STUDENTS - Locate your School's Registration Site here. Search For School

2012 AP Exam Score Distributions

Total Registration has compiled the following scores from Tweets that the College Board's head of AP*, Trevor Packer, has been making during June. These are preliminary breakdowns that may change slightly as late exams are scored.

Please as we Tweet every time this page is updated.
Please let others know about these AP Exam Score Distributions

In 2018, more than 525,000 students registered themselves online for over 1 Million AP Exams at 1220 schools using Total Registration's service. Request a no obligation estimate to see how cost effective this service is. Schools report saving over 120 hours by simplifying their registration using Total Registration.

In order to access scores the first week in July, students will need to create a College Board Account. Students can create accounts NOW at apstudent.collegeboard.org/apscores .

AP Score Distributions 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011

This table is sortable by clicking on the header - Clicking on an Exam Name will show a comparison of the score distributions for all years compiled

Exam 5 4 3 2 1 Date Tweeted Trevor's Comments
Art History 12.4% 22.4% 25.1% 18.7% 21.4% Jun 21
  • In the AP Art History multiple-choice, students did best on mcq's re:sculpture, then painting/drawing, then architecture, then other media. Test your art historical literacy. Can you ID the various works & answer this year's AP Art History released questions? ow.ly/bEB6V
  • In the AP Art History short answers, students earned the highest mean score on the question about the Naram-sin victory stele (#7). In the AP Art History short answers, more than 50% of students earned 0 pts on San Carlito question (#5), which thus had the lowest mean.
Biology 19.4% 16.9% 14.3% 14.6% 34.8% Jun 18
  • Count them: 5 students (out of ~200,000) earned every point, perfect scores of 150/150, on this year's AP Biology Exam. Overall, performance on this year's AP Biology Exam represents slightly higher student ability levels this year than last.
  • The AP Bio free-response question on oxygen consumption (#2) earned the highest mean score on this year's exam: ow.ly/bEjCs. ~50,000 AP Bio students (~25%) earned 0 out of 10 points on Q3 (information flow in cells), the question with the lowest mean on this exam.
Calculus AB 24.9% 16.9% 17.3% 10.3% 30.6% Jun 18
  • Solid gains in % of 3s,4s&5s in both AP Calculus AB & BC. It's clear that some very good math teaching/learning is being achieved.
  • AP Calculus AB students scored best on Q4 (Analysis of Functions): ow.ly/bDoE7. AB Calc students struggled most w/the graphical analysis of g/ftc question (#3), which also proved quite difficult for many BC students.
  • Top advice from the college profs who scored AP Calc AB Exams: More focus needed on "solving separable differential equations analytically."
Calculus BC 50.7% 15.8% 16.2% 5.5% 11.8% Jun 18
  • Solid gains in % of 3s,4s&5s in both AP Calculus AB & BC. It's clear that some very good math teaching/learning is being achieved.
  • AB Calc students struggled most w/the graphical analysis of g/ftc question (#3), which also proved quite difficult for many BC students. AP Calc BC students earned the highest points on Q1 (shared w/AB exam), and least well on Maclaurin series (#6): ow.ly/bEcRv
Chemistry 15.3% 19.1% 20.2% 15.0% 30.4% Jun 11
  • Smaller percentages of students receiving 5s & 2s, & slightly higher percentages of students receiving 3s, 4s.
  • 4,760 AP Chemistry students received perfect scores (15 out of 15 points) on free-response question #4 (writing equations).
  • By contrast, AP Chemistry students performed least well, overall, on #3 (thermo/kinetics: ehtylamine decomp). Only 1160 earned all 9 points.
Chinese Lang. and Culture 29.1% 19.6% 30.3% 9.8% 12.2% Jun 21
  • AP Chinese students did well on all 4 writing & speaking questions, w/highest mean scores on the story narration (Q1): ow.ly/bGLrZ 
  • Advice from professors scoring AP Chinese: help students develop the skill to discuss the significance of a cultural practice. 
  • 2012 AP Chinese TOTAL GROUP results: 71.8%=5; 12.7%=4; 10.7%=3; 2.3%=2; 2.5%=1.
  • 80% of AP Chinese students and 50% of AP Japanese students are "heritage speakers."
Computer Science A 23.3% 24.2% 15.6% 7.8% 29.1% Jun 13
  • Periodically, we have college students take the AP Exam questions to confirm the AP standards; this year, we did so for AP Computer Science.In checking AP Computer Sci’s standards: on a sample of questions, on average, college students earned 40 points; AP students earned 42.
  • AP Computer Science students did quite well on the free-response questions, particularly on Q.4 (2D Array Processing): ow.ly/bza2L
  • From professors who scored AP Comp Sci: many students needed more help with “Interacting classes, inheritance, and Interfaces.
English Language 10.9% 20.2% 28.9% 28.0% 12.0% Jun 19
  • 3 students (out of 430,000) earned perfect scores of 150 out of 150 on the AP English Language Exams. We'll notify them & their teachers.
