How Much Do AP Tests Cost? (2023)

How Much Do AP Tests Cost? (1)

Curious about how much it costs to take an AP Test? Learn here how much your AP exams are going to cost you in 2019-2020. We'll also cover how to get financial aid if you need it. So read on for maximum AP test cost saving!

How Much Do AP Tests Cost? (2)

AP Exam Cost for 2019-2020

The fee for each AP Exam in 2019-2020 is $94. This is a slight increase from the $92 fee in 2015-15.

In general, the cost for AP exams tends to rise by a dollar or two each year. If you're curious about the price for future years, you can expect the fee to rise slightly — maybe up to $95 or $96 in the next year or two. Don't worry about a massive price jump happening anytime soon.

Also, international students take note: the fee for exams at schools outside of the United States, U.S. territories and commonwealths, and Canada is $124 per exam. Since College Board is based in the U.S., it costs extra money to handle international testing.

In short, AP exams definitely cost quite a bit! But there is financial aid available. Read on to learn about College Board's fee reduction program.

Can I Get Financial Aid for AP Exams?

College Board provides a $32 fee reduction for each exam taken by students with demonstrated financial need. That $32 reduction brings down the total cost to $53 to $62 per exam ($32 + a $9 school rebate if you're eligible).

How the financial need for the fee reduction is determined depends on your state, and whether your district participates in a program called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). We'll get into the nitty-gritty details below.

How Much Do AP Tests Cost? (3)

Basically, the darker blue your state is, the bigger chance there is your district participates in CEP. But as we'll discuss below, the easiest way to find out is to talk to your guidance counselor. Map courtesy of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The CEP is a program for schools and districts with high percentages of low-income children to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. If your school participates in the CEP, your eligibility for AP Exam fee reductions is determined on a case-by-case basis. While the College Board used to grant all students from CEP schools or districts a fee reduction, but as of 2019, that is no longer the case. For more information, make sure to visit the College Board's AP Fee Reduction site.

If your district does not participate in CEP, then College Board uses the eligibility standards for the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program. We'll go over exactly what those eligibility requirements look like below.

If Your School Participates in CEP

The guidelines for qualifying for the AP fee reduction in CEP districts are as follows:

Either your family's income is at or below 185 percent of the poverty level issued annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or

You qualify as an "identified student" because you are:

    • in foster care or Head Start, or
    • homeless or migrant, or
    • living in households that receive SNAP/Food Stamps, TANF cash assistance, or the Food Distribution on Indian Reservations benefits

If Your School Doesn't Participate in CEP

For schools and districts that do not participate in CEP, enrollment in or eligibility to participate in the federal Free or Reduced Lunch program can be used to qualify for AP Fee reduction.

The qualifiers for free and reduced lunch are pretty much the same as CEP:

Your family's income is at or below 185 percent of the poverty level issued annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or

You are directly certified without application for free school meals because you are:

    • in foster care or Head Start, or
    • homeless or migrant, or
    • living in households that receive SNAP/Food Stamps, TANF cash assistance, or the Food Distribution on Indian Reservations benefits

You can read more about College Board's fee reduction policies to learn more.

But what if you don't meet those criteria? Or you do meet those criteria, but $53 per exam is still too expensive?

Some states have additional funding that may be available for AP exams. This could lower that $53 price even more. Find those guidelines here. In addition, your school or district might have its own fee reduction guidelines or programs.

So how do you find out exactly how much financial aid you can get for AP?


There are quite a few channels to getting funding for your AP tests, but those channels vary by where you live. You could get money from College Board, from your state, or even from your school.

To find out exactly how much financial aid you qualify for, go to your guidance counseling office and ask about AP Exam fees at your school. The guidance counselors can help determine if you qualify for College Board's fee reduction, and furthermore, they'll tell you about any additional funding programs your school or state might have. The guidance counseling office should have experience helping students get funding for AP exams, especially if your school has a pretty wide AP course selection.

How Much Do AP Tests Cost? (4)

Looking for help studying for your AP exam?

Our one-on-one online AP tutoring services can help you prepare for your AP exams. Get matched with a top tutor who got a high score on the exam you're studying for!

