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2019 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.

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AP Score Distributions 2019 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
AP Research
AP Seminar
Art History 12.0% 25.0% 26.9% 24.4% 11.7% Jun 17
  • This year’s AP Art History exam performance is slightly lower than 2018’s highest scores of the decade, but remains higher than performance from 2010-2017.
  • Multiple-choice: the pattern is similar to prior years, suggesting that students are learning African art & Global Contemporary art very well, the topics that earned the highest scores, & need more focus on: 1) architecture; and 2) the art of indigenous Americans.
  • A nice tribute on the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death: Students scored exceptionally well on Q3, which required them to write a visual analysis of his Last Supper. Nearly 30% of the students earned all 6/6 points possible on this question.
  • Definitely the most challenging question for students was Q4, on the historical /religious context for the David Vases: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap19-frq-art-history.pdf?course=ap-art-history
Biology
Calculus AB
Calculus BC
Chemistry
Chinese Lang. and Culture
Computer Science A 27.0% 22.1% 20.8% 11.8% 18.3% Jun 14
  • Another record broken this year, this time by the AP Computer Science A teachers and students, achieving the highest scores yet in that subject. This is especially impressive since those teachers also provided access to ~5,000 more students this year.
  • I’ve never seen so many AP subjects increase performance in a single year. Remember that exam difficulty is statistically equated, students aren't forced into a curve, so when scores increase like this, it’s a reflection of good teaching and learning.
  • A whopping 601 students, out of approximately 70,000 worldwide, earned all 80/80 points possible on this year’s exam.
  • Multiple-choice: students scored very well across every topic, but especially on programming fundamentals (of course) and on logic / software engineering / recursion questions.
  • Many students scored exceptionally well on each of the 4 free-response questions. Nearly a third got 9/9 points on Q3 (arraylist processing – delimiters) and more than half earned 8-9 points on Q1 (methods & control – apcalendar): https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap19-frq-computer-science-a.pdf
Computer Science Principles
English Language 10.1% 18.5% 26.5% 31.1% 13.8% Jun 18
  • This year’s AP English Language & Composition performance is somewhat weaker than last year’s; slightly fewer 5s, more 4s; fewer 3s, more 2s.
  • 2 students so far this year, out of nearly 600,000 worldwide, earned all 150/150 points possible on this year’s exam.
  • Multiple-choice results: students scored best on analysis of 21st century texts, then 20th century texts, with slightly lower performance on texts written prior to 1900.
  • Essays: students generally earned higher scores on Q1 (the synthesis essay), then on Q3 (the argument essay), with lowest performance, as usual, on Q2 (the analysis essay).
English Literature 6.2% 15.9% 28.0% 34.3% 15.6% Jun 14
  • AP English Literature students demonstrated significantly stronger skills of literary analysis this year than in 2018, increasing the % of students scoring 3+ by several points. Kudos to AP teachers for reversing a multi-year decline in literary analysis. Keep up the good work.
  • Multiple-choice: as usual, students scored much higher on prose analysis than poetry analysis, but against what some expected, scored higher on texts written prior to the 20th century than 20th-21st century texts.
  • For the first time I can remember, AP English Lit students scored about as well on the poetry analysis essay (Q1: Page’s “The Landlady”) as they did on the prose analysis (Q2: Howells - excerpt from The Rise of Silas Lapham). Nice job! https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap19-frq-english-literature-0.pdf?course=ap-english-literature-and-composition
  • For Q3, students overwhelmingly chose to write about The Great Gatsby. Other frequent choices: Brave New World; To Kill a Mockingbird; Frankenstein; The Awakening; 1984; Hamlet; Invisible Man.
Environmental Science 9.5% 25.9% 14.2% 25.5% 24.9% Jun 11
  • Nice work! This year's AP Environmental Science students achieved the highest % of exams scoring 3+ in this subject this decade. The planet Earth says congrats and thank you.
  • Students scored exceptionally well on multiple-choice questions about "population" and "land and water use" but struggled on questions about "global change."
