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    What are AP Scholar Awards?

    By Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman

    Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman is a content editor and writer at Scholarships360. He has managed communications and written content for a diverse array of organizations, including a farmer’s market, a concert venue, a student farm, an environmental NGO, and a PR agency. Gabriel graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in sociology.

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    Reviewed by Caitlyn Cole

    Caitlyn Cole is a college access professional with a decade of experience in non-profit program and project management for college readiness and access organizations.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: February 6th, 2024
    What are AP Scholar Awards?

    The College Board offers AP Scholar Awards to students who perform exceptionally on AP Exams. But what are the benefits of these awards, and how do students apply for them?

    In this article, we’ll explain all of that and more. We’ll start by summarizing what AP Exams are and follow that up with a short description of AP Scholar Awards. Then, we’ll get into the benefits these awards have for students and give you some other resources for AP Exams. Let’s get started!

    What are AP Exams?

    The College Board offers AP Exams to assess a student’s proficiency in a particular topic. These exams are made to match AP Courses, a set of course curriculums that the College Board designs to be taught at high schools all over the United States. After a student completes their course, they can take an AP Exam that assesses their knowledge of everything they learned.

    These exams can award the student with class placement and/or class credit in college. Although they do not impact the student’s grade in the class, they can help bolster their college application if the student chooses to showcase their score. And beyond that, they can qualify students for AP Scholar Awards.

    What are the AP Scholar Awards?

    The College Board offers AP Scholar Awards to students who perform well across multiple AP Exams. There are a few different AP Scholar Awards for different levels of AP achievement. Here are the different descriptions of the award according to the College Board:

    Types of AP Scholar Awards

    Award Criteria
    AP Scholar Must earn scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams.
    AP Scholar with Honor Must earn an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and score 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.
    AP Scholar with Distinction Must earn an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken and score 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.
    AP International Diploma (APID) Visit APID to see the criteria for this award.

    How to receive your AP Scholar Award

    If you meet the College Board’s criteria listed above, you should get your AP Scholar Award automatically. They will contact you when they send you your scores and inform you that you’ve won an AP Scholar Award.

    If you believe that you have met these criteria, but haven’t heard from the College Board, try contacting them. This could occur if you are using scores from multiple years and there was an incongruence in your account.

    Benefits of receiving an AP Scholar Award

    The benefits of an AP Scholar Award all come in being able to put it on your resume and college applications. It’s an impressive achievement that demonstrates to colleges, universities, and internships that you have completed several college-level courses and excelled in them.

    This could help tip the scales on admissions decisions by colleges and potentially even on scholarships. The benefits of the award also come in the form of the college credit and placement that those AP scores may grant you. This advantage depends on the university you choose, however.

    Key Takeaways

    Key Takeaways

    • Becoming an AP scholar is not easy, but if you are already taking AP class or exams, it is certainly something that you should keep in mind and aim to achieve. Earning AP scholars awards can look quite good on college applications
    • The AP Scholar awards are about how well you do on AP exams, and do not factor in the grade you receive in the actual class. However, how you perform in a class may be a good indicator of how the exam will go
    • The College Board may use tests from the current academic year and previous years, but they will never use two scores from the same test in determining your scholar status. If you have taken an exam for a subject multiple times, they will simply use the highest score
    • Check your College Board account in order to inquire about your status as a scholar; if you believe you should have received an award, but did not, don’t be afraid to reach out

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    Frequently asked questions about AP scholar awards

    Do I have to take all my AP tests in the same year to win an AP Scholar Award?

    You do not! You can combine AP Test results from multiple years to qualify for an AP Scholar Award.

    Does the AP Scholar Award come with a scholarship?

    The AP Scholar Award does not come with a scholarship or any type of monetary award. However, it may make schools more interested in you, and convince them to offer you additional merit scholarships.

    Do colleges care about the AP Scholar Award?

    In a short answer – yes! An AP Scholar Award shows that you have been successful in completing several college-level classes and suggests that you’ll continue to succeed should they admit you to their school.

    However, it’s worth noting that significance may vary by school. Some schools weigh AP Test scores more heavily than others. So, although an AP Scholar Award is definitely a boost to your application, it may be a heavier advantage at some universities than at others.

    How do I get a good AP Exam score?

    The best way to get a good AP Exam score is to stay on top of your coursework all semester long. If you do well in your AP Course, you should do well on the exam. And if you are self-studying, make sure to start studying early and maintain a constant schedule. And for some tips to make sure you’re in great shape on the day of the exam, check out our tips for reducing test anxiety!

    How much do AP exams cost?

    AP exams cost $98 per test, or $62 if you qualify for a reduced fee waiver. If you wait until the last minute to register for an exam though, you’ll have to pay an additional $40 late fee. So, ensure that you talk to your school’s AP Coordinator well in advance in order to avoid this fee. Additionally, AP Research and Seminar exams cost $146 per exam. Finally, keep in mind that unused or canceled exams may still cost you money if you do not cancel them in time.

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