How Much Do AP Tests Cost? (5)

Is $94 Per Exam Worth It?

If you're anything like I was in high school, you may be getting a case of sticker shock right now. $94 per exam is a lot of money! Even if you qualify for College Board's fee reduction, you could still be paying $53 per exam. So is the price worth it?

Well, that depends on if you pass the exam and how your score translates to college credit and/or admissions competitiveness.

If you pass an exam that is eligible for college credit at the school you end up attending, the cost can definitely be worth it — that $94 could pay for a course that runs in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Some students are even able to enter college as sophomores and save a whole year of tuition based on their AP credit. In for a penny, out for a pound, as the old saying goes.

The $94 fee can also be worth it if you get a good score that helps you get into a selective college, even if that school doesn't take AP credit. For example, I took nine AP classes over the course of high school. While many of them didn't end up getting me course credit at Stanford, those classes — and the high scores I got on AP tests – certainly strengthened my application. For my family, the money spent on AP exams ended up being worthwhile, especially since I received a generous financial aid package from Stanford.

This means you have to make a judgment call for each AP class and test — does the class add a meaningful challenge to your schedule, or are you just piling on AP classes? You're more likely to pass each AP exam you take if your schedule isn't jammed with them.

Think carefully about this. As we've said before, don't feel pressure to load up on AP classes just to have them. Only take the classes you are confident you can do well in and/or have strong personal interest for.

Finally, the fee is absolutely not worth it if you fail the exam, because you won't get college credit and that $94 is essentially wasted. Furthermore, a score of 1 or 2 does not look impressive to colleges, even if you get good grades in the AP class (in fact, that may just signal to the colleges the AP classes at your school are too easy). Again, make sure not to overload on AP classes!

What's Next?

Learn even more about AP classes: how colleges use AP credit, the hardest and easiest AP classes, and whether the AP program is doing a good job.

Also studying for the SAT/ACT? Learn how to develop a target score for the SAT/ACT based on your dream schools.

College applications on the brain? Learn everything you need to know about the college essay and watch out for deadlines you can't miss.

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

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Halle Edwards

About the Author

Halle Edwards graduated from Stanford University with honors. In high school, she earned 99th percentile ACT scores as well as 99th percentile scores on SAT subject tests. She also took nine AP classes, earning a perfect score of 5 on seven AP tests. As a graduate of a large public high school who tackled the college admission process largely on her own, she is passionate about helping high school students from different backgrounds get the knowledge they need to be successful in the college admissions process.

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How much do AP exams usually cost? ›

How much do AP exams cost?
AP Exam Fee Structure
On-time orders (By November 15, 2022)$97 per exam at schools in the U.S., U.S. territories, Canada, and DoDEA schools $127 per exam everywhere else $145 per exam for the AP Capstone Programs
3 more rows

Is a 70% a 5 on the AP Exam? ›

Usually, a 70 to 75 percent out of 100 translates to a 5. However, there are some exams that are exceptions to this rule of thumb. The AP Grades that are reported to students, high schools, colleges, and universities in July are on AP's five-point scale: 5: Extremely well qualified.

Is it a big deal to fail an AP Exam? ›

The most substantial consequence to failing an AP exam is that you will not receive college credit for the course. However, many colleges do not even offer credit for AP courses. So, you may not be missing out on an opportunity at all. Either way, you shouldn't look at this as a scary consequence.

Do all AP tests cost money? ›

The AP Program charges a fee for each AP Exam. Your school will help you submit any AP Exam fees you owe—you can't pay on this website.

Why are AP exams so costly? ›

“AP Exams are expensive because a student is paying for college credit. It can be helpful to graduate early, get to accelerated classes, or save tuition,” sophomore Max Dreben said. “Instead of taking the same course in college, it's easier to study and pass the AP Exam.”

Do AP exams affect GPA? ›

AP scores won't affect your high school GPA or your chances of college admission. (The fact that you took AP courses when they were available is a different story!) But good AP scores can earn you college credit.

Is 4 a good AP scores for Ivy League? ›

In terms of Ivy League and Top 20 schools, even a 4 is a relatively low score to earn on an AP exam. It is routine for Ivy League admissions officers to review applications from students who have scored 5s on multiple AP tests.