  • On the 3 AP Eng Lang essays, students earned highest mean scores on Q1, then Q2, then Q3, in that order: ow.ly/bGozO. On the AP Eng Lang essay requiring rhetorical analysis of Kennedy's speech (Q2), many students performed poorly by only analyzing style.
  • AP English Language & Composition is the AP course/exam taken by the largest number of students (~430,000).
English Literature 8.3% 17.9% 30.4% 32.3% 11.1% Jun 19
  • Poetry analysis essay was the hardest part of AP Eng Lit for students; Q1 (Sidney poem) had lowest scores on the exam: ow.ly/bGxtn. The highest scoring Eng Lit essay was #3, in which students explored the impact of environment on character in a work of their choice.
Environmental Science 8.7% 24.9% 16.6% 24.4% 25.4% Jun 13
  • The AP Env Science “Carbon Calculation” question(#2) really distinguished which students should receive college credit: ow.ly/byQVP. Professors were “extremely pleased” with how AP Env Sci students did on the question requiring them to design a pesticide experiment(#3).
  • The weakest results on the AP Env Sci exam were related to earth science: the “fracking” question(#1) and m-c questions re: earth systems.
European History 10.5% 19.2% 36.1% 10.8% 23.4% Jun 11
  • Students who chose essay 4 (French Natl Identity, 1789-1815) also had higher mean scores on the DBQ and the multiple choice questions.
  • Of the 6 "choice" essays, Essay 4 (French Natl Identity, 1789-1815) earned the highest mean score among this year's AP EuroHistory students.
  • The essay question that was most challenging for AP Euro History students this year was #7: Factors in Decolonization, 1914-1975.
French Language 12.7% 25.5% 35.5% 20.3% 6.0% Jun 26
  • AP French and AP German exams were the first to be redesigned, so there has been much interest in how students would do this year. Because AP French & German were redesigned, professors met to review each MC & FR question to decide points needed for scores of 5,4,3,2,1.
  • 2012 AP French TOTAL GROUP results: 18.2%=5; 26.4%=4; 32.7%=3; 17.5%=2; 5.2%=1.
  • 1/4 of AP French students, 1/3 of AP German & Italian students, & 2/3 of AP Spanish students are "heritage speakers" of the language.
German Language 12.2% 24.6% 33.2% 20.1% 9.9% Jun 26
  • AP French and AP German exams were the first to be redesigned, so there has been much interest in how students would do this year. Because AP French & German were redesigned, professors met to review each MC & FR question to decide points needed for scores of 5,4,3,2,1.
  • 2012 AP German TOTAL GROUP results: 32.3%=5; 23.5%=4; 24.3%=3; 13.4%=2; 6.5%=1.
  • 1/4 of AP French students, 1/3 of AP German & Italian students, & 2/3 of AP Spanish students are "heritage speakers" of the language.
Government and Politics, Comp. 19.1% 23.7% 18.6% 21.0% 17.6% Jun 22
  • AP Comparative Government & Politics students focus on studying 6 countries: China, Great Britain, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia. This year's AP Comp Gov/Pol students demonstrated deeper and stronger learning outcomes, which translated into more 4s/5s, fewer 1s. AP Comp Gov/Pol students achieved a very high mean score on the 1st short answer re: pros/cons of a one-term limit in Mexico. But AP Comp Gov/Pol students did very poorly on the short answer about corporatism (Q4): ow.ly/bEsKf .
Government and Politics, US 12.5% 14.9% 24.8% 24.6% 23.2% Jun 19
  • AP US Govt/Pol students did exceptionally well on the multiple-choice questions, especially the ones about "citizen beliefs and behavior." Many AP US Govt/Pol students really struggled with free-response question #1, on functions of Congress, which earned the lowest mean score. The great US Govt/Pol multiple-choice scores show that students know content, but low free-response scores show need for focus on writing. 
  • The free-response q on which students achieved the highest mean score was #2, on minority representation in Congress: ow.ly/bGExE.
Human Geography 12.6% 19.5% 20.4% 17.9% 29.6% Jun 12
  • AP Human Geography students showed stronger learning this year than in the past--smaller percentage of 1s, higher percentages of 4s/5s.
  • AP Human Geo students did best on the walls/barrier question (#1), while many struggled with the international migration question (#3).
  • College professors say: AP Human Geo students who score 1s need more critical interpretation of maps and cause/effect focus in essays.
  • In terms of really distinguishing which AP Human Geo students deserve college credit, Q.3 was the most effective: ow.ly/1NCVz7
Italian Language and Culture 10.9% 23.3% 34.4% 23.2% 8.2% Jun 26
  • 2012 AP Italian TOTAL GROUP results: 22.0%=5; 23.8%=4; 28.2%=3; 19.7%=2; 6.3%=1.
  • 1/4 of AP French students, 1/3 of AP German & Italian students, & 2/3 of AP Spanish students are "heritage speakers" of the language
Japanese Lang. and Culture 19.5% 10.9% 31.3% 13.5% 24.8% Jun 22
  • AP Japanese students performed especially well on the compare/contrast writing task: ow.ly/bIEXf. In the multiple-choice section, AP Japanese students did very well on the reading questions, and somewhat well on the listening ones.
  • 2012 AP Japanese TOTAL GROUP results: 44.7%=5; 9.9%=4; 21.7%=3; 18.6%=2; 15.2%=1.