  • Free-response questions: students generally scored best on the ocean acidification question (#3), and scored worst on the two questions that require scientific calculations (#2, #4): https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/apc/ap19-frq-environmental-science.pdf
European History 11.7% 20.6% 26.1% 29.4% 12.2% Jun 18
  • This year’s AP European History scores are slightly stronger than last year’s, with a slightly higher percentage of 3s and 4s, and fewer 2s>
  • 2 students so far, out of ~100,000 worldwide, earned all 140/140 points possible on this year’s exam.
  • Multiple-choice section: students scored very well across all periods of the course, but noticeably stronger on Period 1 (1450-1648), with performance incrementally lower across periods 2, then 3, then 4.
  • Short answer questions: students demonstrated exceptionally strong knowledge on Q4 (British industrialization), and many scored well on Q3 (Protestant Reformation), but often struggled on Q1 (Russian Revolution) and Q2 (Enlightenment).
  • DBQ: 76% of students earned the thesis point; 48% earned the contextualization point; 19% earned all 3 evidence points, 40% earned 2 evidence points, & 35% earned 1 evidence point; 5% earned both analysis points, & 22% earned 1 analysis point.
  • Long essays: students who chose Q2 generally demonstrated stronger knowledge/skills than those who chose Q3 and Q4. This is a generalization, as there were very good essays for each choice, but Q2 had the highest avg score.
French Language
German Language
Government and Politics, Comp.
Government and Politics, US
Human Geography 10.7% 18.3% 20.1% 16.9% 33.9% Jun 11
  • The percentage of students earning 3+ in AP Human Geography is the lowest it’s been this decade; this year, many more students failed to demonstrate the content/skills required for college credit, making this the only subject in which more than a 1/3 of AP students score a 1.
  • Students generally scored well across all multiple-choice topics, w/ especially high performance on “cultural patterns & processes.” Most challenging topics were “agricultural & rural land use,” “cities and urban land use,” & “political organization of space.”
  • there were two versions of the exam taken by large numbers of students, so I’ll report first on the “Set 1” questions (https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap19-frq-human-geography-set-1.pdf) then on the “Set 2” questions (https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap19-frq-human-geography-set-2.pdf).
  • "Set 1” results: students generally scored well on Q2 (infant mortality rate: 37% of students score 5+ out of 7 points possible) but really struggled with Q3 (devolution: 32% of students scored 0/6 points).
  • “Set 2” results: students performed better on Q1 (postindustrial economy) than on Q2 (urban landscapes) and Q3 (international boundaries), but generally struggled on all three questions.
  • “Set 2” proved more difficult for students than “Set 1,” so the cutscores (points required for grades of 2, 3, 4, 5) on the two sets are different so that the standards for students are the same, regardless of which set they took.
  • To ensure equivalent AP Human Geography standards for the two exam versions taken by most students: statistical analysis found that to earn a score of 3+, “Set 2” students can earn 7 fewer points on the 120-point exam than “Set 1” students.
Italian Language and Culture
Japanese Lang. and Culture
Latin 13.1% 19.3% 30.7% 24.1% 12.8% Jun 19
  • This year’s AP Latin proficiency is generally lower than last year’s, so a smaller number of students will receive scores of 3+ this year.
  • Students performed evenly across the multiple-choice section, whether the task required reading of Vergil or Caesar, poetry or prose.
  • Free-response questions: students generally scored higher on the Caesar translation than the Vergil translation, while scoring higher on the Vergil short answer than the Caesar short answer: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap19-frq-latin.pdf
  •  
Macroeconomics 17.6% 22.9% 17.4% 15.3% 26.9% Jun 12
  • This year’s AP Macroeconomics students fell just slightly behind 2018’s all-time high performance, but still achieved a higher percentage of 3,4,5s than students from 2010-2017.
  • So far: 64  students, out of ~145,000 worldwide, have earned all 90/90 points possible on this year’s exam.
