Higher Education Support – AP Central (2024)

Offer AP Capstone at Your School

Higher Education’s Push for AP Capstone™

The AP Capstone Diploma™ program was created in response to college admissions leaders’ request for AP courses that would help students develop skills of collaboration, academic research, writing, and presentation. Because there are many other AP courses widely used for college credit—from Biology to U.S. History—admissions leaders wanted AP Capstone courses—AP Seminar and AP Research—to focus purely on skills needed in every college major, not the content of one specific college class. Accordingly, colleges and universities typically award college credit for AP Seminar and AP Research scores, most often as a general elective credit.

AP Seminar and AP Research are the ideal booster of subsequent AP scores and a powerful indicator of college readiness on a student’s transcript. Research has found that students who take AP Seminar and AP Research are more likely to persist in college and earn higher first-year college GPAs.

Find Colleges and Universities That Grant Credit for AP Seminar and AP Research

The AP Capstone Diploma is increasingly recognized in admissions by higher education institutions around the world. Many colleges and universities offer credit and/or placement for a qualifying score in AP Seminar, AP Research, or both. Use the credit policy search tool on our AP Students site to find them:

For Higher Education Professionals

See how your institution can develop credit and placement policies for AP Seminar and AP Research.

Also, view recent samples of student work on theAP Seminarand AP Researchassessment pages.

Common Application and Coalition Application

The Common Application and Coalition Application forms now include the AP Capstone Diploma Candidate distinction. Counselors can identify AP Capstone Diploma candidates on the counselor form, and eligible students should continue to self-identify as AP Capstone Diploma candidates in the “Honors and Distinctions” section. Colleges and universities that use these forms can quickly see AP Capstone students among their applicants.

What College Faculty and Admission Officers Are Saying

"[Through this program] you get students turned on to higher education in a way they are not currently and they enter university with a different kind of attitude."
— Susan Roth, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, Duke University

"The AP Capstone program will help students to develop critical thinking skills that allow them to think independently, to analyze issues from different perspectives, to communicate clearly, and to conduct independent research. These are exactly the types of skills that they will be expected to utilize in college, and the AP Capstone program will give them a terrific head start."
— Zina L. Evans, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Associate Provost, University of Florida

"The ability to guide the student toward understanding where a research method is valid needs to be explicitly taught."
— Ellen Woods, Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Director of Thinking Matters, Stanford University

"AP Capstone provides more of the learning students will need for success in college and beyond. . . . We want them to come in ready to analyze issues from multiple perspectives, integrating disparate ideas and comfortable with innovation, so they can make real contributions when they get here."
— Ken O’Donnell, Senior Director, Student Engagement, California State University, Office of the Chancellor

Offer AP Capstone at Your School

Higher Education Support – AP Central (2024)


How do I get AP test answers? ›

If you've taken an AP Exam and want to review your answers to the free-response section, you can ask us to send your free-response booklet to you for a fee of $10 per available booklet. Fill out the Free-Response Booklet Request Form and return it by September 15 of the year you took the AP Exam(s).

Do colleges care about AP Capstone? ›

The AP Capstone Diploma is increasingly recognized in admissions by higher education institutions around the world. Many colleges and universities offer credit and/or placement for a qualifying score in AP Seminar, AP Research, or both.

Does AP Seminar count as college credit? ›

Currently, more than 400 schools award credit for AP Seminar or AP Research. The University of Florida, for example, awards three credits for a score of 4 or 5 on AP Seminar or AP Research. Visit the official webpage of each of your prospective colleges to receive more specific information on their credit policies.

Are AP classes as hard as college? ›

In general, all AP classes are challenging and the exams are difficult, since they're meant to be at the same level of an introductory college class. That said, we'll explore some factors that could make an AP class and test harder or easier.

What is a 70 percent 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.

How hard is it to get a 1 on an AP Exam? ›

AP Score of 1

The lowest possible score you can get on an AP exam, a 1 indicates that students were completely unfamiliar with the material. No U.S. colleges currently offer college credit for a score of 1. In some exams, earning a 1 is extremely rare, like in AP Studio Art, where only 1.1% of students earn a 1.

