How Much Do AP® Tests Cost?: Everything You Need to Know about Exam Fees | (2023)

Taking AP® tests is a great way to get a jump start on your college education. They can help with your application for admission and give you an extra advantage on scholarship applications. High test scores can even be substituted for college credit, which can mean great savings on tuition. With tuition costs soaring, AP® credits can be a real advantage for the savvy student.

However, the AP® tests themselves are not cheap. In fact, the test fees and associated costs can quickly add up. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about AP® test costs and other associated fees. Note that your last years of high school are a time of many deadlines, applications, and fees, so you’ll want to keep track of these in a calendar or notebook to make sure you stay on top of things. Get your calendar ready as we go through the following information.

We’ll start with the basics. The CollegeBoard’s standard AP® exam fee is $93 per exam in the US, US territories, and Canada. This fee applies to all test subjects. At international test sites outside of these countries, the exam fee is $123 per exam. Your exam fee includes a rebate to the school of $9 per exam to offset administration costs (note that some schools may have additional charges for administration and proctoring). Fees are payable to the school administering the test. The deadline for paying for the AP® test will vary by school, so please check with your teacher or school for details, and write the deadline on your calendar. AP® exam fees change year to year, so be sure to check for updated fee information if you plan to take an exam in a later year.

For students who can’t take AP® exams at their school, there are other options available. If you are homeschooled, or your school doesn’t offer AP® courses, you may be able to take your AP® exams at a participating school in your area.

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Now, get your calendar ready to write down the following dates. You must contact AP® services for a list of AP® coordinators in your area by March 1st. You must then contact the designated test coordinators by March 15th to find a school site offering your desired AP® exams. Follow their instructions regarding registering and paying for AP® tests.

You will need to provide a form of identification at your test site, so make sure you have a valid government-issued or school-issued ID ready before your test. If you need to procure a government-issued ID before your AP® test, you will want to take note of the cost, which varies by state, and the length of time needed to receive your ID. Write these down on your calendar.

AP® exam fees can be quite expensive, and for students taking multiple tests, the cost can become prohibitive. Luckily there are possibilities for fee reductions and waivers to help offset AP® test costs for students from low-income families. Students with demonstrated financial need can receive a fee reduction of $31 from the CollegeBoard. When a student receives a fee reduction, the school will forgo their $9 rebate, so the cost to the student will be $53. The rules for receiving the fee reduction depend on whether your school participates in the Community Eligibility Provision. Let’s look at this provision in more detail.

The Community Eligibility Provision is a program for schools and school districts with a high percentage of low-income students to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students without having to collect applications from each family. Students enrolled at CEP schools can receive an AP® exam fee reduction if they meet one of the following conditions:

  • The student’s family income is at or below 185% of the poverty level, per the US Dept. of Health and Human Services. Please see the CollegeBoard AP® site for detailed information regarding income levels.
  • The student qualifies as an “identified student” because they are one of the following:
    • In foster care or Head Start
    • Homeless or migrant
    • Living in households that receive SNAP/Food Stamps, TANF cash assistance, or Food Distribution on Indian Reservation benefits

Your teacher or school counselor will be able to tell you if your school participates in this program.

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Even if your school does not participate in the Community Eligibility Provision, the above test fee reduction criteria still apply. If you are eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunches, you are also eligible for the AP® test exam fee reduction. Schools are also allowed to determine who receives fee reductions on their own, using other CollegeBoard-approved criteria such as whether the student’s family receives any public assistance, whether the student is enrolled in any program that aids students from low-income families, or whether the student is an orphan or ward of the state.

In the past, federal funds were available from the US Department of Education under the Advanced Placement Test Fee Program to reduce the cost of AP® exams even further, but beginning in 2017, the program administering these funds has changed to the Every Student Succeeds Act. Consequently, the same amount of funds may not be available for AP® testing in every state that was granted it in previous years.

However, many states provide additional funds to reduce AP® test costs or provide AP® fee waivers for low-income students. Talk to your school to find out if you qualify for any AP® test fee waivers or reductions. Some funds may be limited, so you’ll want to talk to your coordinator as early as possible to make sure that there are funds available for you. Make a note in your calendar to do this well ahead of the payment deadline.

What if you don’t qualify for the AP® exam reductions, but are still worried about how you will pay for the exam fees? Talk to your teachers and your school’s AP® coordinator. Many schools and school districts have AP® exam scholarships and AP® exam fee waivers available. Your school and teachers want to see you succeed on your AP® exams, so be sure to talk to them early about the potential for AP® financial aid if you think you will have problems paying your exam fees. Make a note on your calendar to have this discussion early to be able to take advantage of as many scholarship opportunities as possible. You also may want to consider earning money yourself through a part time job such as babysitting or tutoring. If you start early in the year, you will have an easier time coming up with the required funds by your school’s payment deadline, so be sure to jot this down on your calendar as well.

There are other various fees associated with the AP® exams that you need to keep in mind. If for some reason you miss your exam and need to take a makeup exam, you will be charged an additional $45 for the later test. Make sure your test dates are recorded prominently in your calendar to avoid potential conflicts.

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If you decide not to take the exam at all, you can receive a refund, but your school may charge you $15 for an unused test fee if they have already ordered and received your test. Please be aware of any cancellation dates designated by your school (and mark them on your calendar!) to avoid paying any extra fees.

Note that if there is a time conflict with two AP® exams you wish to take, you will not have to pay the $45 fee to take the late exam for one of the conflicting subjects. There are a variety of other reasons for missing your test that is outside of the control of you and your school, and that will not result in a late fee charge. Some of these reasons include serious illness or injury, religious observance, school closing due to weather or natural disaster, family tragedy, or conflict with government-mandated exams. If you have to miss your exam for an unavoidable reason, talk to your teacher or AP® Coordinator to make sure that you will not be charged a late fee.

