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Home >> AP Scholar -What Does It Mean and Why does it Matter

AP Scholar -What Does It Mean and Why does it Matter

What is AP scholar with honors ? When a student earns high scores on multiple Advanced Placement (AP) exams, they become eligible for the AP Scholar awards. These awards are given by the College Board, and take into consideration the number of AP exams a student has gotten a high score on, their average AP exam score, and where they go to school.

Although becoming an AP Scholar is gratifying after lots of hard work, it’s also important to make sure your workload is balanced and other classes don’t fall by the wayside. So what do you need to achieve to become one? What does it mean if you do become one? Let’s talk about it!

An AP Scholar is…

A student who is recognized by the College Board for doing well on several AP exams. Students don’t have to apply for the award—they’re entered simply by taking the exam. The distinction will be added the students’ online score report. They will be notified of any awards they receive during mid-July via email.

Recognition as an AP Scholar means…

Three concentrated students doing an exam in a classroom

You have one more impressive accomplishment to include on your resume and college applications, and it’ll be shown on your AP exam scores. You’ll also earn a coveted certificate to commemorate your hard work.


AP Scholar status will…

Help you stand out from the competition when you’re applying to schools. Universities don’t just look at your GPA—they’ll also consider your AP performance and strength of schedule. If you do well enough on your AP exams you may earn college credit, which will also put you ahead of the game. With credit under your belt from the beginning, you’ll have more room in your schedule for a second major, or elective courses you otherwise wouldn’t be able to take. Other benefits include local recognition in your school district.

AP Scholar awards are broken down by…

Levels, depending on three primary criteria:

  • The number of AP exams on which you’ve earned a 3 or higher
  • Your average AP exam score
  • Where you go to high school

As you take additional AP classes throughout your high school career, you become eligible to receive the next level of award. Here’s a breakdown of the different levels of the award and the requirements needed to earn them:

  • AP Scholar: Students who earn a 3 or higher on 3 or more AP exams
  • AP Scholar with Honor: Students who average a minimum score of 3.25 on their AP exams they take and score a 3 or higher on at least four of those exams
  • AP Scholar with Distinction: Students average a minimum score of 3.5 on their AP exams and score a 3 or higher on at least five of those exams
  • State AP Scholar: One male and one female student in each state who score a 3 or higher on the highest number of AP exams, and have the highest average score on all of the exams they take.
  • National AP Scholar: Students who average a score of 4 or higher on all the AP exams they take, and score a 4 or higher on at least eight of those exams
  • DoDEA AP Scholar: One male and one female student with the highest average scores who attend one of the Department of Defense Education Activity schools
  • International AP Scholar: One male and one female student outside the United States or Canada with the highest average score on the greatest number of AP exams
  • Seminar and Research Certificate: Students who earn a 3 or higher in both AP Research and AP Seminar
  • Capstone Diploma: Students who earn a 3 or higher in AP Research and AP Seminar and any four additional exams

To become an AP Scholar, you need to…

Take AP classes! Then take that one step further and score at least a 3 on each exam you take, regardless of the minimum score needed for the awards. Your average score plays a crucial part in your eligibility so each score is important. Lower exam scores will lower your score average and potentially hinder you from meeting the award requirements.


You should take AP classes during…Your junior year. That way, admissions offices will see your junior-year scores—and possibly your award—when you submit your application. At the same time, certain AP classes are more challenging than others, and colleges know that. Loading up on the less rigorous AP classes just to get high scores seems like a smart approach, but unfortunately not one that will work. If you take an AP exam more than once during high school, only your higher score will be counted.

You can increase your chances for success by…Studying successfully. Every student has their own study style in their regular curriculum, and AP studying is no different. Some students may opt for flashcards, while others rely on note taking, videos, or practice quizzes. During these quizzes, you can practice smart test-taking strategies like process of elimination, how to pace yourself, and knowing when to skip a question. You can use these results as a resource to help identify what areas need work. There are many helpful apps that you can download to see practice questions and take quizzes. Stutorialz offers exhaustive practice tests and quizzes on their LMS.

To embark on the AP Scholar journey, you should…

Follow this checklist:

  • Sign up for AP classes that play to your strengths and interests
  • Participate in your AP classes and be conscientious about your work
  • Organize study groups with your AP peers, use resources like study books, and seek extra help from your teachers
  • Stay healthy by staying rested and eating well
  • Use practice tests to get comfortable with the format
  • On test days, eat a good breakfast and don’t try to cram information at the last minute
  • Arrive to your testing center early so nothing gets in the way of your success

Now that you have all of these tips under your belt… Start by taking three AP courses during you junior year, and try to score a 3 or higher on each of them. This is no easy feat, so don’t lose confidence if the numbers don’t exactly go your way. Although AP Scholar status will strengthen your college applications, it is by no means make or break, so just do your best! Stutorialz offers tutoring and practice tests to help to further your AP grades. Click here for the courses offered.


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