What is the easiest AP class? ›

What is the easiest AP class? AP Computer Science Principles is rated as the easiest AP class by real AP class alumnae, with an average difficulty rating of just 2.8 / 10 (1 = easiest), and the 2022 pass rate of 69% is about average.

What is a 50% in AP score? ›

Here are the basics of the AP English exam: it has 55 multiple-choice questions, worth 45% of your score, and three essays, worth 55% of your score. Each essay is graded between 1 and 9.
Step 3: Use the Chart to Estimate Your Scaled Score.
Composite Score (0-100 or 0-150)Scaled Score (1-5)
3 more rows
Mar 21, 2020

What is the most failed AP exam? ›

The most failed AP exams are Physics 1 (failed by 48.4% of all students), Environmental Science (failed by 46.6% of all students), and Chemistry (failed by 43.9% of all students). For a full chart of the hardest AP exams (those with the lowest passing rate), check out this site.

Do colleges care if you don't take an AP exam? ›

Perhaps the test was too expensive, or they couldn't make the exam date. It could also be because none of their potential colleges accept AP credits. Either way, colleges will not look down on you for abstaining from taking the exam.

Is AP Bio or Chem harder? ›

However, our son thinks taking AP bio in junior year makes more sense since AP biology tends to be relatively 'easier' than AP chemistry for most kids and his next year classes are rigorous.

Can AP test fees be waived? ›

Examples of criteria that may indicate a student is eligible for a fee waiver include the following: Their family income is below 185% of the federal poverty line. The student is in foster care, homeless, or a migrant.

How can I take AP Exam for free? ›

Students are eligible for the AP Exam fee reduction on all AP Exams they take in a given year if:
  1. their family's annual income falls within the Income Eligibility Guidelines set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service, or.
  2. they qualify as an “identified student” because they are:

How many AP tests is too much? ›

Aim for four to eight AP exams in your junior and senior years. For competitive Ivy League schools, admission officers also want to see AP courses for core subject areas and additional courses. If possible, aim to pass about seven to 12 AP exams if applying to these highly selective schools.

Why do so many students fail AP exams? ›

These exams have lower passing rates because younger high school students who are less prepared for AP tests often take these classes. In addition, many students simply underestimate them and don't study enough.

Does passing AP exam Save Money? ›

First, by passing AP tests, students can earn credit toward their college degrees, saving time and money. Rather than paying college tuition prices for a class, learners pay one exam fee. Similarly, AP credits allow students to skip introductory classes obynce they start college.

What is the most commonly taken AP exam? ›

1. AP English Language and Composition. AP English Language and Composition is by far the most popular AP test, with over half a million students taking the exam in 2021.

What GPA is a B+ in an AP class? ›

There is an age-old argument about whether an A in an academic class or a B in an AP® class looks better on a college application.
Here's how to calculate your weighted GPA.
Letter GradeUnweighted GPA
8 more rows
Mar 1, 2022

What is the lowest AP pass rate? ›

AP Physics 1

Despite a reputation as one of the most difficult AP classes, Physics 1 is also one of the most popular—144,526 students took it in 2022. Physics 1 has the lowest pass rate of any AP exam (43.3%) along with one of the lowest percentages of students scoring a 5 (just 7.9%).

Do senior AP scores matter? ›

Senior APs do count. Colleges look at your senior courses to see that youre still taking challenging courses and your grades in your midyear report.

Does Harvard accept 4s on AP exams? ›

Harvard only accepts AP® scores of 5 for course credit. If you have 4 scores of 5, you can opt to obtain Advanced Standing. You can use AP® credits to opt-out of lower-level classes. Harvard has general academic requirements that all students must take.

How many kids get AP Scholar? ›

Nationwide, only about 10% of students earn the distinction of AP Scholar or higher by the time they graduate (based on historic data provided by the College Board).

Can I get into Harvard with 4 AP classes? ›

Harvard does accept AP Credit for classes in which a student earned a 5 on the AP Exam. These credits are accepted under a program called “Advanced Standing.” To qualify, students must earn a 5 on a minimum of 4 AP tests, transferring a total of 32 credits.

