AP English Language Score and College Credit Information

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

Students with strong English language skills might earn college credit with the AP English Language exam.
Students with strong English language skills might earn college credit with the AP English Language exam. PeopleImages.com / Getty Images

English language is one of the most popular Advanced Placement subjects, and in 2016 over 547,000 students took the exam. The AP English Language exam consists of a one-hour multiple choice section and a two-hour and fifteen-minute free-response writing section. Many colleges and universities have a writing requirement, and a high score on the AP English Language exam will sometimes fulfill that requirement.

55.4% of test-takers received a score of a 3 or higher and the possibility of receiving college placement. As you'll see below, however, the majority of selective colleges and universities want to see a score of at least a 4 before they will award college credit. Two of the schools in the table--Stanford and Reed--do not give any credit for the exam regardless of your test score.

The AP English Language exam had a mean score of 2.82, and the scores were distributed as follows: (2016 data):

  • 5 - 10.7%
  • 4 - 17.6%
  • 3 - 27.1%
  • 2 - 32.1%
  • 1 - 12.6%

The table below presents some representative data from a variety of colleges and universities. This information is meant to provide a sampling of the scoring and placement information related to the AP English Language exam. AP placement guidelines change frequently at colleges, so you'll want to check with the Registrar to get the most up-to-date information.

AP English Language Scores and Placement
CollegeScore NeededPlacement Credit
Georgia Tech4 or 5ENGL 1101 (3 credits)
Grinnell College4 or 54 credits in humanities (not for major credit)
Hamilton College4 or 5Placement into some 200-level courses; 2 credits for score of 5 and B- or higher in a 200-level course
LSU3, 4 or 5ENGL 1001 (3 credits) for a 3; ENGL 1001 and 2025 or 2027 or 2029 or 2123 (6 credits) for a 4; ENGL 1001, 2025 or 2027 or 2029 or 2123, and 2000 (9 credits) for a 5
Mississippi State University3, 4 or 5EN 1103 (3 credits) for a 3; EN 1103 and 1113 (6 credits) for a 4 or 5
Notre Dame4 or 5First Year Composition 13100 (3 credits)
Reed College-No credit for AP English Language
Stanford University-No credit for AP English Language
Truman State University3, 4 or 5ENG 190 Writing as Critical Thinking (3 credits)
UCLA (School of Letters and Science)3, 4 or 58 credits and entry writing requirement for a 3; 8 credits, entry writing requirement and English Comp Writing I requirement for a 4 or 5
Yale University52 credits; ENGL 114a or b, 115a or b, 116b, 117b

More About Advanced Placement Classes:

Even if you are applying to a university like Stanford that does not accept the Advanced Placement English Language exam for credit, the course still has value. For one, you'll develop important skills that will help you with writing in all of your college classes. Also, when you apply to colleges, the rigor of your high school classes is an important factor in the admissions equation. Nothing predicts future college success than earning high grades in challenging college preparatory classes such as AP English Language.

Score and placement info for other AP subjects: Biology | Calculus AB | Calculus BC | Chemistry | English Language | English Literature | European History | Physics 1 | Psychology | Spanish Language | Statistics | U.S. Government | U.S. History | World History

For more information on AP classes and exams, check out these articles:

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

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Grove, Allen. "AP English Language Score and College Credit Information." ThoughtCo, Jan. 13, 2017, thoughtco.com/ap-english-language-score-information-786949. Grove, Allen. (2017, January 13). AP English Language Score and College Credit Information. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ap-english-language-score-information-786949 Grove, Allen. "AP English Language Score and College Credit Information." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ap-english-language-score-information-786949 (accessed January 20, 2018).