An APUSH score calculator can help you estimate how you’ll do on the real exam. Learn more about how score calculators work and how to find the best ones.
How Do APUSH Score Calculators Work?
The scoring of AP exams is tricky. You have a test with multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions, each of which is graded separately. Then, somehow, all of that boils down to a single score from 1-5. That’s all you ever get on your score report. You won’t get any information on how many multiple choice questions you got right or how you scored on your DBQ. You’ll just have that single number.
Even more frustrating than that can be the fact that there is no set consistent formula that translates your raw scores into the 1-5 scaled score, because the APUSH exam is scored on a curve. This is to account for test variation and to try to keep scores consistent across different tests. But it can make it a little tricky to estimate your score when you don’t know exactly how many multiple choice questions will equal a 5.
That’s where APUSH score calculators come in. They use the weighted scales of past AP exams to help you estimate your 1-5 score by inputting the individual raw scores you received on each section. The most important thing to remember about any APUSH score calculator is that it is an estimate. College Board does not release an official score calculator, so test prep companies create their own based on the information available and try their best to be accurate.
Where to Find APUSH Score Calculators
Practice tests included in the review books of major test prep companies will usually include a score conversion chart, along with the answer key to help you estimate your score. These are created for that particular test and are a helpful tool for estimating your future test performance. These charts, however, should not be seen as exact tools for figuring out your score on other tests.
There are also online APUSH score calculators. There are a lot of score calculators out there, so it can be difficult to know which ones to trust. When looking for a reliable calculator, check for the following:
- Up-to-date test specifications. Does the number of multiple choice points you’re asked to input match what’s currently on the real exam? The APUSH exam format has changed numerous times in recent years. Make sure you’re looking at the most current information.
- The test version the calculator is based on. A good score calculator will tell you which year of the real APUSH exam it used to create its formula.
- Consistency. It never hurts to check one score calculator against another. Be sure you’re comparing the same year, and then put in the same numbers to see what score you get on each. If one is giving you a wildly different score than the others, you probably shouldn’t trust it.
Tips for Using an APUSH Score Calculator
1. Use it to grade practice tests.
An APUSH calculator can give you a good idea of where you are likely to score on the exam. A lot of students will just check how many multiple choice questions they got right or see how their essays stack up to the rubric. Taking the extra step of estimating your 1-5 score with an APUSH score calculator can give a clearer idea of how you will stack up on test day.
2. Play around with it.
After you get your practice test score, play around with the score calculator. See how many more multiple choice questions or free response points it would take you to go from a 3 to a 4, or a 4 to a 5. This gives you a better sense of the impact of each question and each question type. It can also help you to set goals that will be manageable and most helpful.
3. Use it more than once.
If you try one practice test, put your scores into an APUSH score calculator, and get a 5, you may be tempted to stop there. Don’t! Getting a 5 once is awesome, but you should be aiming for consistency. What happens when you come across a test with a less familiar essay topic? Would you still be able to get a 5? You should try (and score) several full practice tests over the course of your studying to make sure that you are able to handle anything that may come up on the exam.
4. Remember that it is only an estimate.
APUSH score calculators are useful tools, but none of them are 100% accurate. Use them to help guide your studying and goal-setting, but don’t rely on them too heavily. Remember that the AP grades on a curve, so getting 45 multiple choice questions right might get you a 4 on one exam and a 3 on another. To give yourself some wiggle room, set your goals at the high end of the range for the score you want.
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About Sarah Bradstreet
Sarah is an educator and writer with a Master’s degree in education from Syracuse University who has helped students succeed on standardized tests since 2008. She loves reading, theater, and chasing around her two kids.
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