Which AP tests are the hardest? ›

United States History, Biology, English Literature, Calculus BC, Physics C, and Chemistry are often named as the hardest AP classes and tests. These classes have large curriculums, tough tests, and conceptually difficult material.

Does Harvard recognize AP Capstone? ›

Credit toward graduation is granted for Advanced Placement examinations only if the student activates Advanced Standing, but advanced placement work is acknowledged in a variety of other ways.

What colleges don t accept AP Capstone? ›

Nine schools give students no credit for AP work. These institutions include some of the top schools in the country: Dartmouth University, Brown University, the California Institute of Technology, Williams College, and Amherst College.

How many APS should I take for Ivy League? ›

For students aiming for the Ivy League and Top 20 schools in the United States, a good target is to take (and pass) 10-14 AP classes throughout your high school career — or 3-4 each year.

How valuable is AP Capstone? ›

Participating in AP Capstone Can Help Students:

Become self-confident, independent thinkers and problem solvers. Earn college credit: Many colleges offer credit for qualifying scores.

What is the least hardest AP class? ›

What Are the Easiest AP Classes?
  • Drawing: 88.3%
  • Chinese Language (total group): 86.9%
  • 2D Art and Design: 86.6%
  • Research: 82.7%
  • Seminar: 82.6%
  • Spanish Language (total group): 81.7%
  • Spanish Language (standard group): 78.4%
  • English Literature: 77.9%
Apr 28, 2023

What is the easiest AP class? ›

Easiest AP exams by pass rate
  • AP Art & Design: Drawing.
  • AP Art & Design: 2-D.
  • AP Calculus BC.
  • AP Chinese Language.
  • AP English Literature.
  • AP French Language.
  • AP Government & Politics.
  • AP Italian Language.
Jan 13, 2023

What GPA is an A in an AP class? ›

Many schools treat AP classes differently when calculating a student's grade point average (GPA). Rather than the traditional 4.0 scale, AP classes are weighted on a 5.0 scale — in an AP class, an A is equivalent to 5.0 instead of 4.0, and a B is equal to 4.0 instead of 3.0.

What is the fail rate for AP? ›

AP tests are scored on a 1 - 5 scale and the College Board, which administers AP exams, defines students who receive a 3 as qualified in that subject matter. Based on that standard, the College Board reports that about 60.5% of test-takers received a qualifying score on AP tests in 2013.

What is a B+ in an AP class? ›

Honors English = B+ (3.8 x 1.0) = 3.8. Algebra II. = B+ (3.3 x 1.0) = 3.3. AP US History = B+ (4.3 x 1.0) = 4.3. Honors Chemistry = C+ (2.8 x 1.0) = 2.8.

Should I send a 3 AP score? ›

The first thing that you should do is check the AP Score credit policy for the colleges that you are applying to. If they will give you credit for the 3, then by all means report it! On the other hand, if they only give credit for a 5 on that exam (not even for a 4), you may want to hold off.

What happens if I fail an AP exam but pass the class? ›

The good news is that a failed exam does not affect your GPA. In addition, you can retake the AP exam the next year. To prepare, you can re-enroll in the class, study on your own, or hire a tutor who can help you tackle the more challenging subjects on the test.

Is it normal to fail your first AP test? ›

Answer. First, it's important to know that you are not alone in this situation. Many students, especially those taking an AP for the first time, will fail to score the 3 needed to receive college credit.

What is the lowest scoring AP exam? ›

Since a 1 is the lowest score that you can get on an AP® exam, this is not desirable. Thankfully, not many students leave the exam with a 1 unless complications arise during the test and they need to leave, or they are just trying to take the exam without knowing any of the material.

Is 5 APs too much senior year? ›

An Ivy League hopeful might take 3 to 5 AP classes, while if you're aiming for less-selective schools, 2 to 4 would be enough. Senior Year: Take more APs in core subjects and additional subjects, again being careful not to overburden your schedule and to leave time for college applications.

What is the hardest APs to self study for? ›

The Hardest AP Classes

Traditionally, courses like English Literature, Physics 1, and Chemistry are difficult to self-study for or complete at home because of the need for conversation and 1:1 instruction — like the lab element necessary to understand the science courses' material.

