AP Advanced Placement

Discover Your Strategies > The Tools for Earning Credit Independently > Credit by Examination

Although AP is probably the best known of the Credit by Examination services, they are a little more cumbersome to take for independent students. For anyone in high school where AP is offered, they are a great and widely-accepted way to earn college credit early. However, for the student not taking the full course at a high school, the exams are only offered once a year on those high school campuses along with the students who went through the course. The course itself is not required. Credit comes only from the final exams. Some states are also now working collaboratively with school districts to offer online programs as well.

AP exams are administered by the College Board, a non-profit organization based in New York City. They began the AP program in 1955 and now also administer CLEP and the SAT college entrance exam. AP was developed as a cooperative program, giving students the opportunity to take college-level courses in the high school setting. Today, the majority of U.S. high schools have AP programs and over three million examinations have been administered.

The College Board website contains specific information about each test. It has information on textbooks, course topics and concepts as well as examples of multiple choice and free response questions.

Below are the current exams available in 2011, as well as the 2010 rates for students scoring a 3 or higher.

Test prep guides and website resources are plentiful for the AP and many also contain practice tests. Some of the more popular resources include REA, Barron’s, Spark Notes, Course Notes, and AP Study Notes.

The most popular AP exams are:

  1. U.S. History
  2. English Literature and Composition
  3. English Language and Composition
  4. Calculus (AB)
  5. U.S. Government and Politics
  6. Biology
  7. Psychology
  8. World History
  9. Statistics
  10. Spanish Language




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