Can You Retake AP Exams?

One way to save time and money when earning your college degree is to do well on AP exams in high school. If you earn a high score on your AP exams, you can receive college credit or advance placement. This means there are classes you won’t have to take when earning your degree, allowing you to finish school earlier and save thousands of dollars.

While the benefits of getting a 4 or a 5 on your AP exams are well worth it, it can be a lot harder to earn these scores than many students realize.

If you took an AP exam, and you did not do as well as you hoped you would, you may be asking yourself if you can retake the exam and have another chance at earning college credit for your score.

Fortunately, the answer to this question is yes!

According to the College Board AP Exam policies, “AP Exams are only given once a year, but you may repeat an exam in a subsequent year.”

If your score the first time around was not great, you’re in luck. You have another opportunity to take the AP exam next May.

Should you retake AP exams?

Just because you can do something does not necessarily mean that you should.

While the College Board does allow students to retake AP exams, there are a few factors you should consider before signing up to take a test again in the spring:

  • Consider your college list. Use College Board’s AP Credit Policy Search and college websites to determine whether or not the scores you earned will allow you to receive college credit from the schools on your college list. This information will help you know whether or not it will be beneficial for you to retake an exam. For example, if you earned a 3 on your AP Chemistry exam, you would receive credit from Arkansas State University (meaning you would be fine without retaking the exam), but not from Arizona State University (meaning you might consider retaking the exam).
  • Consider AP exam costs. Retaking the AP exam is going to cost you an additional $95 if you live in the United States. While this amount is nothing compared to the thousands you can save if you earn college credit, you do not want to pay this amount if you’ve already earned the credit you need, retaking the test won’t give you any college credit, or you do not have the time to put in the hours of studying required to earn a score that will qualify for college credit.
  • Consider your grades. The grade you earn in an AP class is far more influential in your college decisions than the score you earn on the AP exams. If you barely passed the AP class, and you’re struggling on the exam, your time is probably better spent focusing on retaking the class or doing something else to bolster your GPA and your college applications.
  • Consider your schedule. Is next May going to be a busy time for you? Do you have enough time to study for an AP exam retake? If not, you might want to reconsider retaking the AP exam. It will look worse on your application if you have taken an AP exam twice and earned a 1 or a 2 both times.

Which score will colleges see?

When you retake an AP exam, both scores will be reported to colleges unless you choose to have one withheld or canceled.

Canceling your score is free, and it will completely erase your score as if you never took the exam in the first place. However, you must choose to cancel the first score by the June deadline which is several months before you retake the exam. This means that if you do worse the second time around, you won’t be able to send your original scores to outweigh your retake.

Withdrawing your scores costs $10, but you will be able to send them later if you choose to do so.

The best way to make sure that you don’t have to worry about canceling or withdrawing your scores is to spend time preparing to earn a higher score on the retake.

Earning a higher AP exam score

In order to avoid wasting your time and money when you sign up to retake an AP exam, you should keep the following tips in mind:

  • Review your mistakes. Thoroughly review every single question you missed and learn why and how you missed each one. This will help you avoid making the same mistakes next May.
  • Study regularly. May may be a long way away, but that doesn’t mean that you should put off studying until the last minute. Study early and study often so that by the time test day rolls around, you know the material like the back of your hand.
  • Work with a tutor. Tutors aren’t just for helping students earn good grades. You can work with a private tutor on tips and strategies for any AP exam so that you master the content before it’s time to retake the test.

Sign up for private AP subject test tutoring through Prep Expert today.