The Ivy Coach Daily

May 10, 2023

How Long Are Advanced Placement Exams?

Students sit for a standardized exam with overlayed text that reads: "America's elite colleges have gone test-optional. It's NOT what it's cracked up to be. Students who submit top scores will always enjoy an advantage."

Are you wondering how long students have to complete each Advanced Placement exam? The College Board offers AP exams in May of each school year. While designed to allow students to earn college credit, these exams are more important — at America’s highly selective universities — as factors in the admissions process.

Strong AP scores can be a differentiator in elite college admissions. At Ivy Coach, we’ve had students present 15-20 5’s on AP exams, which wowed admissions officers. Likewise, when students take AP courses and don’t self-report certain AP exam scores, admissions officers are inclined to presume students didn’t perform well on these exams, which is detrimental to their cases for admission.

But just how long are these super important AP exams? Let’s dive in!

What Are Advanced Placement Exams?

Advanced Placement exams, commonly called AP tests, are standardized exams created by The College Board to assess a student’s mastery of the curriculum in an Advanced Placement class. Most AP courses offer corresponding AP exams (except for courses like AP Art and Design which requires the submission of an art portfolio).

How Long Is Each AP Exam?

AP ExamTest Length
African American StudiesPilot Program
Art History3 Hours
Biology3 Hours
Calculus AB3 Hours, 15 Minutes
Calculus BC3 Hours, 15 Minutes
Chemistry3 Hours, 15 Minutes
Chinese Language and Culture2 Hours, 15 Minutes
Comparative Government and Politics2 Hours, 25 Minutes
Computer Science A3 Hours
Computer Science Principles2 Hours
English Language and Composition3 Hours, 15 Minutes
English Literature and Composition3 Hours
Environmental Science3 Hours
European History3 Hours, 15 Minutes
French Language and Culture3 Hours
German Language and Culture3 Hours
Human Geography2 Hours, 15 Minutes
Italian Language and Culture3 Hours
Japanese Language and Culture2 Hours, 15 Minutes
Latin3 Hours
Macroeconomics2 Hours, 10 Minutes
Microeconomics2 Hours, 10 Minutes
Music Theory2 Hours, 40 Minutes
Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism1 Hour, 30 Minutes
Physics C: Mechanics1 Hour, 30 Minutes
Physics 1: Algebra-Based3 Hours
Physics 2: Algebra-Based3 Hours
Precalculus2 Hours
Psychology2 Hours
Spanish Language and Culture3 Hours
Spanish Literature and Culture3 Hours
Statistics3 Hours
United States Government and Politics2 Hours, 25 Minutes
United States History3 Hours, 15 Minutes
World History: Modern3 Hours, 15 Minutes

AP Exam Timing and Structure BreakdownStudents Do Not Need to Take AP Courses to Take AP Tests

Many students think that if they don’t take an AP course at their high school, they can’t sit for an AP exam. But that’s not the case. If students (or their parents) ask their high school to administer an AP exam — even if the student didn’t take the corresponding course — they will typically oblige. That said, the high school needs to be told in the early fall about the student’s intention to take the exam(s) as, otherwise, they won’t have the test to administer.

The Reporting of AP Exams

All AP exams are self-reported on The Common Application (elite schools do not request AP score reports from The College Board). Students can list as few (or as many) AP exams as they’d like to submit to colleges. For those students who have so many excellent AP scores that they can’t fit in the AP testing section, we encourage these students to list their other impressive scores in the Additional Information section of The Common App.

Ivy Coach’s Prep for AP Exams

If your child needs tutoring for an AP exam, Ivy Coach offers prep for most AP courses and tests — in all sciences, math, English, most histories, and some foreign languages. So fill out our free consultation form, and we’ll be in touch to delineate our tutoring services.

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