Total Score On Ap Exams Including Essay

Are you looking at AP courses and wondering what the average score is on the AP World History Exam? Maybe you are sitting in your AP World History class now and wondering if you could be one of the students who will get a five on the exam. Or perhaps you have just taken the test and are curious to see how you may stack up against others who have taken the exam. Whatever the reason you are reading this article, your ultimate goal is to pass the exam and earn college credit.

This post will take an in-depth look at the AP World History exam process, let you know how others fared on the AP World History Exam, and explain what a good score means to you and your future academic goals.

Let’s start by seeing how others have done on past AP World History exams. This will give you a peek into how hard the test was in past years, what percentage of students passed the exam with a three or better, and hopefully give you some insight into what chance you have of getting one of those fours or fives that will help you achieve your academic goals.

Take a look at the chart below to see how students performed on the AP World History Exam from 2011 – 2016 using the CollegeBoard’s historical performance data and score trends.

Student Performance on AP World History Exam – 2011 – 2106
Pass % (3 or higher)48.4%53.1%48.9%54.5%52.1%51.6%
# of Students188,417210,805230,107245,699265,308285,351


What can you take from this chart that can help you answer some of your questions about the AP World History Exam? To start, you can see that the number of fives has ranged from a low of 5.9% in 2013 and a high of 9.5% in 2011. The mean score for the exams has remained steady as well, except for the low mean scores in 2011 and 2013. We will see later why the scores from the 2011 exam may have been statistically higher than other years.

As you can see, the AP World History exam is a challenging exam where nearly half of all students who take the exam do not pass the exam. In fact, only two other AP exams have a lower passing percentage. But don’t let that scare you! Albert has all the tools you need to help you get that passing score you are looking for. We can help put you on the right track with tips on passing the AP World History exam.

Odd Trends

You may wonder why the number of students receiving a five on the AP World History exam dropped significantly from 2011 to 2012. The 2012 exam began to assess student proficiency in six chronological periods AP World History key concepts, course themes, and historical thinking skills. There was another significant drop in fours and fives in 2013, and the percentage of students passing the exam fell to its lowest level in six years. That further drop could still be attributed to the redesigned exam.

Since AP courses and exams are designed to be equal with college-level courses, you do need to put in the time and effort to succeed. The average AP World History score is not the whole story. Your strengths and weakness will play a big part in how well you do on the exam.

What’s a Good Score on the AP World History Exam?

AP exams use a 1 – 5 grading scale. Even though there is a standard score for all AP exams, courses do have different passing rates. For example, earning a five on the AP World History Exam (6.6% of students received a five in 2016) can be viewed in a different light than a five on the AP Chinese Language exam (93.7% of students earned a five in 2016). That does not necessarily mean that the AP World History exam is hard and the AP Chinese Language Exam is easy. You have to look at the number of students who took the exam, their proficiency, and their background going into the exam to see the big picture.

Other factors play a big part in what is considered a good score on the AP World History Exam. One of those factors is what score will get you college credit at the school you want to attend. Those standards are set by the CollegeBoard and the educational institution. To help you evaluate your desires and standing, you must understand AP test scores through four criteria:

1. CollegeBoard Score Definitions

Let’s begin by looking at the CollegeBoard scoring standards so we can understand the difference between AP scores. The Board provides a definition for each of the five scores based on how qualified you are to earn college credit.

One – This is the lowest score on an AP exam and reflects little knowledge of the material, little to no preparation, or perhaps you had complications during the examination itself. The Board offers “no recommendation” on this score and no college will accept an AP score of one.

Two – This score is below pass mark but shows potential to pass a college Human Geography course of similar design and content – but doesn’t get you college credit. Again, a possible bad test-day may explain this score for some. The Board places a value of “possibly qualified” to pass a college course of the same level on this score.

Three – This is the most common score on AP exams as a whole. A score of three moves you to the “qualified” bar, which reflects both your adequate understanding of the course materials and your average chances for passing a similar college course. A three gets you college credit at many colleges.

Four – A four indicates hard study, a good understanding of the course, and high performance on the exam. This score may also show strong essay writing and good multiple-choice answering skills. The CollegeBoard deems you “well qualified,” translating to a B grade.

Five – You aced the exam and earned the highest score! This score means you are “extremely qualified,” and all colleges will give you credit for your AP World History course.

