If you’ve taken an AP exam recently or plan to take one soon, you’re probably wondering:
when do AP scores come out?
Unfortunately, you have to wait a bit longer for AP scores than you do for SAT/ACT scores.
Keep reading to find out exactly when AP exam scores come out. In addition, learn where to find your AP scores and get tips on what you can do as you wait for them.
2021 AP Test Changes Due to COVID-19
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, AP tests will now be held over several different sessions between May and June.
Your test dates, and whether or not your tests will be online or on paper, will depend on your school. To learn more about how all of this is going to work and get the latest information on test dates, AP online review, and what these changes means for you, be sure to check out
our 2021 AP COVID-19 FAQ article
AP Score Release Dates for 2021
In normal years, AP scores are released
each year in early to mid-July
Each student would receive all their test scores at once, but score releases were rolled out over a few days. AP scores are typically released by rough
For example, in 2016 all the states on the east coast got their scores first, whereas those in the northwest got theirs last.
However, because of the pandemic and the resulting changes made to the AP testing schedule, AP scores releases are slightly different this year.
The date you receive your AP scores will be based on
when you took the exams
Exams are spread across four administrations, the first two in May, and the second two in June.
Here are when 2021 AP scores will be released:
Date You Took the Exam
Score Release Date
|Starting Wednesday, July 21 at 7 a.m. ET.|
(Administrations 3 and 4)
|By Monday, August 16|
Note two key words:
For the first two administrations, scores are released
July 21, so score releases may be staggered over several days the way they typically are. For administrations 3 and 4, the College Board states scores will be released
August 16, so you may get them slightly earlier. Exact release times appear to still be slightly up in the air, but this info gives you a good estimate of when to expect your 2021 AP scores.
Learn more about the 2021 score release schedule at
the College Board website
How Do I Get My AP Scores?
AP scores are posted online on the
AP student website
. You’ll be able to access them through your College Board account, so make sure you have your username and password on hand.
You’ll also need
your AP number
the student ID number you used on your AP answer sheet.
AP scores are
available online—you won’t get a letter or score report in the mail. (Back when I was in high school, though, and as recently as 2013, scores were
mailed and usually arrived in mid-July. You should be excited about the online score system since it’s much faster!)
One of the single most important parts of your college application is what classes you choose to take in high school (in conjunction with how well you do in those classes).
Our team of PrepScholar admissions experts have compiled their knowledge into this single guide to planning out your high school course schedule.
We’ll advise you on how to balance your schedule between regular and honors/AP/IB courses, how to choose your extracurriculars, and what classes you can’t afford not to take.
Why Does It Take So Long to Grade AP Tests?
While the fact that AP scores come out online saves some time, why does it take the College Board two months to grade AP exams when you can get your SAT scores after just a few weeks?
The reason for this is that
it takes a long time to grade free-response questions.
Although the multiple-choice sections are graded by a computer, free responses aren’t graded until the
annual AP Reading conference in June
. (Graders will work from home this year due to the coronavirus.)
This event is basically a huge conference where thousands of high school teachers and professors gather to grade all the free-response sections on AP tests. The AP Reading usually lasts
about two weeks.
Since it doesn’t start until June (to accommodate teachers’ and professors’ schedules), this makes the AP scoring process take longer.
This is an actual picture from the 2013 Reading conference for AP Studio Art. Each portfolio is looked at by more than seven graders!
Read more here if you’re curious
about what happens during grading.
Once the conference is done, the College Board must work quickly to
combine the free-response scores with the multiple-choice scores;
this process involves weighing and then scaling them to the
final 1-5 scoring scale
. Readers have just
to do all of this before final AP scores are posted online in July.
Even though the entire scoring process takes two months, it’s actually quite a feat for more than four million AP exams to be graded by
every single year!
Still Waiting for AP Scores? What to Do in the Meantime
Since there’s no way to see your AP scores before they’re posted online, you’ll have to be patient and find a way to occupy yourself in the meantime.
AP exams typically end in May
(though they extended into June in 2020 and 2021), but because most school years last until late May or June, try to
finish the school year strong.
Your GPA is
important in college admissions
, so use your time (now that the AP tests are over!) to maximize your grades, especially in your AP classes.
Additionally, since you’ll likely be taking
around this time, make sure to
study hard for these
so that you can walk away from the class with a grade you’re proud of. Finals often count for a big percentage of your overall class grade, so don’t put off studying for them!
If you’re a freshman or sophomore, you might want to
use this time to jumpstart your ACT or SAT prep
It might seem early, but the earlier in your career you begin studying for these tests, the more familiar you’ll become with them (and the better you’re likely to do).
If you’re a junior, you’ve hopefully already taken the SAT/ACT at least once.
However, if you haven’t, definitely use the time
your AP test to study for one.
If you’ve already taken the SAT/ACT but plan to
retake the test
, try to dive into your studies once you’re done with AP tests.
If you’re a senior, you’ll likely have already gotten your college decisions by the time AP tests are done, so finish the year strong and enjoy graduation!
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!
What to Do After You Get Your AP Scores
If you’ve passed your AP exams,
start exploring the College Board’s college database
where you can get credit for your scores.
You can also
read about the College Board’s score reporting service
and begin thinking more about the
college application process
(if you’re a junior).
It won’t be too long until you’ll be filling this out for the first time. Start researching your options now!
On the other hand, if you
pass an AP test, you might want to
consider retaking the exam next year, especially if it’s a course you want to get college credit for.
Talk to your guidance counselor and/or AP teacher to discuss your options.
check back online in August to see if you qualified for any of the
AP Student awards
These are basically awards you get if you earn a certain number of passing scores on the AP tests. If you win an award, it will be included on any score reports you send to colleges. Nice!
Above, we mentioned using your time after APs are over to
jumpstart your SAT/ACT studying.
Here are some of our best resources you can use:
Develop an SAT/ACT studying timeline
maximize your score
to improve your scores on
, and the
the most common ACT mistake
and get tips on
how to write a perfect essay
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the ACT, for free online
Use your dream schools to
come up with
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