose your password just as scores are released! To access your AP scores in particular, you’ll also need to provide the identifying number that was used on your exam, which could be either your AP number or your student ID number.

 

If you want your scores to be sent to one or more colleges, you’ll also need to make sure that you provide the correct information for the college(s) of your choice. You can choose one college to receive your scores for free; score reports can also be sent to additional colleges for a fee, and you can choose to send these additional score reports later on.

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How to Get Your AP Test Scores

First of all, in order to get your AP scores, you’ll need to wait until July. Historically, the College Board has started releasing scores around a week into July; keep an eye on the AP website for announcements about this year’s schedule by state.

 

Once your state’s AP scores are released, you can check your scores online. Go to apscore.org and log in using your College Board account information and the identifying number from your AP tests.

 

When you’re logged in, you’ll be able to view your full score report, which contains the results of any AP tests you’ve taken in the past four years. (Older scores are archived and subject to a special retrieval process.)

 

Once released, your scores will also be sent to your high school and to any colleges that you’ve specified. While you’re viewing your AP scores, you’ll be able to see your full history of sending AP scores to colleges. You can also order additional score reports at this point.

 

At this point, many students won’t have to do anything else. However, a number of additional options are available for a fee. These include rush delivery for score reports ordered after scores are released, withholding particular scores from a score report, or permanently cancelling certain scores so that they’re entirely deleted from your record.

 

You can request to have your original free-response answer booklet returned to you for reference, but it won’t include any markings, grades, or comments. If you think your multiple choice segments may have been scored incorrectly, you can also have them rescored for a fee. (Rescoring isn’t available on free-response segments.)

 

After scores are released, there’s one more thing to wait for: the announcement of AP awards. These awards are given out to people who score highly on a certain number of AP tests, and they’re a nice feature to be able to include on your college applications. AP awards are announced in August, so you can check back then for more information.

 

 

What If I Tested Late or On An Alternate Date?

Every year, some number of students end up taking AP tests on a date that’s not the nationwide testing date for that subject. This could be because of illness, religious holidays, weather events, scheduling conflicts with other AP tests, or a variety of other reasons.

 

Whatever the reason, testing late or on an alternate date means your scores aren’t processed with those of your classmates. This means that your scores will most likely not be released at the same time as they would have been if you’d taken the test at the usual time.

 

It’s not certain how much your scores will be delayed if you test on a different date; it depends on the year and the individual circumstances. However, all students who tested should receive their scores by the end of August of the same year.

 

If you know that you tested on a different date from most students taking a particular AP exam, expect a delay, and check back on the College Board AP website regularly to see if your scores have been released. The instructions we’ve provided above still apply to you.

 

If you haven’t received your scores by August, or you have other reason to suspect that something’s wrong regarding your AP exam scores, you may have to inquire further. Next, we’ll go over what to do if you have a problem getting your scores.

 

 

What If There’s a Problem With My AP Test Scores?

Inevitably, some students are going to encounter problems just logging into their College Board accounts, whether that’s because of a lost password or other technical difficulties. If you can’t remember your password, try the website’s built-in password reset feature first. If that doesn’t work, contact the College Board. Don’t try to create a new account for yourself using the same information—that duplication will cause problems.

 

If you’ve successfully logged in, but the scores you’re looking for don’t appear, first make sure that scores have been released for your state. Check the AP website for information about any widespread delays or technical problems that may be affecting the rollout of scores.

 

Everyone else who took AP tests at your school or testing location should receive their test scores at the same time. Ask your classmates, your teacher, or your school’s AP coordinator if others at your school have received their scores. If they haven’t, there’s probably a larger issue at play. If they have, but you still haven’t, there may be a problem with your particular score report.

 

At this point, you’ll need to seek additional help. Your guidance counselor or your school’s AP coordinator may be able to figure out what went wrong or point you in the right direction, but you may also have to escalate your issue to the College Board. The appropriate contact information can be found on the College Board AP website.

 

Perhaps you’re able to see your scores online, but the colleges to which you’ve sent score reports aren’t able to view them when and how they should be able to. This could indicate a problem with your specific scores, an error by the College Board in sending scores, or an error within the college’s admissions department. Speak to both the College Board and the individual college to make sure all your bases are covered in trying to get the problem rectified.

 

Most importantly, if your scores don’t appear as expected, don’t panic! Sometimes a simple clerical error can be to blame; a mistake in an ID number used for tracking, for example, can disrupt the reporting process, but is easily fixed once everyone knows what to look for.

 

Fortunately, if you’re a rising senior and need these AP scores to complete college applications, you’ll have plenty of time to get everything straightened out before any college applications are due. Early Decision applications aren’t usually due until November, giving you several months to solve any problems that might come up.

 

 

Learning More

Are you preparing to take your AP tests, or waiting to hear about your scores? Let us help you understand what these scores mean and how they can be used in your college applications—check out these other posts from the CollegeVine blog.

 

 

When you’re navigating academic coursework, standardized tests, and all the other challenges of being a college-bound high school student, the more people you have on your side, the better. CollegeVine’s experienced mentors are here to help you figure out what direction you want to go in and what you need to do to get there. For more information about the services we offer, visit the CollegeVine Mentorship Program on our website.

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Monikah Schuschu

Monikah Schuschu

Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Monikah Schuschu is an alumna of Brown University and Harvard University. As a graduate student, she took a job at the Harvard College Office of Financial Aid and Admissions, and discovered the satisfaction of helping students and parents with the often-baffling college admissions process. She also enjoys fiber art, murder mysteries, and amateur entomology.
Monikah Schuschu