Everything about duration and structure of Advanced Placements exams

Read our detailed guide on AP exams structure and duration before going for one

Are you going to appear for AP tests this year? Or maybe planning for one in your future? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then this guide will help you have a better insight into these questions.

In this article we would be dealing with the duration and structure about the various AP exams, plus that, we would also be giving some tips about how to tackle the pressure that you may be presented with those Advanced Placements Tests.

Taking the AP courses/ classes, along with your high school may be some of the most difficult times for you, but if you have an expert at hand to advice you through all this, then things can turn out to be quite great for you. You might be seeing yourself into some of the most prestigious colleges abroad.

Exactly how much time does an AP exam take generally?

All of the tests are about two to three hours long, with a break in between; separating the exam into two main sections. In most of the exams, there is a multiple choice section in the starting, and after the break there is a free- response section. Difficulty and time allotted to each of the sections is different in about all the exams.

The following table will show you the exact time allotted for each of the AP exam you are intending to take:

Advanced Placements testAllotted time
Art History3 hours
Biology3 hours
Calculus AB3 hours 15 minutes
Calculus BC3 hours 15 minutes
Chemistry3 hours 15 minutes
Computer Science A3 hours
Computer Science Principles2 hours
Environmental Science3 hours
Chinese Language and Culture2 hours 15 minutes
Comparative Government and Politics2 hours 25 minutes
German Language and Culture3 hours
Human Geography2 hours 15 minutes
Italian Language and Culture3 hours
Macroeconomics2 hours 10 minutes
Microeconomics2 hours 10 minutes
Music Theory2 hours 40 minutes
English Language and Composition3 hours 15 minutes
English Literature and Composition3 hours
Physics 1: Algebra-Based3 hours
Physics 2: Algebra-Based3 hours
Japanese Language and Culture2 hours 15 minutes
Latin3 hours
Spanish Literature and Culture3 hours
Statistics3 hours
US Government and Politics2 hours 25 minutes
US History3 hours 15 minutes
World History3 hours 15 minutes

 

In general, for the humanities subjects, the free- response section is longer. Both the sections for each of these exams have a different amount of pressure for the individuals.  We would be discussing about some of them here:

AP English

Both the literature and the language exams take about one hour to work the 55 multiple choice questions, and two hours for the free-response section where you would be working for three essays. The essay part will require you to work on the essay outline, and constructing the essay, and then proofreading it for any mistakes. The fatigue of writing two hours straight can get onto your nerves sometimes.

AP Social Studies

While the AP social studies exams are more easier than the AP English exams, care has to be taken to ensure that you don’t do silly mistakes because you would be having less time and hence would have to be fast.

US Government exam has 60 multiple choice questions to be answered in 45 minutes, and 100 minutes for four free-response questions (25 minutes per response).

AP Psychology has 100 multiple-choice questions in 70 minutes, and two free response questions to be answered within 50 minutes.

World History asks two parts for section 1 and two parts for section 2. The first part of section 1 has 55 multiple choice questions that are to be answered in 55 minutes. The second part is short answer based where 3 questions are to be answered within 40 minutes.

The second section has 1 document based question that has to answered in 60 minutes (15 minutes are given for reading). And a long essay based question for the second part that has to be answered in 40 minutes.

US History ask 55 questions in 55 minutes  for the multiple choice section and requires three short-response answers to be answered in 40 minutes, and a 60 minute DBQ (Document-Based Question) and a 40 minute essay question.

Here, you must be quick through the organizing stage to have quickly draft and editing your responses.

AP mathematics 

For AP Calculus AB, the most popular AP math test, you need to solve 30 multiple-choice questions in 60 minutes without calculator, followed with 15 questions to be answered in 45 minutes with a calculator. While this is more time as compared to the humanities tests above, they are more difficult and require more time per question.

Both AB Calculus and AP Statistics give you 90 minutes to answer six questions, or about a quarter-hour per question for the free response section. For the statistics section, you have to present the written explanation which makes it even more harder to complete within the stipulated time.

AP Science

In AP Chemistry there are 60 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 90 minutes and105 minutes for seven free response questions.

AP Biology has 63 multiple-choice questions and six grid-in questions to be answered in 90 minutes, and 90 minutes for eight response based questions.