2. Relative to other Test Takers

To give you a perspective of where you fit with other test takers, you can compare your score with their scores in a particular year. For example, if you were among the 29.4% of the 285,531 who earned a three on the 2016 exam, you would be in the group of only half of those who took the exam to pass and should feel good about that. It is not possible to determine exactly why only about 50% of students who take the AP World History Exam pass, but the best-proven method of getting a good score is through your efforts and time spent in preparing for the exam and not the difficulty of the exam.

3. Based on College Credit Acceptance

Your score as a pathway to college credits depends on the college you plan on attending and your desired major. Some colleges accept only AP scores of four and five while others give credit for scores of three and higher. Each institution, and sometimes each department of a school, deal with AP scores differently. That means that an AP score of four may be good enough in the history department for credit but not so in the political science department.

For example, the Texas Tech University in Lubbock accepts an AP World History exam score of three and awards you three college credits applied to the freshman level history course. However, if you want to go to the University of Iowa, you will need to earn a four to get the same three college credits. Depending on your major, AP World History may count towards your major or towards the general education requirements for your degree.

Not all institutions accept a three on the AP World History exam for credit, but more elite colleges take fours at a minimum, and fives earn credit at almost any college or university. So you can see that your school choice counts critically in your assessment. Check the AP credit database to find out the criteria for AP scores for your dream school.

4. Based on Helpfulness in College Applications

Having AP exam fours and fives look great on your college application and are likely to attract the attention to college admissions officers. Having said that, passing the AP World History Exam looks great on your high school transcript regardless of your score. Passing AP courses show your ability to complete college-level coursework which you learned well enough to pass the class. Don’t forget the AP Scholar award that is given to high scorers on multiple AP exams. This will certainly stand out on your college application.

How is the AP World History Exam Graded?

The AP World History Exam contains two parts that will allow the AP graders to assess your knowledge of the historical content contained in the AP World History course. You will have to use the historical thinking skills that you developed in the course to successfully navigate both parts of the exam. Your performance on the exam will be compiled and weighted to determine your AP Exam score (1 to 5).

SectionQuestions Type# of QuestionsTiming% of Total Exam Score
IPart A: Multiple Choice

– Questions appear in sets of 2 to 5

– You will analyze historical texts, interpretations, and evidence

– Primary and secondary sources, images, graphs, and maps are included

5555 minutes40%
Part B: Short-Answer Questions (SAQs)

– Questions provide opportunities for you to explain the historical examples that you know best

– Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps

440 minutes20%
IIPart A: Document-Based Question (DBQ)

– You will Analyze and synthesize historical data

– You will assess written, quantitative, or visual materials as historical evidence

155 Minutes (includes 15-minute reading period)25%
Part B: Long Essay Question (LEQ)

– You can select one question among the two given

– You will explain and analyze significant issues in world history

– You will develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence

1 (chosen from a pair)35 minutes15%

The first part of the exam (Section I, Part A) consists of multiple-choice questions that will test your content knowledge by analyzing and interpreting primary and secondary sources. Section I also contains a series of short answer questions (Part B) and will address one or more of the course themes.

The second part of the AP World History Exam contains the document-based question (DBQ) and long essay questions (LEQ). These questions will ask you to demonstrate historical content knowledge and thinking skills through written responses. It may be helpful for you to go back and review the scoring rubrics. The rubrics are a great way to see how the CollegeBoard grades your essay questions. All written parts of the exam (SAQs, DBQ, and LEQ) make up the general concept of the AP World History Free Response Questions (FRQs).

Multiple-Choice Questions

You are given 55 minutes to answer 55 multiple choice questions, so use your time wisely. The questions are divided into sets of two to five questions. Your score on the multiple-choice questions is based on the total number of questions you answered correctly. If you do not know the answer, you should definitely take a guess because there is no penalty for guessing.

Short-Answer Questions (four questions)

SAQs will address one or more themes of the course. You will have to use your historical thinking skills to respond to primary and secondary sources, a historian’s argument, non-textual sources (maps or charts), or general suggestions about world history. Each question will ask you to identify and explore examples of historical evidence relevant to the source or question.

Scoring – you will receive 0 – 3 points for each of the four SAQs. Most of the questions will have you provide examples of historical evidence related to the question. You are not expected to develop a thesis in the SAQs. Your score will depend on if you accomplished none or all of the tasks set out by the question.