Just because the test is over doesn’t mean you’re all done with paying for your AP® tests. After test day, there are additional fees you may need to pay to submit your AP® exam scores to colleges. You can submit your score to one college or university for free by designating it on your test answer sheet. If you don’t designate a school or if you wish to send your score to additional schools, however, you will be charged $15 per score report or $25 for rush delivery. Other costs associated with score reports are fees for withholding scores, for rescoring, and for receiving your free-response booklet. Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

If you received better scores on some of your AP® tests than others, you might wish to withhold some of your scores from the colleges and universities where you are applying. The CollegeBoard offers this service for $10 per score per college, plus a $15 processing fee or $25 rush processing fee per report. There is no fee for canceling an AP® exam score, but once canceled, the score will not be available to you in any form. Since you have already paid for the exam, you may wish to use the score withholding service rather than canceling your score completely. You must apply for this service by June 15th, so mark that date on your calendar now, just in case.

If you feel there is a discrepancy with your score, you can have the multiple-choice section rescored by hand. This should catch any errors from not filling in the test sheet properly, so if you often have trouble with scanned test answer sheets, you may wish to consider this option. If the hand-rescored score is different than your original score, the rescore will take precedence and will be sent to any colleges and universities where your previous scores were sent. The fee for hand rescoring is $30. October 31st is the deadline to apply for rescoring, so be sure it is marked in your calendar.

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You can receive your free-response booklet after the test for a fee of $10. However, it is just your booklet as you wrote it, with no comments or scores included. Apply by September 15th for this service, another deadline to put in your calendar.

You can find the forms to request your free-response booklet, withhold or cancel scores, or request a rescore on the CollegeBoard’s AP® test website. Fees are payable by check, money order, or credit card.

What if you decide to take any additional prep courses or use prep materials outside of those offered by your school? These options can get expensive, too. Let’s take a look at some of the possible AP® prep costs. The test prep powerhouses Kaplan and Princeton Review offer private tutoring targeted to each AP® test. However, these services are quite expensive and can cost up to $1,300 for one course.

Many types of books and materials are available for self-study at much more economical costs. On a wide variety of AP® self-study materials is available for around $10 to $20 per book, with used options available for even less. Don’t forget to check your local library for these materials as well. Also, be sure to check the internet for low cost or free preparation materials. Your AP® course teachers may have suggestions or materials on hand that you can use. Be sure to gather any additional prep materials well in advance of your exam so that you can make the most of them. This is another good thing to note on your calendar.

The costs associated with AP® exams can seem daunting, but it can also be considered an important investment in your future. If time is money, then AP® tests are an investment in both, since they can save you both tuition money and time in college that can be used to study other things, work, travel or graduate early. To make the most of this opportunity to invest in your future, and to make sure you can afford your AP® test costs and other associated costs, it’s best to start preparing well in advance. Talk to your teachers and your school’s AP® Coordinator to find out exactly how much you will have to pay, when payment deadlines are, and whether you are eligible for any fee reductions or scholarships.

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Advanced preparation is key to approaching your tests without any additional anxiety about paying fees. Be sure to note any relevant deadlines in your calendar as soon as you find out about them to give yourself ample time to prepare. A calendar can also help you keep track of any saving or earning of money that you may need to do to pay for your AP® test costs. Start your calendar early and update it often!


How much does the AP test cost? ›

For nonpublic schools: Send $53 to College Board for each AP Exam ($101 per AP Seminar Exam and AP Research Exam) taken by fee-reduced students. June 15, 2023, is the postmark deadline for payment due to College Board. AP coordinators do not need to submit a copy of their invoice to ISBE.

How much is the AP test fee 2023? ›

AP Exam Fees

The base exam fee is increasing by $1 for the 2023 AP Exams. The base exam fees are: $97 per exam at schools in the U.S., U.S. territories, Canada, and all DoDEA schools.

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 100 dollars? ›

The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) funds the incentives at South High Community School and all the other schools that participate in this program. It pays each student who scores a 3 or above (high enough to earn college credit) on the math or science A.P. exam $100.

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.

Why do AP exams cost so much? ›

“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.”

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 many AP tests do I need to take? ›

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.

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.

Is it OK to 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.

Do AP graders get paid? ›

All readers receive compensation for their work during the AP Reading.

How can I get free AP exams? ›

You'll apply for the AP Exam fee waiver through your school counselor. Based on your eligibility, your counselor will enter in their AP Coordinators' Portal whether you're eligible for fee reduction or not.

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%.

How many kids get 5 on AP Exams? ›

For juniors and seniors, the average amount of 5s increases slightly to around 14.5%, while the average amount of 4s increases to 19.6%. These 1- and 2-percent increases may not seem like much. However, over three times as many students take AP exams when they are in their last years of high school than before.

Can I get into an Ivy League with a 4 on an AP exam? ›

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 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

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.

Does it matter if you get a 4 or 5 on AP Exam? ›

AP tests are scored on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high). Get a 4 or higher, and you may be able to earn college credit without paying college tuition!

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.

Can you get a 100 on an AP test? ›

While you may be used to a percentage or 100 point grading system, AP exams are scored on a very unique scale. The highest possible score on an AP exam is a 5, and the lowest score is a 1.

Is AP score of 3 good? ›

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.

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 exams 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.

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.

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

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.

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...
9 more rows

What if I 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.

Is a 70 a passing grade in an AP class? ›

The average passing rate in AP is 60-70%.


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