Is self studying AP worth it? ›

As opposed to just taking an AP class through your high school, self-studying lets you study whatever subject interests you most, allows you to structure the learning around your schedule, and comes off as impressive to college admissions.

Which AP class has the highest 5 rate? ›

Furthermore, some decidedly hard exams, like Chinese, Calculus BC, and Physics C, have very high 5 rates—up to 49%+ for Chinese!

Is taking 10 AP classes enough? ›

For students aiming for the Ivy League and Top 20 schools in the United States, a good target is to take (and pass) 10-14 AP classes throughout your high school career — or 3-4 each year.

What GPA is a C+ in AP? ›

C+ GPA. A C+ letter grade is equivalent to a 2.3 GPA, or Grade Point Average, on a 4.0 GPA scale, and a percentage grade of 77–79.

What is the hardest AP class in high school? ›

Top 10 Hardest AP Classes by Exam Pass Rate
  • Chemistry. 56.1% 10.6%
  • U.S. Government and Politics. 57.5% 15.5%
  • U.S. History. 58.7% 13.0%
  • Human Geography. 59.0% 11.8%
  • European History. 59.3% 13.7%
  • Statistics. 60.0% 16.2%
  • English Literature. 60.1% 9.3%
  • World History.

Is 2 an ok AP score? ›

Students who earn AP scores of 2 are well prepared to succeed in introductory college coursework. Compared to academically similar college peers who did not take the AP course, AP students who earn scores of 2 perform as well or better when they take those introductory college courses.

What is the easiest AP exam to pass? ›

Top 10 Easiest AP Classes by Exam Pass Rate
  • Physics C: Mechanics. 84.3% 41.6%
  • Calculus BC. 81.6% 44.6%
  • Spanish Literature. 75.1% 17.6%
  • Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism. 74.4% 40.4%
  • Physics 2. 73.3% 14.0%
  • Computer Science Principles. 71.6% 10.9%
  • Psychology. 71.3% 22.4%
  • Computer Science A. 70.4% 25.6%

What happens if you get a 1 on an AP exam? ›

However, a low AP exam score is very unlikely to hurt your application. If you get a 1 or a 2, you can choose not to report it, and if you get a 3, it's up to you, as it will likely have no impact one way or another. A 3 is a passing score, so it won't help you but probably won't hurt you.

Do AP classes boost GPA? ›

While honors courses usually add 0.5 points to your GPA, AP classes often add 1 point. In other words, a 3.5 GPA would be boosted to a 4.0 in an honors class and a 4.5 in an AP class. This boost can prove particularly useful if you want to challenge yourself with more difficult training without punishing your GPA.

Are AP Exams worth it senior year? ›

If you're wondering if you should take some AP tests your senior year, the answer is a resounding yes. You don't want to front load your AP courses during junior year, as it may overwhelm you.

Is it too late to take AP in senior year? ›

No, it is not too late to start taking AP classes in your senior year. When you send your high school transcript, it will have the classes you are taking, and in some cases, schools will ask for your midterm grades. AP classes shows your ability to take college courses.

What AP classes do colleges like to see? ›

As a general rule, you should aim for the following AP class numbers: Most Selective Schools (Top 20): APs in most or all of the core courses (English, Mathematics, Science, History, and Foreign Language), plus additional AP courses that relate to your goals, future major, or interests.

Is AP Psychology hard? ›

Is AP Psychology Easy Or Hard? AP Psychology is considered very easy, with class alumnae rating it 3.5/10 for overall difficulty (the 2nd-easiest out of the 28 large AP classes surveyed). The pass rate is slightly lower than other AP classes, with 59% graduating with a 3 or higher.

Is AP Physics or Chem easier? ›

Based on College Board pass rates, AP Physics 1 is more difficult than AP Chemistry. That said, AP Chemistry is not far behind -- AP Physics 1 has a pass rate of about 52% while AP Chemistry has a pass rate of 56%.

What happens if I dont pay for AP exams? ›

If you don't pay or arrange to pay by November 1, no test will be ordered for you. If you still want to take the test, you'll have to pay the $40 late fee!