There is less time per response, and the section lasts for nearly two hours leaving you more fatigued after the first hour.

Dealing with the fatigue of the Advanced Placement exams

After reading about the most popular exams on the list, you might have figured out the associated fatigue and stress. And dealing with it can be quite easy if you follow the following things regularly:

Practice more

While we may be looking at a ton of practice, the students must remember they have to practice regularly and gradually with time. Taking mock tests in time bound conditions regularly will help you in building the pace for the exam, and would also build your stamina to cope up with the associated fatigue.

Prepare for multiple choice section well in advance

In the multiple-choice section you have to be quick in your response because you would be answering hundreds of questions. You might be taking it around 8 a.m.(unless you have an afternoon slot).

Practicing multiple-choice sections is very important, so that you know the difficulty level well in advance. Some pre-runs of sample problems on the exam morning well before the exam will help you at not being disoriented when you begin reading.

Developing a strategy for answering

You have to have a strategy while taking the exams. Keeping in consideration your strong and weak points, you will be well prepared in advanced as to score better. You should follow a strategy such that you can cover your weak points by your strong points. And for figuring this out some previous papers might be helpful.

Be ready for the test day

Have a good night sleep and a healthy breakfast before the exam, because that might be helpful in keeping you organized. Even more so because most of these exams happen early in the morning at around 8 am.

You can bring some snacks with you, and can eat something at regular intervals. Taking coffee during the exam will help you to be alert, and would keep the ideas flowing that are needed for the essay parts.

Lastly, remember to check the exam schedules, as that comes early in the year.

Go through our explanatory guide on AP Exams if you think taking AP exams classes will be good for you.

If you are looking forward for ACT/ SAT guide follow our blog

Ways To Master AP TEST CLASSES/ ADVANCED PLACEMENTS COURSES Without Breaking A Sweat!

No More Mistakes With AP TEST CLASSES, ADVANCED PLACEMENTS COURSES

If you are studying in high school, you might have been hearing about Advanced Placement tests , from your friends, or teachers, or even from your parents. Some of your friends might even be taking some of them. So what is this AP tests anyway? and why is there so much hype about it.

Well, for beginners, Advanced placements tests, or classes are taken by the students, in parallel with regular high school education. These courses are designed so as to make any student ready for their undergraduate college education. Their syllabus falls in correspondence to the syllabus that students will be taught in their colleges. College Board currently runs the exam every year, and the exam is officially named as “College Board Advanced Placement Program”.

APs basically came into being in the 1950s as a result of the increased gap between high school education and college education

The APs are taken by students for admission to the colleges in the US, Canada, and at other countries. By taking APs, the students gain college credits that help in their admissions. The syllabus that is usually taught in an AP course is based on what you will be taught in your college. A good credit score will tell the admission committee how ready a student is for their college. The course will reduce your study burden in college as you would know most of the things that are in your syllabus.

Also, your time span of semester would be reduced for the subjects you have taken, because the colleges have that option for the students who have taken AP classes during their high school. AP exams will also tell about how interested you are towards a particular stream.  So for an aspiring engineer, a course in AP physics and AP computers would reflect that you are academically interested for that, and are working towards your goal, and will also prove that you have knowledge in that field.

What subject choices do you have for AP exams/tests?

There are 38 subjects/ courses in total. So as to gain a better edge over their competitors, the students mostly take multiple Advanced Placements courses during their high school’s duration. The exams are a great way to challenge yourself academically. The exams will show the admission committee how committed you are towards building a foundation for your college career, that will ultimately pave your path to a brighter career.

So how much do you have to score in Advanced placements exams anyway?

The AP exams are scored on a scale of 1-5. While getting a 5 pointer on your result is very challenging, it will also ease your chances to get admission to the college of your choice. According to a survey, the harder the subject a student takes, and the better he/ she scores on it, the easier are there chances to get admission to that particular college. Check our post regarding structure and scoring of the exam for better insights.

How much  to pay for the AP exams ?

The fees for taking an AP exam is $94 for each individual test you write. The College Board also offers a financial aid of $32 for those who need it.

As a good inhibitor for starting your career as a whole, Advanced Placements classes and tests from the College Board are a must for you. And you can try them if you are serious about a career abroad.

