AP scores out?

Are the AP scores for the May exams out already?

No. Trevor has provided score distributions and commentary on some of the exams (primarily non-STEM, except for APES and Bio), but individual student’s scores are not updated.


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I think they come out on July 21st

by July 21. So the kids are hoping for earlier.

Do you know something CB doesn’t?


will be available starting Wednesday, July 21 .

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. But it won’t make scores appear early.

Also note that if you took the test in Administration 3 or 4,

scores will be available by August 16.

Nope. Just faulty memory.

Having said that, the CB released May scores to at least some colleges today. So students may be able to see scores on the college portal Monday.


It is terrifically confusing what the College Board is doing.

First, why wouldn’t they release the scores and THEN issue the analysis?

Second, are the scalings different for the different sittings of each AP test? For example, are the tests that were administered live scaled differently than those that were administered at home? If they are all scaled the same, why are the score release dates different?

Third, if they are scaled, aren’t they scaled to this year? Or do they scale it based on several years?

ETA: Based on some of the links provided in this thread, is it correct that AP exams are NOT scaled?


It seems that there was different grading/scaling and also unique foils for the online versions of the AP tests - you can learn more details in Trevor’s twitter feeds. There has been news about this year being the first time authors of the AP test questions for online sittings used Google to help craft the questions to trap you.

Bon Chance!

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It’s more accurate to call them score breaks, but yes, each version can have a different score break. And it is not unique this year. It has happened every year when there are multiple versions of the exam. It’s just in past years, all the multiple versions have been paper exams.

I don’t think it matters to anyone. Releasing the analysis later would not have released the scores more quickly.

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Thanks, @Golfgr8 and @skieurope, that makes sense. I guess they “smoothe” within each score break for each version, rather than scaling or curving. Or so it would seem based on my small brain.

This from the CB seems to give a good description of how scores for different versions of a subject test are derived:

“Once scoring is complete, the relative difficulty of each version of each exam must be analyzed. AP exams are not normed or graded on a curve, so AP scores are never forced into a predetermined percentage of 5s, 4s, 3s, 2s, and 1s. Instead, every student who earns the required points for an AP score of 5 will receive a 5; every student who earns the required points for an AP score of 4 will receive a 4; and so on. (In theory, every student who takes an AP Exam could earn a score of 3 or higher, if every student earned the required points for such. That’s never happened, but in some subjects it’s quite close: ~82% of AP Physics C: Mechanics students, for example, earned a 3 or higher in 2019.) But the required points need to be determined separately for each and every version of an AP exam, after the exams have been scored, taking into account the difficulty of the questions that are unique to that version. More difficult exam versions require fewer correct answers; easier versions require more correct answers.”

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Reading the statements by Trevor regarding this year’s results, it makes me concerned about student preparedness to take the test, what the test is designed to assess, test validity and relevance of the test to the subject being taught. If only 6 students out of 400,000 achieved all 140 points possible on APUSH, for example, there is a problem with the test - not the students. What are they really testing, then? Any experts out there in CC-land on test construction and test reliability/validity?

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The test is not designed to award points like candy. A perfect score should be rare, like scoring a 20 on the French bac. Trevor is not Oprah where everyone gets a car.

75% correct gets a 5, and USH is one of the generous ones; some exams are in the 60’s to get a 5, not unlike some of my college courses.

Do you know what is involved in earning a perfect score? It is almost impossible, which is why there are only 6. There are multiple readers of the essay questions on the AP test for each student. Each reader has to give a perfect score for each question for each of those students. That means that for these 6 students, every reader that read every essay question gave them a perfect score. That’s incredible and a definite rarity.

Furthermore, students were definitely not as prepared as in prior years. Many schools were not in person, or were in hybrid, or fully remote altogether. So unless you were in a classroom fully in person all year under the same circumstances as every other year, the class experience this year was completely different than any other year and it would be expected that scores should be lower.

The school I work at was hybrid until April when they went full in person. But the schedule was different so that kids only had their core classes 3x a week and for less minutes per week than in a normal year when they have each core class 4x/week. So, material obviously had to be cut somewhere. My sons AP Chem teacher told her classes that she knew many schools were so far behind they were never going to get to the material before the Chem test. When our school had inservice days or stupid asynchronous days she still held class or gave regular classwork to ensure they didn’t fall behind. Not all teachers put in that same effort or can, and sometimes it’s the students that don’t.


Yes - your comments are well appreciated. What does seem unfair to those students who took certain AP tests THIS year, compared to last, was the disparity in difficulty. Last year, there was a completely different test for APUSH - one essay - online that had many more students achieving a 5. After the test, my kiddo told me about an essay question concerning a time period that they had not yet covered in class and was one not focused on during self-prep….the comment was “Good thing I have watched History Channel and Dr Strangelove!”. :nerd_face:

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Yes, agree, last year was an anomaly for sure.

There were only 2 different questions/forms last year but different parts, everyone had 1 question but within that question multiple questions, no MC if I recall and you either knew the material or didn’t. I know my son was really happy with the question he got because he knew that material like the back of his hand, but he said had he gotten the other one, while he knew it, he didn’t know it as well but that wasn’t because they didn’t cover it. They had covered all but two units once covid hit and then the AP test eliminated one of those units, so they only had to learn the one unit and they had plenty of time between March and May to learn it.

That is too bad your student’s school didn’t cover that unit, but a good thing he had watched it. The teachers and kids did know what units were being covered on the AP test so knew what they had to get in once covid closed everything and that should have left plenty of time to get it in. Although admittedly, some teachers/schools were much better at handling zoom school than others. Not sure ours was anything great, they teach the units out of order and do the easiest unit first and build so that the kids gain confidence. It’s a great concept in theory, except when covid hit and they had taught the last unit which was one of the eliminated units. So had they not taught that at all, they would have been done with all the units already when covid hit that were required on the test and could’ve spent the time studying for those who did need it.

My son now is now waiting for 4 Exams from this year. I think they made sure to correct for last year lol. He took Physics C Exams and said they were both really hard and he’s not counting on that credit, so we shall see. Stats and Chem though he said were easy. I do wonder if that again is the teacher. Our Physics C teacher stinks (new this year to the course) and the kids had to self teach everything. Kind of hard to do that plus with covid and being remote even harder when you’re not doing labs and seeing your teacher to even discuss. But not the end of the world.

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Last year was an anomaly; the CB had 6 weeks to come up with a Plan B. Was it ideal? No. But it was better than the alternative, which was cancelling exams. Any student who achieved an acceptable score in 2020 to get college credit should be thankful that colleges did so. Because there was no way many colleges would accept a repeat of the 2020 exam type this year.

Trevor probably wants to pretend 2020 didn’t exist (like many of us). Which is why all comparisons are to 2019.

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Should that be the other way around? Meaning APUSH is one of the less generous ones?

2019 and 2020?

Either way, I tend to agree with @skieurope . Why would anyone care about getting a “perfect” score if they got a 5?

I wonder how colleges will compare kids who had hybrid, virtual academy, or all in person. Our high school in CA was hybrid, often asynchronous, and we had essentially a 4-day week for the whole year. Mondays was just “homeroom” and office hours- so basically he logged in for 10 min to check in for attendance. It was a joke. I have a feeling his AP scores will prob be not as strong as they could have been. Having Calc BC in person 1 day a week (rest asynchronous) was unacceptable.

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No. Meaning you need to get a higher percentage correct on USH, than say, E&M, to get a 5

Typo. Thanks. I have corrected.