Skip to Main Content

About AP Exams

AP exams take between 2–3 hours to complete and are broken into two sections: multiple choice and free response. The amount of questions per section and the time allotted varies per test subject.

US History

55 minutes for 55 multiple choice questions

50 minutes for four short response answers, 55 minutes for Document Based Questions, and a 35-minute long essay

World History

55 minutes for 70 multiple-choice questions

3 essays, each with a time limit of 40 minutes


90 minutes for 63 multiple choice questions, plus six write-in questions

90 minutes to answer eight free response questions

Calculus AB

28 questions in 55 minutes with no calculator, 17 questions in 50 minutes with a calculator

90 minutes to answer six free response questions

Preparing for AP Exams

AP Exams are given once a year, in May. Each test subject can take anywhere from 15–40 hours of prep, depending on how well you are doing in your AP class and how you learn. Preparation is critical to getting a passing score on the exam, so it’s important to start planning your prep early

Scoring the test

AP exams are scored on a scale of 1–5; a passing score on any AP exam is 3 or higher. Multiple choice answers are graded by computer, and only correct answers count—there are no deductions for incorrect or blank answers. The free response section is graded by teachers and college professors at the annual AP Reading Conference in June, with scaled scores ranging from 1–9. Your final score on an AP exam is a conversion of the composite score, which is obtained by putting the scores of the two sections together on a scale

Frequently asked questions

Get more free resources

Kaplan College Planner
Free Practice