For a comprehensive study option to prepare for the AP exams, check our other posts also.

Advanced Placement program (AP)

What does AP stand for, and what is the point?

The Advanced Placement program was born in the 1950s and is run by the College Board, the huge education nonprofit corporation that also administers the SAT. AP classes are college-level courses, but they’re taught in high school. The goal is to expose students to the rigorous standards they will face in college, to increase college preparedness and to challenge students beyond regular and often beyond honors courses.

There are now almost 40 AP courses offered, though not every school offers every course. The College Board provides schools the curriculum for these classes and administers AP tests to students each May. If a student scores a 3, 4, or 5 out of 5 on a test, he or she is eligible to receive college credit for that class —and possibly be required to take fewer classes in order to graduate from college.

Structure

The first part of the exam usually consists of multiple-choice questions. A student is supposed to choose the best of four or five answer choices. Answers must be marked on your AP answer sheet (bubble sheet). The total exam score on the multiple-choice section is based only on the number of questions answered correctly. There is no negative marking for the incorrect or un-attempted question.

The second part of the exam usually consists of re-response questions that require the student to generate his/her own responses. Depending on the exam, responses could be in the form of an essay, a solution to a problem, a spoken response, and more. In most cases, students will be writing their response in pen in the free-response exam booklet.

The multiple-choice component of the exam is scored by computer, while the free response and essay portions are scored by trained Readers at the AP Reading each June. The scores on various components are weighted and combined into a raw Composite Score.

Scoring

This score will be used by colleges and universities to determine if they will grant you credit for what you’ve already learned, or allow you to skip the equivalent course once you get to college (this is known as advanced placement).

Your score is a weighted combination of your scores on the multiple-choice section and on the free-response section. The final score is reported on a 5-point scale as follows:

5 = extremely well qualified

4 = well qualified

3 = qualified

2 = possibly qualified

1 = no recommendation

“Qualified” means that you have proven yourself capable of doing the work of an introductory-level course in a particular subject at college. Many colleges and universities grant credit and placement for scores of 3, 4 or 5.

Future use

Some colleges use AP test scores to exempt students from introductory coursework, others use them to place students in higher designated courses, and some do both. Each college’s policy is different, but most require a minimum score of 3 or 4 to receive college credit.

In addition, completing AP courses help students qualify for various types of scholarships. According to the College Board, 31 percent of colleges and universities look at AP experience when making scholarship decisions.

Middle school and junior high school students who plan ahead and take algebra, a foreign language and computer courses by the eighth grade are better prepared for Advanced Placement and Tech-Prep courses in high school. Taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

(The AP designation may only be applied to courses offered at or above the ninth-grade level that have received authorization through the annual AP Course Audit process. The AP label cannot be affixed to courses and transcripts earlier than ninth grade. There is one exception to this policy: AP world language and culture courses. These courses focus on linguistic proficiency and cultural competency, so in rare situations, these courses can be successfully offered earlier than ninth grade among students who can already speak, read, and write the language with fluency. In summary, the AP Course Audit will only renew or authorize courses that are offered exclusively in grades 9–12, with the exception of AP world language and culture courses.)

Difficulty level

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) is a rigorous academic program that gives motivated students the opportunity to pursue university-level studies while still in secondary/high school. Available in over 20 subjects, taking AP Exams can help students to stand out in the college admissions process, earn college credit, and build skills that are essential for success in college and beyond.

Indian students thinking of heading to the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Singapore or other countries for undergraduate studies can benefit immensely from taking AP courses and exams. Established in the 1950’s, AP has helped students achieve their dream of university study around the world for more than 60 years. In 2017, more than 2.2 million students took over 4.5 million AP Exams worldwide and sent scores to over 3,000 universities in more than 60 countries.

Which are the most popular AP courses?

Just knowing which AP exams exist won’t help so we have got a list of courses that have been the most popular courses:

(Source: College Board)

S.No.   Course Number of Students who wrote this exam in 2016

1          English Language       547,575

2          United States History 489,291

3          English Literature       405,446

4          Calculus AB    308,215

5          Government & Politics

The United States  296,108

6          Psychology      293,350

7          World History 285,351

8          Biology           238,080

9          Statistics          206,563

10        Human Geography      184,663

What are the benefits for an Indian student taking an AP exam?

