AP Calculus AB Exam Information

Learn What Score You'll Need and What Course Credit You'll Receive

Students Taking Exam
Students Taking Exam. Fuse / Getty Images

The AP Calculus AB exam covers functions, graphs, limits, derivatives, and integrals. In 2016, over 308,000 students took the exam. The mean score was 2.96. Most colleges and universities have a math or quantitative reasoning requirement, so a high score on the AP Calculus AB exam will sometimes fulfill this requirement. Note that AP Calculus AB, unlike AP Calculus BC, does not cover polynomial approximations and series.

The AP Calculus BC exam often offers higher placement and more course credit than AP Calculus AB.

The table below presents some representative data from a variety of colleges and universities. This information is meant to provide a general overview of the scoring and placement practices related to the AP Calculus AB exam. For schools not listed here, you'll need to search the college's website or contact the appropriate Registrar's office to get AP placement information, and you'll also want to confirm the most recent placement guidelines for the schools mentioned here.

The distribution of scores for the AP Calculus AB exam is as follows, according to 2016 data:

  • 5 - 24.8%
  • 4 - 17.3%
  • 3 - 17.4%
  • 2 - 9.7%
  • 1 - 30.7%

To learn more specific information about the AP Calculus AB exam, be sure to visit the official College Board website.

AP Calculus AB Scores and Placement
CollegeScore NeededPlacement Credit
Georgia Tech4 or 5MATH 1501 (4 semester hours)
Grinnell College4 or 54 semester credits (conditional credit for a 3); MAT 123, 124, 131
LSU3, 4 or 5MATH 1431 or 1441 (3 credits) for a 3; MATH 1550 (5 credits) for a 4 or 5
MIT4 or 5no credit; placement in accelerated calculus
Mississippi State University3, 4 or 5MA 1713 (3 credits)
Notre Dame3, 4 or 5Mathematics 10250 (3 credits) for a 3; Mathematics 10550 (4 credits) for a 4 or 5
Reed College4 or 51 credit; placement determined in consultation with the faculty
Stanford University4 or 5MATH 42 (5 quarter units) for a 4; MATH 51 (10 quarter units) for a 5
Truman State University3, 4 or 5MATH 192 Essentials of Calculus (4 credits) for a 3; MATH 198 Analytic Geometry & Calculus I (5 credits) for a 4 or 5
UCLA (School of Letters and Science)3, 4 or 54 credits and Calculus for a 3 or 4; 4 credits and MATH 31A for a 5
Yale University51 credit

 

Finally, keep in mind that even if the college you plan to attend does not give credit for the AP Calculus AB exam, doing well can strengthen your application. Success in AP courses is often a much better measure of an applicant's college readiness than SAT scores, class rank, and other measures. In general, the most important part of any college application is a success in a rigorous high school curriculum that includes AP, IB, Honors, and/or Dual Enrollment classes.