AP® Exam Info For Dummies

The AP® exams are an important indicator for college applications. If you haven’t pursued the IB® program, AP® exams can be a strong credential for both American and British universities. In recent years, SAT® scores are no longer the sole criteria used by American universities, and even popular public universities in California, such as UCLA and UC Berkeley, have stopped considering SAT scores. Therefore, in addition to maintaining a good GPA in high school, AP® exams have become a crucial factor in college applications. It is recommended that students take AP® exams during their high school years to increase their chances of admission to universities.

*Note: Some universities still consider SAT/ACT scores. Please refer to the official announcements for specific requirements of each institution.

1. What is AP® ?

Advanced Placement (AP®), administered by the College Board (the organization behind the SAT®), provides high school students with the opportunity to take college-level courses and exams. AP® exams prioritize granting college credits based on students’ scores and the policies of the colleges they plan to attend.

Benefits of taking AP® exams:

  • Preparing for college-level courses in high school, gaining specialized academic knowledge, and gaining a deeper understanding of subjects.
  • Earning college credits by achieving corresponding scores, saving time and money.
  • Increasing chances of admission by demonstrating dedication to a specific subject and the ability to tackle advanced coursework. AP® exams become an important factor in college admissions.

2. AP® Course subject

AP® courses are divided into 7 categories, consisting of a total of 41 subjects. There are 36 subjects that are assessed through exams, while others are assessed through portfolios or specific methods.

The related content is available at this link.

(1) Course Subjects

*Subjects provided by VALOUR are highlighted in color*

  • English Language and Composition
  • English Literature and Composition
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental Science
  • Physics 1: Algebra-Based
  • Physics 2: Algebra-Based
  • Physics C: Mechanics
  • Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
  • Comparative Government and Politics
  • Human Geography
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Psychology
  • U.S. Government and Politics
  • U.S. History
  • World History: Modern
  • European History
  • Calculus AB
  • Calculus BC
  • Precalculus
  • Computer Science A
  • Computer Science Principles
  • Statistics
  • Adopt Computer Science Principles
  • Adopt Precalculus
  • Spanish Language and Culture
  • Spanish Literature and Culture
  • French Language and Culture
  • German Language and Culture
  • Italian Language and Culture
  • Chinese Language and Culture
  • Japanese Language and Culture
  • Latin
  • Art History
  • Music Theory
  • Drawing
  • 2D Art and Design
  • 3D Art and Design
  • Research
  • Seminar

(2) How to choose AP® subjects?

It is recommended for students to choose AP® subjects based on their interests or strengths in specific subjects. If you already have a desired major or university in mind, it is highly recommended to research whether they have any specific AP exam requirements and prepare accordingly. If there are no specific requirements, you can choose related subjects to enhance your background and connection to your intended major.

For students who are still exploring their future directions, VALOUR suggests selecting subjects that are widely accepted by most universities.
Here are some recommended subject choices:
AP Calculus AB/BC, AP Physics C (Mech and E&M), AP Chemistry, AP English Lang/Lit, Any AP Foreign Languages.

These subjects, when included on your transcript, can significantly enhance your competitiveness. Taking AP English Language and Composition/Literature and Composition may even exempt you from taking any English courses in college.
If you want to further enhance your transcript, VALOUR also recommends selecting AP Social Studies (except Human Geo), AP Bio AP Stats, or AP Computer Science A.

(3) Question Format

The AP® exam consists of two main sections: multiple-choice questions and free-response questions.

  • Multiple-choice questions:
    Each question requires you to select one answer from 4 to 5 options.
    Your score is based solely on the number of correctly answered questions. You will not gain or lose points for incorrect answers or unanswered questions.
  • Free-response questions:
    The response format usually requires you to provide your own perspective. Depending on the specific exam, it may involve writing an essay, providing a solution to a problem, or giving an oral response.

(4) Grading Criteria

The highest possible score on the AP® exam is 5. If you aim to earn college credits, VALOUR recommends aiming for a score of at least 4.

5 Extremely well qualified A+, A
4 Very well qualified A-, B+, B
3 Qualified B-, C+, C
2 Possibly qualified N/A
1 No recommendation N/A

3. AP Taiwan Exam Information

(1) Dates

The AP exams are typically held in May each year, with only one administration per year. The exam dates and times vary for different subjects.
The main exam sessions are held in the morning at 8:00 a.m. and in the afternoon at 12:00 p.m., with 2-3 exams taking place simultaneously.
The duration of each exam is approximately 2-3 hours, and the exam fee for each subject is $127 USD (around NT$4000).
For more detailed information about each subject, you can find it at the following link.


(2) Exam Locations in Taiwan

There are a total of 38 exam centers in Taiwan. For more information on specific exam locations, please refer to the AP Course Ledger.

Here are some major exam centers in the northern, central, and southern regions:

Taipei and
New Taipei City
Dominican International School
Grace Christian Academy
The Primacy Collegiate Academy
Taipei American School
Taipei Fuhsing Private School
Taipei Municipal Zhong Zheng Senior High School
Taipei Wego Private Senior High School
VIS International School
Catholic DaRen Girls’ High School
Asia American International Academy
Kang Chiao International School, Linkou Campus
Morrison Academy
Yuteh International School
Taichung American School in Taichung
National Experimental High School At Hsinchu Science Park
Ivy Collegiate Academy
Ming Dao High School
Morrison Academy Taichung
Hong Wen International School
Taichung Second Senior High School
WAGOR High School
Washington High School
Kaohsiung Morrison Academy Kaohsiung
Kaohsiung American School


*Text description of the image:

  • YEAR 10: Preliminary Understanding
    Start exploring AP courses/exams and research the requirements of desired majors/universities
  • YEAR 11 April-June Select exam subjects
    • With VALOUR: Pre-consultation and planning, customized course schedule, AP course preview
  • Y11 July – Y12 March Exam preparation/Final sprint period
    Register for AP Learning Account (August/September), exam registration/venue selection (October/November), consult School Counsellor for AP registration information/costs (also inquire about fee reduction eligibility)

    • With VALOUR: Customized study materials, ample examples/simulated practice, regular one-on-one meetings
  • YEAR 12 March-April Mock exam practice period
    Review course content, extensive simulated exam practice

    • With VALOUR: Mock exam with standardized regulations, official grading aligned with exam standards, qualitative/quantitative performance assessment
  • YEAR 12 May
    Official exams, prepared and achieved a perfect score!
  • YEAR 12 July
    Sending exam scores to universities

5. FAQ

(1) When should I start preparing for AP exams?

VALOUR recommends starting to familiarize yourself with AP courses and exams during your freshman year (Grade 9). Begin by researching the requirements of the majors/universities you are interested in and gaining a preliminary understanding of the subjects that are considered by those departments/schools. Start preparing for at least one AP subject.

In your sophomore year (Grade 10), delve deeper into the specific subjects required for exams and prepare for two AP subjects. In your junior year (Grade 11), prepare for an additional two subjects. Starting early allows you to gain an advantage during the university application process and gives you ample time for revision without feeling rushed.

(2) How many AP subjects should I take?

VALOUR recommends preparing for 3-5 AP subjects during high school. It’s more important to excel in the subjects you choose rather than taking an excessive number.

(3) Can I use my AP scores to apply to universities outside of the United States?

AP scores are accepted by over 500 universities in more than 75 countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Many universities consider AP scores for admissions, credit transfer, and scholarship decisions. Examples include the University of Cambridge (UK), University of Oxford (UK), University of Sydney (Australia), University of Toronto (Canada), University of Ottawa (Canada), and many more.

For more detailed information, please visit the following website.