  • 80% of AP Chinese students and 50% of AP Japanese students are "heritage speakers."
Latin 21.4% 17.0% 24.5% 18.3% 18.8% Jun 25
  • AP Latin students performed best on the long essay on Aeneas' encounter w/Venus, & least well on the first translation: ow.ly/bDa5k.
Macroeconomics 13.1% 23.8% 18.2% 18.2% 26.7% Jun 14
  • Let’s hear it for AP Macro/Microeconomics teachers/students, who achieved big score increases, the largest of any subject so far this year.
  • More than 9,000 AP Macroeconomics students earned 9/9 points on the Natl Income Determination q (#3), the q with the best overall results.By contrast, only ~1000 AP Macroeconomics students earned full points on the Monetary Policy question, #1: ow.ly/bAbH4
  • Per the Chief Reader: weak AP Macroecon responses struggled to identify/explain effects of economic changes on internatl economic variables.
Microeconomics 14.8% 28.3% 21.8% 16.3% 18.8% Jun 14
  • Let’s hear it for AP Macro/Microeconomics teachers/students, who achieved big score increases, the largest of any subject so far this year.
  • It's probably not surprising that many students aced the AP Microeconomics multiple-choice questions on the theory of consumer choice.Many AP Microeconomics students really struggled w/this question on Supply/Demand (#3); over 15,000 earned 0/5 pts on it.
  • From the Microecon Chief Reader: more focus needed on calculation of tariff revenue, value of consumer surplus, cross-price elasticity… 
Music Theory 19.3% 17.5% 25.0% 25.0% 13.2% Jun 25
  • More 5s, fewer 1s/2s, in AP Music Theory this year. Researchers are saying the students demonstrated stronger mastery this year. Kudos. Professors who supervised the AP Music Theory scoring say the students had distinctly stronger sight singing skills this year. 
  • AP Music Theory students earned the highest average scores when partwriting from a figured bass (#5): ow.ly/bIF4I. The question that proved most challenging for Music Theory students was #2, melodic dictation.
Physics B 15.0% 19.1% 26.8% 17.2% 21.9% Jun 15
  • Physics B and C:E&M results are almost exactly like last years, but C:Mechanics students knocked it out of the park w/a 19% increase in 5s.
  • In Physics B: the multiple-choice questions on fluids and thermal physics proved most challenging for students.
  • In the Physics B free-response section, students did best on Q1 (classical mechanics) and worst on Q6 (waves/optics): ow.ly/bC0CR
Physics C E&M 32.6% 24.0% 13.9% 17.5% 12.0% Jun 15
  • Physics B and C:E&M results are almost exactly like last years, but C:Mechanics students knocked it out of the park w/a 19% increase in 5s.
  • The Circuits question (#2) was easiest for Physics C:E&M students, & the most challenging was on Magnetic Fields (#3): ow.ly/bC3aQ
Physics C Mech. 31.3% 26.5% 18.9% 12.9% 10.4% Jun 15
  • Physics B and C:E&M results are almost exactly like last years, but C:Mechanics students knocked it out of the park w/a 19% increase in 5s.
  • In Physics C:Mechanics students demonstrated much stronger knowledge and skills than last year, resulting in major increases in 4s & 5s.
  • But Q3 was the toughest question I can remember on a C: Mech exam; ~half of students didn’t earn a single point on it: ow.ly/bC2o3.
Psychology 20.5% 26.1% 19.5% 13.6% 20.3% Jun 13
  • AP Psychology results are in, very similar to last year. Overall: superb multiple-choice scores, poor free-response results.
  • Truly superb performance by students on the AP Psychology multiple-choice questions, particularly questions on social/development psych.
  • Given the nature of the subject, AP Psychology is the one AP subject where many college profs prefer multiple-choice to free-response q's. When AP Psychology was created, many professors argued that it should be a 100% multiple-choice exam, for the sake of measurement precision. But now many psychology professors see the value of the AP Psychology free-response section, a section we really think is essential.
Spanish Language 13.6% 20.4% 23.1% 20.7% 22.1% Jun 26
  • 2012 AP Spanish Language TOTAL GROUP results: 25.0%=5; 26.3%=4; 21.4%=3; 14.9%=2; 12.4%=1. 
  • 1/4 of AP French students, 1/3 of AP German & Italian students, & 2/3 of AP Spanish students are "heritage speakers" of the language.
Spanish Literature 12.4% 19.9% 28.5% 16.7% 22.5% Jun 14
  • The AP Spanish Literature results are in, and they are very similar to last year’s, w/ about 60% of students earning scores of 3 or higher. 
  • AP Spanish Literature students generally performed well on each of the three free-response questions, particularly the poetry analysis.
Statistics 12.2% 20.9% 25.7% 18.1% 23.1% Jun 20
  • AP Statistics students did well on most types of multiple-choice questions, except on topics related to statistical inference.
  • The highest mean score among the AP Statistics free-response questions was on Q2 (Probability and Simulation): ow.ly/bH6Ry. Nearly a third of AP Statistics students earned 0 points on the two free-response questions about statistical inference (#4&5).
Studio Art (portfolios due)
Studio Art 2D (portfolios due) 14.3% 28.5% 32.0% 21.3% 3.9% Jun 26