Document-Based Question (one question)

The DBQ measures your ability to analyze and integrate historical data and to assess verbal, quantitative, or visual evidence. Your responses will be judged on your ability to formulate a thesis and back it up with relevant evidence. The documents included in the DBQ can vary in length and format, and the question content can include charts, graphs, cartoons, and pictures, as well as written materials.

You are expected to be able to assess the value of different kinds of documents, and you’ll be required to relate the material to a historical period or theme, thus focusing on major periods and issues. Therefore, it is crucial to have knowledge beyond the particular focus of the question and to incorporate it into your essay to get the highest score.

Scoring – you will receive a maximum of 7 points for the DBQ. Each point is earned independently, and unique evidence is required for you to earn each point.

Long Essay Question (one, chosen from a pair)

You are given a chance to show what you know best on the LEQs by having a choice between two long essay options. The LEQs will measure how you use your historical thinking skills to explain and analyze significant issues in the World History themes from the course. Your essays must include a central issue or argument that you need to support by evaluating specific and relevant historical evidence. You’ll be using specific in-depth examples of large-scale events taken from the course or classroom discussion.

Scoring – there is a maximum of 6 points available for the LEQ. The same method of scoring that was used for the DBQ applies for the LEQ as well. Each point is earned independently and the evidence you present must be targeted to the historical thinking skills that the AP graders are looking for in your essay.

Want to know how to get the maximum points on the AP World History FRQs? Read How to Approach AP World History Free-Response Questions.

Historical Thinking Skills

You may have noticed that we have mentioned historical thinking skills a few times. The AP World History exam FRQs are graded using rubrics designed around those skills. Read The 5 Most Important Thinking Skills for the AP World History Test to get a targeted review of the most important of those thinking skills.

What’s the Best Way to Prepare for the AP World History Exam?

Have a Study Plan

Studying for the AP World History Exam can seem overwhelming because of the sheer volume of the material covered in the course. You should figure out how you learn best and execute that plan from the start. This study plan should begin in the fall and take you all the way up to the exam in May.

One way is to study what you learned last and work your way back to the beginning. You may learn best chronologically so you might want to take the approach of studying from the beginning to the most recent material covered. All of these methods have merit, but you will have to determine what approach works for your learning style and helps you feel prepared for the exam.

Know what will be on the Exam

The next step to preparing for AP World History Exam is to make sure you have a list of all of the key concepts from the nine historical periods covered in the class. These concepts are found in the AP World History Course and Exam Description. You should review the course and honestly assess your comfort level with each of the key concepts. This will give you a realistic picture of your strengths and weakness, so you know where to put your efforts in your AP World History study plan.

See what has been Tested on in the Past

The third tip for getting ready for the AP World History exam is to research what the CollegeBoard has emphasized on previous exams. The AP World History Exam Page lets you go back and see all of the past free-response questions as well as scoring guidelines, sample responses and commentary, and score distributions. You can use these resources to assess your ability to answer AP World History free-response questions. Practice with actual test questions, compare your responses with student responses, and then find out what your score would be.

Explore all of Your Options

There are many online resources that you may use to supplement this guide on approaching the AP World History Exam. You can find helpful tips on all aspects of AP World History test prep. You will know going into your study plan what you will need the most help with so you can target your search to help you find ways to strengthen those areas and make sure that you are ready for the exam when May rolls around.

Do you have to have a book in your hand to learn and want to know what the best AP World History exam prep guide is? Albert has that resource too, read The Best AP World History Review Books of 2017.

The Way Forward

The more ways you can approach your exam preparation, the better. But the key is to have a study plan and stick to it. For the free-response questions, we can’t stress this enough – practice as much as you can because 60% of your total score comes from the FRQs. You will find that you will look forward to the time when you can sit down and take the AP World History exam with confidence to get the score that you dreamed of.

Looking for AP World History practice?

Kickstart your AP World History prep with Albert. Start your AP exam prep today.

2016 AP Exam Score Distributions

Total Registration has compiled the following scores from Tweets that the College Board's head of AP, Trevor Packer, has been making during June. These are preliminary breakdowns that may change slightly as late exams are scored.

Please Follow @totalreg as we Tweet every time this page is updated.
Please let others know about these AP Exam Score Distributions Tweet

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For the 2017 AP exams, TR is doing away with the student bubbling of the demographic information.Learn more and say "Goodbye to the B.S". In other words, no pre-admin sessions for schools using Total Registration.