  • As has frequently been the case, students scored lowest on multiple-choice questions about the “financial sector,” but scored well on “economic measurements,” “national income determination,“ and “economic growth.”For AP Macroeconomics, I’ll report on the two versions of the exam taken by large numbers of students: first the “Set 1” questions (https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap19-frq-macroeconomics-set-1.pdf) then the “Set 2” questions (https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap19-frq-macroeconomics-set-2-0.pdf)
  • “Set 1” results: students demonstrated steady performance across all 3 questions, with about 25% of students earning the two highest points possible on each question.
  • “Set 2” results: students scored very high on Q3 (production of food / capital goods) but many really struggled with Q2 (US dollar vs Euro).
  • Overall, the Set 2 questions proved to be slightly easier than the Set 1 questions, so to ensure the standards are the same regardless of which version a student takes, students who had the Set 2 questions must earn 2 more points on the 90-point scale to earn an AP 3+.
Microeconomics 22.2% 28.4% 17.8% 12.4% 19.2% Jun 12
  • This year’s AP Microeconomics scores break the record for highest-ever scores in this subject. An astonishing half of them achieved 4s and 5s this year. Impressive work, AP Micro teachers and students!
  • Out of ~66,000  students worldwide, 35 so far this year have earned all 90/90 points possible on this year’s exam.
  • Students scored exceptionally well on multiple-choice questions about “production and costs,” and struggled somewhat on questions about “firm behavior and mkt structure.”
  • I’ll report on the two versions of the exam taken by large numbers of students: first the “Set 1” questions (https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap19-frq-microeconomics-set-1.pdf?course=ap-microeconomics) then the “Set 2” questions (https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap19-frq-microeconomics-set-2.pdf?course=ap-microeconomics).
  • “Set 1” results: student performance on Q1 (monopoly) and Q3 (oligopoly/game theory) was solid; many found Q2 (consumer theory) very challenging; it was the most difficult aspect of this year’s exam.
  • “Set 2” results: students scored very high on Q3 (profit maximizing; 32% of students earned 6/6 pts on it), and also had solid performance on Q1 and Q2 (supply/demand).
  • Overall, the Set 2 questions proved to be slightly easier than the Set 1 questions, so statistical analysis determined that students who had the Set 2 questions must earn 3 more points on the 90-point scale to earn an AP 3+.
Music Theory
Physics 1 - Algebra Based 6.2% 17.8% 20.6% 29.3% 26.1% Jun 13
  • Overall, this year’s AP Physics 1 students demonstrated significantly stronger understanding and skills than prior groups; accordingly, there’s a significant increase in the percentage of students earning 3s, 4s, and 5s, the highest scores yet on this exam.
  • 3 students, out of ~170,000 worldwide, earned all 80/80 points on this year’s AP Physics 1 exam.
  • Multiple-choice: no significant variation in performance across topics and skills; “wave models and applications” had slightly higher scores than questions on the other big ideas; “interactions between systems” had slightly lower.
  • Free-response: students scored best on Q1 (kinematics, collisions, angular momentum), but also scored quite well on Q3 (experimental design, energy). https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/apc/ap19-frq-physics-1.pdf
  • Performance: the biggest barrier to higher performance remains Q4, which requires students to write a paragraph explaining a physics concept. 20,000 students earned high scores on this question; 40,000 didn’t even attempt it, scoring 0/7 pts.
  • Students need more support developing and practicing the conceptual understanding of physics required for scores of 3+; to help we’re providing a free AP Physics 1 workbook, student and teacher editions available on our website for AP teachers to download from mid-July.
  • The new AP Physics 1 workbook contains 150 new & unique scenarios, for all units in the course, for use as classwork, homework, group assignments or quizzes. Also, from Aug 1, we’re providing free online practice students can access on their phones for every topic in the class.
Physics 2 - Algebra Based 12.6% 19.8% 31.1% 27.8% 8.7% Jun 13
  • This is the 5th year of the AP Physics 2 exam, & each year, student learning & achievement has increased, from ~8% scores of 5 in 2014 to ~12.6% scores of 5 this year. In other words: this year’s AP Physics 2 students have achieved the highest % of scores of 3+ yet for this exam.