There are many benefits for an Indian student taking AP Courses and Exams.

  • Taking AP courses helps students stand out in the college admissions process, by demonstrating to admission officers that they have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them. Universities around the world look favorably upon students who take AP courses and exams because performance in AP demonstrates a student’s commitment and ability to succeed at university-level studies.
  • AP Exams enable students to earn college credit or advanced placement before they even start college, which can enable them to graduate early (students can sometimes save as much as a year at college), save tuition, pursue a double major, move into upper-level courses sooner, gain time to travel abroad, or complete an internship. Over 90 percent of universities across the U.S. offer credit, advanced placement or both, on the basis of successful AP Exam scores. Additionally, all leading universities in Canada and UK recognize AP for admission, credit or placement, as do many European universities. Credit policies differ by the college, so students should understand the policies of the colleges they are interested in. To view credit policies for US colleges, students can visit www.collegeboard.org/apcreditpolicy and to check AP policies at universities outside the US, visit www.collegeboard.org/apintl.
  • The AP Program recognizes high school students who have demonstrated outstanding college-level achievement through AP courses and exams, with the AP Scholar Awards (non-monetary). Indian students also have the opportunity to earn the Advanced Placement International Diploma (APID), by achieving a score of 3 or higher in 5 or more AP Exams. Succeeding in AP Exams can also help students earn academic scholarships and awards from colleges and universities directly.
  • AP can help a student illustrate his or her competence in a particular field of study and can also give students an opportunity to study a subject that they are interested in, but not able to study at their school. Some students take AP Exams to complete their General Education requirements at the university.
  • AP courses and exams help students develop the critical thinking, reasoning, problem solving and communication skills that are essential for success in college and beyond. This is especially important in the Indian context, as the studying methodology in schools following the Indian curriculum, can sometimes be very different to what has practiced abroad.
  • Universities across the world recognize the AP Program, and AP Exams are taken by students in more than 120 countries. A score of 5 in an AP Exam is interpreted the same way, whether that student is from Nairobi, New Delhi or New York. Hence, AP Exams also allow Indian students to provide a score from a standardized and globally recognized academic program in their college applications.

Who creates the content for AP and what subjects are exams available in?

AP courses and exams, available in India in 23 different subjects across Sciences, Mathematics, Social Science, Languages, and Art, are developed by committees of American and international university professors who work alongside expert high school teachers. AP committee members teach at top colleges and universities such as Columbia University, Harvard and The University of Pennsylvania.

When can students take AP Exams and what is the exam format?

AP is flexible, allowing students to take as many or as few exams as they wish to, in any given year. Students usually take AP Exams in Grade 11 or 12 or both, but some take them earlier, in Grade 9 or 10. Some students also choose to take AP Exams in a gap year after completing high school, before they go to college. AP courses are taught in several schools in India, but students also have the option to self-study and take AP Exams. The exams, that take place in May every year, have a combination of multiple choice and free-response questions, and are between 90-200 minutes in length, depending on the subject.

How can students register for AP Exams in India and what is the cost?

The 2018 AP Exams will be held from May 7-18, and the registrations for the exams are open from February 14 – March 21, 2018. Students will be able to take exams at any of the 16 test centers spread across India. All information related to the Registration Process is available on www.ap-india.org. AP Exams are priced at Rs. 9,500 per exam (Rs. 10,000 in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi).

The College Board also offers students the option to take AP Exams during the ‘Late Testing’ period, which will be held from May 23-25, 2018. If students cannot take AP Exams during the Regular Testing period due to unavoidable circumstances, such as a clash with other national exams, extreme illness, etc., they can register for AP Exams during Late Testing.

Who administers AP Exams in India?

A few schools, along with authorized AP test centers (http://ap-india.org/) are able to administer AP Exams in India. Check with your school’s AP Coordinator to confirm if you can register for and take exams at your school. If your school does not offer a particular AP Exam you wish to take, or if your school opts to not administer any AP Exams, you may register with one of the other test centers. Note that AP Exam fees and registration procedures may vary across test centers. Refund, late testing, and registration policies may also vary for AP authorized test centers

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