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This table is sortable by clicking on the header

Trevor's Comments
Computer Science A20.7%20.4%23.2%12.5%23.2%June 24Once again, AP Computer Sci = the fastest growing of all AP courses this yr; great to see more schools providing this critical opportunity.
Students did quite well across all topics in the multiple-choice questions, esp. logic/software eng/recursion.
In order to get a 3+, students need to earn pts on the FRQs; students getting 1s/2s can’t do much w/these:…
5 students, out of ~50,000, earned perfect scores of 80/80 points possible, on this year’s AP Computer Science A Exam.
United States History11.7%17.9%22.5%23.4%24.5%June 21AP US History students/teachers have perhaps achieved biggest score increases of any subject so far this yr, also w/25K more students. Wow.
On this year’s APUSH DBQ question, ~6,000 students (out of 500,000) earned all 7 points possible; ~100,00 students earned 1/7 pts on it.
APUSH short answers: highest mean was Q3 (business leaders), and lowest mean was Q1 (immigration) – but similar results across all of them.
1 AP US History student, out of ~500,000, earned a perfect score of 130/130 pts; first time we have seen that achievement in many years.
Chemistry9.7%15.1%27.5%25.3%22.4%June 15Students have shown slightly stronger mastery of AP Chemistry this year than last year’s group did, increasing the % of 5s in particular.
Students generally scored best on Big Ideas 1&2, lowest on Big Idea 3 (transformation).
In the Free-Response section, AP Chemistry students performed best on Q5 (kinetics / gas laws: butadiene).
FRQ6 on equilibrium/stoichiometry (EDTA) stumped the majority of students; 73% earned 0 points on it:
European History7.9%16.2%29.5%34.2%12.2%June 23Since AP European History has a new exam this year, there's a detailed memo about results, posted for teachers here: (needs an AP European History Teacher Community login)
AP European History multiple-choice performance was solid, except on questions related to 1914-present.
Students found Q3 on the development of railroads very easy, many earning all points possible on it.
On the AP European History Bismarck DBQ, ~3% of students earned all 7/7 points possible; most frequent score: 1/7.
Environmental Science7.4%23%14.8%26%28.8%June 14AP Env Sci students generally scored very well across the MC section, esp on: population; energy resources & consumption; the living world.
Low performance on these AP Env Science FRQs, particularly 2 (iron) & 4 (soil), kept many students from earning 3+:
Human Geography11.9%20%19.8%19.2%29.1%June 14While AP Human Geo students generally scored lowest on MC questions on industrialization, they still scored well across the MC section.
Students generally scored best on FRQ3 (agriculture types); 7,000 students got all 7 pts on FRQ3:
Physics 14.3%13.6%21.3%30.7%30.1%June 15While the exam was challenging for many, AP Physics 1 scores improved over last year: an increase of 2.3% in scores of 3+ in North America.
The AP Physics data don't yet include international students, which typically boost AP Physics scores of 3+ by another % point or two.
Multiple-choice questions on Science Practice 5 (Data Analysis & Evaluation) posed the greatest challenge to students.
FRQ1 (rotation/forces) & Q5 (waves) scored lowest; half of students earned no more than 1 of 7 pts:
1 student, out of ~150,000 scored so far, earned a perfect score of 80/80 pts on this year’s exam. No student had yet done so.
Physics 28.5%16.7%34.3%32.3%8.2%June 15Despite a 25% growth in participation, AP Physics 2 scores increased significantly: scores of 3+ increased by 4.2 percentage pts over 2015.
Students scored very well on the MC questions, particularly on BI5 (conservation laws); least well on BI6 (wave models/apps).
Fairly low scores on the four AP Physics 2 FRQs: 25%, 42%, 29%, and 33% were the average pts earned, in that order:
Physics C Mech30.2%27.4%18.5%13.9%10%June 15Interesting pattern in AP Physics C: Mechanics this year: a shift in student performance to many more 5s, a few more 2s, & fewer 3s, 4s, 1s.