Are late AP exams harder? ›

Is the late AP exam difficult? No, it is set according to the same curriculum, it is just a different set of questions than the first exam. The late AP exam questions are different from the first test for security reasons.

What is the rarest AP class? ›

In 2021, the least popular AP exams were as follows, based on number of test-takers:
  • AP Italian (2,102 test-takers)
  • AP Japanese (2,204 test-takers)
  • AP German (4,315 test-takers)
  • AP 3-D Art and Design (4,573 test-takers)
  • AP Latin (4,889 test-takers)

What is the most passed AP class? ›

It's important to keep these factors in mind as you consider the following list of AP classes, ranked according to their passing rates:
  • Chinese Language and Culture: 88.2%
  • Art and Design: 86.2%
  • Seminar: 85.0%
  • Research: 81.5%
  • Spanish Language and Culture: 80.0%
  • Calculus BC: 75.2%
  • Japanese Language and Culture: 74.3%
Oct 31, 2022

How many AP classes is impressive? ›

To be competitive at some of the most highly selective colleges in the country, 8-12 AP courses may be the sweet spot amount, assuming the student can handle that level of rigor. There are no colleges out there that require you to take 14, 17, or some other obscene number of Advanced Placement offerings.

What AP classes give the most college credit? ›

It gives college credit for every AP exam, and you generally only need to score a 3 to get college credit (although higher scores often earn you more credit). Math, science, and foreign language exams tend to give the most credit.

Do AP exams matter senior year? ›

Remember that if you take an AP Exam in your senior year and designate a college to receive your scores, that college will receive your entire score report from all AP Exams you've taken throughout high school unless you have requested score(s) to be withheld or canceled.

How many APs does Harvard want? ›

Harvard does accept AP Credit for classes in which a student earned a 5 on the AP Exam. These credits are accepted under a program called “Advanced Standing.” To qualify, students must earn a 5 on a minimum of 4 AP tests, transferring a total of 32 credits.

How many students get AP Capstone? ›

Students are increasingly participating in the AP Capstone program. Over 2,200 schools participated in the AP Capstone program worldwide during the 2021-22 school year. Approximately 14,100 students earned the AP Capstone Diploma, and 9,200 earned the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.

Is AP Capstone a lot of work? ›

The AP Capstone program can be a lot of work and might feel intimidating if you haven't had to write, present, and defend a lengthy research paper before. For those same reasons, though, it can be an exciting opportunity for motivated, intellectually curious students.

Can you self study AP Capstone? ›

Unfortunately you can not self study AP Seminar or Research, it must be taken in a class. This is because of the group work and presentations that must be completed. But don't worry! There are ways that you can advocate to get the AP Capstone program at your school.

What is the easiest Ivy League school to get into? ›

Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate.

Is 5 AP classes too much junior year? ›

Junior Year

Depending on what kind of school you want to go to, you should be taking between 3 and 5 AP® classes this year. You will need to manage your time well, however, as you also need to study for the SAT® or ACT® during this time.

Can I get into Ivy League with 6 APs? ›

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.

Is AP Capstone diploma an honor? ›

According to the College Board website ( AP Capstone: Higher Education Endorsem*nt | AP Central – The College Board ), you can report the AP Capstone Diploma under “Honors and Distinctions” and your counselor can also report the diploma on their section of the Common App.

Is AP Capstone easy? ›

What is this? AP Seminar forms part of the Capstone Diploma Program in tandem with AP Research. Alumnae reviews rate AP Seminar as moderately difficult but are divided on the usefulness of the course and skills developed.

How many AP tests do you need to pass for AP Capstone? ›

Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing receive the AP Capstone Diploma™.

Is AP or IB harder? ›

IB is more rigorous than AP because it requires higher grades than other classes do (i.e., A). This means that students who take IB won't necessarily be able to take as many classes at their local community college or state university—they'll need to apply for admission through another route first!

Are AP classes harder than honors? ›

AP classes, however, are more challenging than honors classes. These courses cover information, teach skills and give assignments that correspond to college classes. High school students taking AP courses will be held to the same standard as college students.