  • 1 student, out of ~25,000 worldwide, earned all 80/80 points possible on this year’s AP Physics 2 exam.
  • AP Physics 2 multiple-choice: students demonstrated solid work on “wave models and applications” and “conservation laws” and strong skills in “data analysis and understanding.” Lowest scores were on “interactions between objects” and “plans/implements data collection.”
  • AP Physics 2 free-response: students triumphed over Q2 on circuits. Nearly 20% earned all 12/12 points possible on it. Nice work. The most difficult question was Q4 on optics/fluids/thermal; the mean score was 3.7 out of 10 pts possible.https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap19-frq-physics-2.pdf?course=ap-physics-2
Physics C E&M 34.6% 22.6% 13.9% 17.8% 11.1% Jun 13
Physics C Mech. 35.9% 27.2% 18.0% 10.4% 8.4% Jun 13
  • Yet another subject breaks a record this year: AP Physics C: Mechanics students have earned the highest scores this decade, ~36% (!) scoring a 5, compared to ~27% a decade ago. More than 80% scored 3+. Congrats and thanks. Our infrastructure, current and future, needs you.
  • 1 student so far, out of ~58,000 worldwide, achieved all 90/90 points possible on this year’s AP Physics C: Mechanics exam.
  • I’ll report on the two sets of AP Physics C: Mechanics questions taken by the largest number of students. Here are links to the free-response questions in those sets -- “Set 1”: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap19-frq-physics-c-mech-set-1-0.pdf and “Set 2”: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap19-frq-physics-c-mech-set-2.pdf
  • AP Physics C: Mechanics free-response results: in both sets, question 3 was somewhat more challenging for students than 1 & 2. Set 2 was slightly easier than Set 1, so Set 2 students must earn 3 more points than Set 1 students to earn a score of 3+.
Psychology
Spanish Language
Spanish Literature 9.1% 24.4% 38.4% 21.9% 6.2% Jun 19
  • This year’s AP Spanish Literature students generally demonstrated strong reading and analytic skills, significantly increasing the number earning scores of 3+.
  • Multiple-choice: Students scored highest on questions about the readings that were not on the required list, and least well (as in prior years) on critical commentary questions. The free, new resources (available Aug 1) can help with this.
  • Students generally scored lowest on Q3, the analysis of San Manuel Bueno, mártir, but scored very well on Q1 (Alfonsina Storni) and Q2 (the text / art comparison): https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap19-frq-spanish-literature.pdf?course=ap-spanish-literature-and-culture
Statistics
Studio Art 2D (portfolios due)
Studio Art 3D (portfolios due)
Studio Art Drawing (portfolios due)
United States History
World History 8.7% 19.0% 28.3% 28.9% 15.1% Jun 17
  • This year’s AP World History performance is very similar to last year’s. It’s remarkable that AP teachers maintained that level of performance while providing ~20,000 more students with the opportunity to take this college-level course.
  • 1 student so far this year, out of more than 300,000 worldwide, earned all 140/140 points possible on this year’s exam. I can’t wait to send her/him a letter, as I’ve never before seen anyone earn every point possible on this vast exam.
  • Multiple-choice: students scored well across multiple-choice topics: highest on questions about periods 1-2 (to 600 C.E.) and lowest (but still solid) on questions about period 6 (1900-present).
  • DBQ: 68% of students earned the thesis point; 27% earned the contextualization point; 3% earned all 3 evidence points, 27% earned 2 evidence points, and 62% earned 1 evidence point; 0.4% of students earned both analysis points, and 8% earned 1 analysis point.
  • Many students really struggled with the short answer questions: Q1 (34% scored 0); Q2 (15% scored 0); Q3 (27% scored 0); Q4 (39% scored 0). To boost the % of exams earning credit, more students will need to be able to answer these as college students do.
  • Long essays: students choosing Q4 (20th C economic policies) generally scored highest, followed by Q2 (empires/trade), w/ lowest scores generally on Q3 (many students wrote about the industrial revolution rather than the specified timeframe of 600 – 1450 CE).