Students generally did very well on FRQ1 (Newton’s laws; kinematics), > than a fourth of them earning most of the pts.
Many AP Physics C Mech students struggled w/FRQ3 (rotation; energy; Newton’s laws), a third of them earning no more than 1 point.
1 student, out of 53,000, earned a perfect score of 90/90 pts on this year’s AP Physics C: Mechanics exam.
Physics C E&M32%22.6%13.5%19.3%12.6%June 16Usually, we don’t see so much score improvement from year to year; trend continues w/Physics C:E&M: a significant boost in %5s over 2015.
Scores were highest on this FRQ2 (circuits):
Students struggled with FRQ3 (magnetostatics), with 60% earning 3 or fewer pts (out of 15) on it.
1 student, out of 27,000, earned all 90/90 points possible on this year’s AP Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism exam.
Psychology19%26.1%19.1%14.2%21.6%June 20AP Psychology scores remained quite similar, even as 20,000 more students gained access worldwide, a testament to good teaching & learning
In the multiple-choice section, AP Psychology students earned highest means on social/developmental psych, lowest on abnormal behavior.
Students fared much better on Q2 (learning/cognition) than Q1 (sensation/perception):
1 student, out of ~300,000 so far, has earned all 150/150 points on this year’s AP Psychology Exam. Can’t wait to find out who / where…
English Literature and Composition7.4%17.7%29.5%33.4%12%June 20This year’s AP English Literature performance was the lowest in the past 5 years, resulting in a decrease in scores of 3+ by ~2 % pts.
Students continue to find analyzing poetry more difficult than prose, in both the MC and FR sections of the exam.
In the FR section of the AP English Lit exam, the highest mean score was on Q2, the Hardy analysis; some very good work on this passage.
The most frequent score on all three of these AP English Lit essays was 4 out of 9 points possible:
English Language and Composition10.6%17.5%27.2%32.1%12.6%June 23AP English Lang is largest of all AP subjects; 23K more participated this yr, so it’s all the more impressive that there's a higher % of 5s
As is typical, AP English Lang students scored higher on 20th century prose than earlier prose passages.
1 student, out of ~550,000, achieved a perfect score of 150/150 points possible on this year’s AP English Language exam.
Of the 3 AP Eng Lang essays, students found the Thatcher analysis (FRQ2) just a bit more difficult than the others:
Macroeconomics16.1%23.4%16.2%17.5%26.8%June 10AP Macroeconomics continues to see score increases: the % of 3,4,5s is higher than 5 years ago & 50% more students are participating.
Students did extremely well on multiple-choice, esp on economic growth; most challenging were the financial sector questions.
More than a third of the students aced this FRQ3 on specialization & trade, earning all 5 pts possible: More than 40% of the students found FRQ2 on loans/demand deposits extremely difficult, earning 0 pts:
28 students worldwide (out of 135,000) earned all 90 points possible on this year’s AP Macroeconomics exam.
Microeconomics15.3%27.3%23%14.4%20%June 10Scores are generally lower this year than last, but still higher than 5 yrs ago when 50% fewer participated.
Students did quite well across multiple-choice questions; the most challenging were on firm behavior and market structure.
Scores were generally highest on FRQ2 (consumer choice) & lowest on FRQ3 (monopolistic competition):
47 students worldwide (out of 83,000) earned all 90 points possible on this year’s exam.
Spanish Literature8.7%24.3%36.7%22.6%7.7%June 23Weaker performance on the AP Spanish Literature Exam this year: a decline of ~4 percentage points in scores of 3+.
AP Spanish Literature multiple-choice: the most challenging for students were generally the critical commentary questions.
Students scored well on FRQ2, the text & art comparison:…
Students generally found FRQs 3 & 4 slightly more difficult than the rest of the exam.
