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AP Exam: An Introduction

The AP exam is the Advanced Placement exam given by high school students to take college level courses and exams and who want to learn and achieve at the highest level. It's a unique learning experience that helps them to succeed in college. With this exam one can earn college credit and advanced placement, stand out in the admissions process, and learn from some of the most skilled, dedicated, and inspiring teachers in the world. This exam does not require students to take an AP course before taking an AP exam. One may repeat an exam in a subsequent year. In such cases, both grades will be reported unless student requests to withhold or cancel one of the two.

There are more than 30 AP courses currently available in a wide variety of subject areas. Each AP course covers the material found in the corresponding college course and each AP course has a corresponding exam. Here is the list of available courses in this exam:

Art History Comp Government & Politics
Biology U.S. Government & Politics
Calculus AB Human Geography
Calculus BC Italian Language and Culture
Chemistry Japanese Language and Culture
Chinese Language and Culture Latin Literature
Computer Science A Latin: Vergil
Computer Science AB Music Theory
Macroeconomics Physics B
Microeconomics Physics C
English Language Psychology
English Literature Spanish Language
Environmental Science Spanish Literature
European History Statistics
French Language Studio Art
French Literature U.S. History
German Language World History

This course has received recognition by more than 90% of colleges in the United States and colleges in more than 60 other countries, which grant credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of AP exam grades. It improves the writing skills of the student & sharpens their problem solving techniques.

AP Exam: Key Features

  • Exam Combinations

One may take as many AP Exams as he/she wants, in any combination, but he/she may not take both Calculus AB and Calculus BC in one year. All Exams are ordered and paid for separately.

  • Benefits for Students with Disabilities

If anyone has a documented disability, he/she may be eligible for accommodations on the AP Exams. These AP accommodations include:

  • Extended time
  • Large-type Exams
  • Braille
  • Large-block answer sheets
  • Permission to use a Braille device, computer, or magnifying device
  • A reader to dictate questions
  • A writer to record responses
  • A written copy of oral instructions
  • Other accommodations.

To request accommodations, he/she has to approach school's Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Coordinator who will submit an SSD Eligibility Form for him/her. The school must have copies of this form.

One form authorizes testing accommodations across College Board programs (AP, PSAT/NMSQT®, and SAT®), so if anyone has already received College Board-approved accommodations on any of these tests, he/she does not need to submit a new form. She/he will only need to submit Section I of a new Eligibility Form if she/he changes schools. If she/he needs different accommodations, her/his school's SSD Coordinator must submit an Accommodations Change Form for her/him.


Test Dates 2009-10 Last day to submit complete disability documentation, AP Exam (School Verification Process) Last day to submit complete student Eligibility Form, AP Exam (Documentation Review)
May 3-7, 10-14 March 5 February 19

The Documentation Review process is only for students who are requesting accommodations not currently supported in school.

  • Registering AP Courses

It is easy to enroll in an AP course. One needs to talk to an AP teacher or the AP Coordinator of the school about the course he/she wants to take. And if one is a homeschooled student or attend a school that doesn't offer AP, he/she can still participate. A huge participation is received from students enrolled into independent study. Sponsorship of AP courses is provided by some states.

Calendar & Fees

Although a lot of attention is given to the AP Exam, the AP experience really begins a whole year before then. A usual school year is marked with following checkpoints:

Relevant Course Calendar for AP 2009 Exam
July 1, 2009 Grades by Phone available for current year's administration
September Schools and students are notified about Scholar Award and International Diploma
September 14, 2009 Deadline for ordering strong>Free-response booklets.
October 31, 2009 Deadline for requesting Multiple-Choice Rescore Service

AP 2010 Exam Calendar - Week 1
 Morning - 8 a.m.Afternoon - 12
Monday, May 3 United States Government and Politics Comparative Government and Politics
French Language
Tuesday, May 4 Computer Science A
Computer Science AB
Spanish Language
Wednesday, May 5 Calculus AB
Calculus BC
Chinese Language and Culture
Thursday, May 6 English Literature and Composition
German Language
French Literature
JAPanese Language and Culture
Friday, May 7 United States History European History
Studio Art (portfolios due)
AP 2010 Exam Calendar - Week 2
 Morning - 8 a.m.Afternoon - 12 Afternoon - 2 P.M
Monday, May 10 Biology
Music Theory
Physics B
Physics C: Mechanics
Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
Tuesday, May 11 Chemistry
Environmental Science
Wednesday, May 12 English Language and Composition
Italian Language and Culture
Art History  
Thursday, May 13 Macroeconomics
World History
Friday, May 14 Human Geography
Spanish Literature
Latin Literature
Latin: Vergil


AP exam can be taken for $86.

If anyone opts for late testing, schools may charge an additional fee, part or all of which the school may ask the students to pay. And if it is a testing at different school then there may be a different fee to recover the additional proctoring and administration costs.

Fees for other services are given in the table:-

Grade Reporting Services
Initial Grade ReportFree
Grades by Phone $8 per call
Additional Grade Reports $15 per report
Rush Grade Reports $25 per report
Free-Response Booklets $7 per booklet
Multiple-Choice Rescore Service $25 per exam
Grade Withholding $10 per grade/per college
Grade Cancellation None

Fee Reductions

In case of financial need, College Board offers fee reduction of $22 per exam and if schools also forgo their $8 rebate for each fee-reduced exam, then the final fee is $56 per exam. In addition, subsidies are offered by almost all states to account for complete or part of cost for eligible students.


One may ask for a refund if he does not begin an exam for which he has paid. It is the local school policy that determines the amount of refund but there is a deduction of $13 that school charges for unused exam.