AP Psychology Score and College Credit Information

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

Studying the Brain
Studying the Brain. Chris Hope / Flickr

Score and placement info for AP: 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

The AP Psychology exam covers research methods, social and biological bases of behavior, perception, learning, developmental psychology, testing, treatment and other topics.

AP Psychology is one of the more popular Advanced Placement subjects, and in 2017 over 302,000 students took the exam. Of those, about 194,000 thousand scored a three or higher and could potentially earn college credit (although most selective schools look for a 4 or higher). The mean score was a 3.06.

The distribution of scores for the AP Psychology exam is as follows (2017 data):

  • 5 - 19.1%
  • 4 - 25.1%
  • 3 - 20.0%
  • 2 - 14.6%
  • 1 - 22.2%

AP Psychology Placement Information

Most colleges and universities have a social science requirement as part of their core curriculum, so a high score on the AP Psychology exam will sometimes fulfill that requirement. Even if it doesn't, taking the AP Psychology course will help prepare you for college psychology courses, and having some background in psychology can also be useful in other areas of study such as literary analysis (to understand, for example, why characters in a novel behave the way they do).

The table below provides some representative data from a variety of colleges and universities. This information is meant to provide a general overview of the scoring and placement information related to the AP Psychology exam. You'll need to contact the appropriate Registrar's office to get AP placement information for a particular college, and even for the colleges below, the placement information will change from year to year as the AP exam changes and college standards evolve.

AP Psychology Scores and Placement
CollegeScore NeededPlacement Credit
Hamilton College4 or 5Intro to Psych Prerequisite Waived for 200-level Psych classes
Grinnell College4 or 5PSY 113
LSU4 or 5PSYC 200 (3 credits)
Mississippi State University4 or 5PSY 1013 (3 credits)
Notre Dame4 or 5Psychology 10000 (3 credits)
Reed College4 or 51 credit; no placement
Stanford University-No credit for AP Psychology
Truman State University3, 4 or 5PSYC 166 (3 credits)
UCLA (School of Letters and Science)3, 4 or 54 credits; PSYCH 10 placement for a 4 or 5
Yale University-No credit for AP Psychology

More About AP Exams:

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

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

Aside from college credit and college preparation, AP exams can play an important role in the college admissions process. At nearly all colleges and universities (portfolio-based applications being the exception), your high school academic record is going to be the most important part of your college application. Colleges want to see more than high grades--they want to see that you have earned high grades in challenging, college preparatory classes.

AP classes can obviously play an important role on this front, and students who do well in multiple AP classes have gone a long way towards demonstrating that they are ready for the academic challenges of college.