If you’ve recently taken an AP Calculus AB exam or plan to do so, then you are in an elite group. Only a small fraction of all high school students ever attempt this test, and those that do are usually very well prepared. So you might be wondering how you compare. What is the average Calculus AB score?
In this post we explore the range of scores that students typically earn on the AP Calculus AB exam and what that means for you.
Calculus AB Score Distribution
The AP exams scores range from 1 to 5. Colleges and universities may offer advanced placement credit for scores of 4 or 5, so aim high!
There’s tons of helpful resources out there. For example, here’s more info about the scoring: What is a Good AP Calculus Exam Score?.
According to this website, the scores on the 2016 exam were concentrated near the extremes.
The median score is 3, meaning that over half of the test-takers score 3 or above.
On the other hand, the average score is… (let’s do some math!)
(.309)(1) + (.097)(2) + (.176)(3) + (.174)(4) + (.244)(5) = 2.947
So the average is just shy of 3, which implies that the lower scores are skewed disproportionately lower. Looking at the data, we can see why; there are way more ones than fives.
Why So Many Ones??
Notice that the most frequent calculus AB score is 1, representing 30.9% of all the scores. There are a number of reasons why.
First of all, some high school AP courses allow students to skip the final if they sign up for the AB exam. Many students simply take that option to get out of a final exam, with no intention of preparing for the AP Calculus exam.
Secondly, even though you feel prepared for the AP Calculus exam, it’s possible that you haven’t studied enough.
It takes weeks and even months to properly prep for the AP Calculus AB exam. For best results, start early. You might want to check out this 3-Month AP Calculus Exam Study Guide
Raising the Bar
So what’s your score goal? A high calculus AB score can help you to get a jump start on your college career.
For most colleges and universities, even getting a 3 on the exam may not be good enough to earn you credits. You’ll need to score above the median (4 or 5) to succeed.
We’re all counting on you to help raise the average calculus AB score!
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About Shaun Ault
Shaun earned his Ph. D. in mathematics from The Ohio State University in 2008 (Go Bucks!!). He received his BA in Mathematics with a minor in computer science from Oberlin College in 2002. In addition, Shaun earned a B. Mus. from the Oberlin Conservatory in the same year, with a major in music composition. Shaun still loves music -- almost as much as math! -- and he (thinks he) can play piano, guitar, and bass. Shaun has taught and tutored students in mathematics for about a decade, and hopes his experience can help you to succeed!
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