World History6.5%15.5%29.2%28.9%19.9%June 17Another subject w/score gains this yr: AP World History. Increased % of 3s,4s, decreased % of 1s,2s. % of 5s virtually the same as last yr.
Students did well across the multiple-choice questions, finding period 5 (1750-1900) slightly more difficult than the rest.
On the AP World History Document-Based Question (DBQ), the average score was 2.96 out of 9 points possible.
Why not more 5s on AP World History? Students struggled with both the CCOT & Comparison essays, w/30% of students earning 0 points on them.
Calculus AB24.4%17.4%17.6%9.7%30.9%June 13These don't yet include the scores from outside North America.
The AP Calculus AB data are in: students demonstrated stronger skills this year than last, achieving a higher % of 3s, 4s, & especially 5s.
Among the AP Calc AB free-response questions, the highest mean score was on Q4 (slope field):
Many students struggled with Q2, 3, & esp 5 (modeling volume / related rates), w/31% earning 0 pts on it:
11 students, out of 310,000, earned perfect scores of 108/108 points on this year’s exam.
Calculus BC48.4%15.5%17.6%5.9%12.6%June 13These don’t yet include the scores from outside North America.
Congrats to AP Calculus BC teachers & students: the strongest performance in years, so a significant growth in the % of students earning 5s.
Lowest mean score on AP Calc BC: Q6 (Taylor series); many also found Q2 (parametric particle motion) tough:
2 students, out of 125,000, earned perfect scores of 108/108 points possible on this year’s AP Calculus BC Exam.
Statistics13.9%21.7%24.7%15.7%24%June 21Nice work: students taking AP Statistics this year demonstrated stronger mastery overall, so there’s a solid increase in the % earning 3+.
The questions on probability/simulation were the most challenging for many students. Most students got <5 of 10 right.
Similarly, the AP Statistics FRQ4 (probability/simulation) was most difficult, w/ ~half of students earning 0/4 pts:
The AP Statistics free-response questions’ mean/max scores: Q1: 43%, Q2: 31%; Q3: 39%; Q4: 25%; Q5: 32%; Q6: 40%.
1 student, out of ~200,000, has earned a perfect score of 100/100 points possible on this year’s AP Statistics exam.
Art History11.1%22.6%27.7%27.6%11.0%June 24Scores of 3+ on the redesigned AP Art History Exam are ~4 percentage pts higher than on the legacy exam; great work by teachers/students.
Multiple-choice: weakest scores on questions about art of indigenous Americas & Asia – more focus on those works needed.
Multiple-choice: strongest scores on questions about art of Africa & Later European/American.
Free-response: students scored very well on Q3 (Nimes attribution) & Q4 (Monet’s Saint-Lazare Station).
Toughest AP Art History free-response question for students was on relics from Conques / Cameroon:
I visited Conques last summer; people said many AP Art History teachers had visited in prep to add the great church/reliquary to the course.
Since this year’s AP Art History Exam is brand new, we’ve posted many details about the standards for teachers here:…
Chinese Language62.1%16.6%14.7%2.7%3.9%June 20AP Chinese continues to grow, following AP Spanish and AP French as the most commonly-taken AP world language.
This year, AP Chinese students scored well on the conversation task, and least well on the cultural presentation:
AP Chinese illustrates the fact that AP exams are not normed/curved; 93% scored 3+, since all students who earn the points get 3+.
In the multiple-choice section, AP Chinese students' highest scores were typically on the reading-based questions.
French Language17.3%26.5%32.6%18.7%4.9%June 23Yet another subject with score improvements this year: AP French Language & Culture teachers/students have achieved an increase in %4s/5s.
Students generally performed best on the presentational speaking (cultural comparison) section of the exam.
The most challenging section of the AP French Exam for many students was the spoken conversation in Part B:
German Language20.7%22.3%