Do colleges prefer AP or honors? ›

Colleges like them both. Both honors and AP courses are rigorous courses that most high schools weight more heavily on your transcript. AP courses, however, culminate in the AP Exam. Good AP scores show colleges you are ready to succeed at college-level work and can even earn you college credits.

Is a B+ an A in AP? ›

Because you now get an additional 1.0 added to your GPA if you are enrolled in AP® or honors classes. Basically, if you get a B+ in AP® Chemistry, it's the same thing as getting an A in regular Chemistry.

What is the highest GPA ever? ›

Normally, you would expect the highest score to be the 'perfect' 4.0 score, however, there are several things that a student can do to receive an even higher score. For example, one student actually managed to get a 10.03 GPA score. He did this by taking 17 advanced classes at his school, which awarded him many points.

Is getting a 1 or 2 on an AP Exam bad? ›

Key Takeaway: AP students who earn a score of 1 or 2, or average a score of 1 or 2 across their AP Exams in high school, have better college outcomes than academically similar college students who did not take an AP course and exam. compared to academically similar students who did not take AP in high school.

How many questions do you need to get right to get a 5 on the AP Psych exam? ›

These scores indicate that students need to correctly answer about 70-75% of the exam questions to earn a 5.

How many questions do you need to get right to get a 5 on the AP Chem exam? ›

It is also curved similar to other AP exams. In the case of AP chem, you will need to get roughly 75% of the questions correct to score a 5.

What is the most common answer choice on AP Exams? ›

In multiple-choice questions, first, B and E are the most likely answers in 4- and 5-option questions, respectively and, second, same answer is least likely to be repeated in the next question. Outlier answers are less likely to be the correct answers.

What is a 75 on an AP test? ›

Generally speaking, correctly answering 75% of the total available points on an AP test would imply an A or A- letter grade for most college courses.

Is it better to fail an AP test or not take it? ›

But it's not the end of the world if you don't pass. Your class grade won't be affected, and colleges will still be impressed that you took an AP course. Colleges won't see your scores, and you won't miss out on any opportunities. So, even if you are unsure if you'll pass, it's a good idea to opt to take an AP course.

What's the easiest AP class? ›

Easiest AP exams by pass rate
  • AP Art & Design: Drawing.
  • AP Art & Design: 2-D.
  • AP Calculus BC.
  • AP Chinese Language.
  • AP English Literature.
  • AP French Language.
  • AP Government & Politics.
  • AP Italian Language.
Jan 13, 2023

What is the hardest AP class? ›

Physics 1

This class combines physics, scientific inquiry, and algebra. AP Physics 1 is considered one of the hardest AP classes, covering topics like Newtonian mechanics and electrical charge and force. Students also spend about 25% of their class time performing college-level lab experiments and writing reports.

What are the hardest AP exams to get a 5 on? ›

United States History, Biology, English Literature, Calculus BC, Physics C, and Chemistry are often named as the hardest AP classes and tests. These classes have large curriculums, tough tests, and conceptually difficult material.

Do colleges care about AP exam scores? ›

Most of the time, it is up to you whether a college will look at your AP exam scores during the admissions process. The vast majority of colleges do not require that you submit your scores at the time of application. If you scored a 4 or 5 on all of your AP exams then by all means self-report.

Does it matter if you get a 3 or a 5 on an AP exam? ›

The College Board considers a score of 3 or higher a passing grade. That said, some colleges require a 4 or 5 to award credit. Whether a 3 is a good AP score depends on the colleges you're applying to.

Are AP exams curved? ›

Yes, there's a curve on AP exams, especially in relation to the AP Physics C tests. They have a heavy curve, as can be seen by the scoring distributions. A large majority of the test takers pass the exam, and 50 percent score a 5.

What is the highest failed AP exam? ›

All AP exams have a minimum passing rate of 50%. 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) are the most commonly failed AP exams.

Is C usually the correct answer? ›

The idea that C is the best answer to choose when guess-answering a question on a multiple choice test rests on the premise that ACT answer choices are not truly randomized. In other words, the implication is that answer choice C is correct more often than any other answer choice.

What is the least passed AP exam? ›

9) AP Physics 1

At many high schools, AP Physics is notorious for its difficulty level. In addition, it has the lowest overall pass rate of any AP exam.

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