New Analyses Find Students Who Earn a 2 on an AP Exam Are Prepared for the Rigor of College Courses

New evidence shows that AP students who earn scores of 2 on their AP Exams have significantly stronger college outcomes than similar students who did not take an AP course and exam.

The figure below shows that AP students, including those with average scores of 1 or 2, are more likely to enroll in a 4-year college (blue bars) compared to academically similar students who did not take an AP Exam in high school (gray bars). In fact, AP students who averaged scores of 1 or 2 on their AP Exams are 16 and 19 percentage points, respectively, more likely to enroll in a 4-year college than similar peers who did not take AP.

This graph shows the probability of four-year college enrollment by average Advanced Placement Exam score

Many students who first score a 1 or 2 on an AP Exam will take more AP courses and exams and score higher. For example, 80% of 10th-grade students who earn a 2 on their first AP Exam go on to take additional AP and more than half of them (54%) go on to earn a score of 3, 4, or 5 on a subsequent AP Exam.

The new evidence also demonstrates that students who earn AP scores of 2 are well-prepared to succeed in introductory college coursework, frequently outperforming academically similar college peers who did not take the AP course in high school. For example, students who score a 2 on the AP Statistics Exam earn, on average, a course grade of 3.39 in Introductory Statistics, which is about a third of a college GPA point higher than the average Intro Stats grade (3.03) earned by academically similar students who didn’t take the AP Statistics Exam.

Check out this research brief and a recent Elective piece to understand the power of AP—no matter what score students earn on their exams.