20.9%9%June 23Bigger score declines in AP German than any subject so far this year – a large drop of 7 percentage points in scores of 3+.
That said, performance on AP German remains stronger than it is in most other AP subjects, as you can see from the score spread.
Where AP German students scored lowest this year: reading passages in the multiple-choice section.
Italian Language21.8%18.9%31%20.2%8.1%June 23Great work in AP Italian classrooms this year, with scores of 3+ jumping by nearly 7 percentage points, & participation grew by >10%!
Unsurprisingly, AP Italian students performed slightly better on reading-based questions than listening-based ones.
Students scored very well on FRQ1 (email chat), but many struggled w/the cultural presentation (FRQ4):
Japanese Language52.9%7.1%19.8%6.2%14%June 20Students demonstrated stronger proficiency in AP Japanese this year, so the % of 5s is growing significantly.
Once again, this “text chat” was the most difficult part of the AP Japanese Exam for many students:
AP Japanese students generally earned highest scores in the free-response section on the cultural presentation:
Spanish Language28%34.8%26.9%9.1%1.2%June 23Large expansion of AP Spanish Lang students this yr: scores remained stable in comparison to last yr when 20K fewer students participated.
AP Spanish Lang students earned very high scores on the email reply task, FRQ1:
The most challenging task for AP Spanish Lang students on this year’s exam was FRQ3, the spoken conversation.
Biology6.3%20.6%33.6%29.2%10.3%June 23Good predictor of whether you scored high on this year’s AP Bio exam is how well you did on Q4 (gene expression):
AP Biology multiple-choice: students scored very well on Big Idea 2 (cellular processes), and least well on Science Prac 2 (using math).
AP Biology grid-ins that require mathematical calculation: students performed quite poorly: more than 50% earned 0 or 1 pt out of 5.
AP Biology free-response: best performance was on Q1 (allele frequencies), followed by Q5 (obligate mutualism).
Ppoor performance on Q7 (chromosomal inheritance; ~66% earned 0 pts) & Q8 (effect of exercise; ~50% earned 0 pts).
Music Theory18.1%17.2%24.2%26%14.5%June 24Lower levels of mastery demonstrated in AP Music Theory this year, reducing the percentage earning 3+ by about 2 % points.
Multiple-choice: students generally scored better on questions without aural stimulus than those with aural stimulus.
students generally scored best on FRQ5: partwriting from a figured bass:
By far the most difficult question for AP Music Theory students was FRQ2 (melodic dictation), ~60% earned 0-2 out of 9 points on it.
US Government & Politics12.4%13.5%25%24%25.1%June 16Last year, 3 students earned perfect scores of 120/120 points possible on the AP US Government & Politics exam; this year, 25 students have!
Students scored very well on FRQ4 re: the Constitution and FRQ1 re: linkage institutions.
By far the most difficult question on AP US Govt was FRQ2 (demographic changes); 27% of students scored 0 on it:
Comparative Government and Politics20.6%21.2%20.4%21.5%16.3%June 16The biggest score increases of any subject so far this year: AP Comparative Government, jumping from 15% 5s in 2015 to 20% 5s this year.
AP Comp Govt students scored very well on FRQs 3 (correlation/causation) & 6 (authoritarian/democratic regimes):
Only exceptions to otherwise stellar work on AP Comparative Govt: nearly half bombed FRQ2 (Russian protests) & 4 (China’s 1-child policy).
I can't single out a favorite among the 38 AP courses, but AP Comp Govt is definitely Top 10 for me. Great to see such results this year! Of the 6 countries in AP Comp Gov (Britain, China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia), I’m curious which teachers/students most enjoy studying.
Latin12.8%20.7%32.2%23.1%11.2%June 23Stronger performance in AP Latin this year – a 4 point bump in the % of scores earning 3+.
AP Latin multiple-choice: students performed best on the syllabus reading from Caesar, and least well on the Caesar sight reading.
AP Latin free-response: good performance on all questions, especially Q3, the analytical essay on Neptune/Iarbas:
1 student, out of ~6,500, earned a perfect score of 100/100 points possible on the AP Latin Exam this year.
Studio Art Drawing16.8%27.2%38.9%14.7%2.4%June 17Across the various AP Studio Art portfolio types, students achieved solid increases in the % of portfolios earning scores of 3+ this year.
Perfect scores of 72/72 points for 21 students in Drawing.
We’ll be posting sample AP Studio Art portfolios here – you can check out recent years’ samples now:
Studio Art 2D Design14.3%33%35.1%15.4%2.2%June 17Across the various AP Studio Art portfolio types, students achieved solid increases in the % of portfolios earning scores of 3+ this year.
Perfect scores of 72/72 points for 5 students in 2D Design
We’ll be posting sample AP Studio Art portfolios here – you can check out recent years’ samples now:
Studio Art 3D Design13.2%25.8%35.7%22.3%3%June 17

Across the various AP Studio Art portfolio types, students achieved solid increases in the % of portfolios earning scores of 3+ this year.
Perfect scores of 72/72 points for 2 students in 3D Design
We’ll be posting sample AP Studio Art portfolios here – you can check out recent years’ samples now:

AP Seminar6.6%12.8%53.7%21.6%5.3%June 231 student earned a perfect score of 246/246 pts across all the AP Seminar tasks: individual & team projects/presentations, essay, exam.
Scores are both up and down from last year: increases in 4s, 5s, and 1s.
Students are ninjas of argument, with 50% earning all 6/6 points on Q2, which required them to identify claims and connections.
The most challenging task for AP Seminar students: Section II: synthesizing evidence to create an argument:
AP Research11.7%16.3%39.7%30.7%1.6%June 23This year, ~2,700 students were the first to take the brand new AP Capstone Research course, developed at the request of college admissions.
The AP Research score is based on an academic paper, presentation, and oral defense. Here are the details:
Students did some amazing AP Research work this yr: creating a prosthetic hand for an Iraqi vet, internet access for Syrian refugees, etc.
38 students achieved perfect scores of 80/80 on their AP Research academic paper, presentation, and oral defense.

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