What happens if I skip my AP test? ›

With a few exceptions, AP examinations consist of a multiple-choice component plus a free-response section. If you are sick, you have a make up day option. From past experience, nothing happens if you skip your AP exam.

Can I fail an AP Exam? ›

What happens if you fail an AP exam? If you fail an AP exam, you will not receive college credit for that course. The good news is that a failed exam does not affect your GPA. In addition, you can retake the AP exam the next year.

Can I take AP Exam on my own? ›

Yes, 100%. You don't even need to take the class to take the exam (so that homeschooled students or those without access are able to as well). Check to see your nearby schools for areas that are recognized by College Board to see where your testing centers are, and register early next year. Good luck on those AP exams!

How many APs do Ivy League students take? ›

Ivy League

To be a competitive candidate for admission, you will need to take at least 8 AP® classes, more if you can. It is a good idea to take 1 AP® course in each of the following core disciplines: English, Foreign Language, History, Math, and Science to impress the admissions officers.

Is 4 APs too much junior year? ›

Aim for four to eight AP exams in your junior and senior years. For competitive Ivy League schools, admission officers also want to see AP courses for core subject areas and additional courses. If possible, aim to pass about seven to 12 AP exams if applying to these highly selective schools.

Is 5 APs too much junior year? ›

You can definitely take 5 APs, but just make sure to stay on top of your work and spend a good amount of time studying to make sure you know the material.

How much does it cost to get 5 on AP exams? ›

For example, a 5 could be any composite score between 110 and 150 on one exam.

How much does the AP Exam cost 2023? ›

The exam fee is $101 per exam. Monday, October 3 at 11:59 p.m. – Registration and payment after this date will incur a $25 late fee per exam.

How much is a 4 on the AP Exam? ›

An AP score of 4 is like getting a B on the AP test. Most schools accept a 4 for credit. Before you take any AP exam, check with the colleges you're considering to find out what their policies are for granting AP credit.

How much is a 3 on the AP test? ›

An AP® score of 3 is a respectable score. The College Board designates a 3 to be “qualified”. That means that you understood and executed the material to the point that you could pass the college class. While you did not receive the highest grade in the class, you did pass.

What AP test is it easiest to get a 5 on? ›

Top 10 Easiest AP Classes by Exam Pass Rate
AP Class/Exam*Pass Rate (3+)Perfect Score (5)
2. Calculus BC81.6%44.6%
3. Spanish Literature75.1%17.6%
4. Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism74.4%40.4%
5. Physics 273.3%14.0%
6 more rows

Should I retake an AP Exam if I got a 2? ›

If you got a 2 on your AP® English Language exam, it is definitely worth trying to retake it. Make it worth the added time and expense by taking these steps to improve your score. Track your scores on the multiple choice section. As you prepare, carefully note your score on the multiple choice section.

Are all AP exams 3 hours long? ›

Each exam has its own unique requirements; however, almost all of the exams have the following things in common. Details about each subject are on the exam pages. Most exams are 2–3 hours long. The first part of the exam usually consists of multiple-choice questions.

How many AP exams should I take in one year? ›

Even though there is no specific rule of thumb to take any number of APs, statistics suggest that students applying for STEM courses on average take 4-5 APs, which can also go up to 8 in number.

How rare is it to get a 5 on an AP Exam? ›

The odds of passing with a 5—the highest score—are quite low on any exam: between 10% and 20% for most tests. They are even lower for popular tests, such as AP English Lit and AP Environmental Science, which have 5 rates below 10%.

Do colleges accept 4s on AP Exams? ›

Colleges are generally looking for a 4 (“well-qualified”) or 5 (“extremely qualified”) on the AP exam, but some may grant credit for a 3 (“qualified”). These scores mean you have proven yourself capable of doing the work in an introductory-level college course.

What is a 75 on an AP test? ›

AP Scale Grading
If you got a percentage of...If you got a raw score of... (For FINAL EXAM)And your AP score is...
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Is a 60 passing in AP classes? ›

Yes, a 60 is a passing rate in AP classes. The average passing rate in AP is 60-70%.


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