.

Studio Art 3D (portfolios due) 10.4% 20.4% 34.5% 28.6% 6.1% Jun 26

.

Studio Art Drawing (portfolios due) 13.9% 20.9% 38.6% 22.2% 4.4% Jun 26

.

United States History 11.8% 21.4% 21.7% 26.5% 18.6% Jun 12
  • Kudos to AP US History teachers and students--it's very hard to achieve a higher percentage of 3/4/5s when expanding access--but they did.
  • Many strong AP US History students gravitated to Q.5 (Cold War policy), which earned the highest overall marks of any of the essays.
  • More than 75% of students opted to write on 1920s issues; < 25% opted to write on Cold War policy. See Q.4 & Q.5: ow.ly/bxmr4
  • While ~2/3 of students chose to write on westward expansion (Q.3), the stronger students tended to choose the French/Indian War (Q.2).
  • Many who chose Q.2 on westward expansion did not know chronology well enough to furnish evidence from the stated time period (1800-1850).
  • Q.2 (westward exp) had the lowest scores of the US History essays. 53% of students who opted for this Q earned less than 3 of 9 points.
World History 6.9% 15.7% 30.4% 29.6% 17.5% Jun 20
  • AP World History is a college-level course, & many sophomores aren't yet writing at that level. 10.44% of seniors = 5. 6.62% of sophs = 5. But more than 45% of sophomores ARE getting 3s, 4s on AP World History this year, so that's quite impressive. AP World History students did best on the mc questions covering pre-history – 600 CE, and least well on mc questions covering 1750-1900.