The Changing AP Landscape

November 17, 2022

The Growing Importance of AP Classes and Exams

Historically, AP exams have served as tools for high school students to earn college-level credit. Although they were not originally developed with the intent to play a role in college admissions, AP exams are increasingly becoming an important factor in the admissions process. 

Now more than ever, there are many reasons to consider taking an AP exam. In the changing admissions landscape, with more colleges and universities implementing or keeping test-optional admissions policies, strong AP scores can give a student a competitive edge in the admissions process. Taking an AP class places students into a higher GPA threshold than can be achieved with honors and other classes alone. And, performing well in AP classes shows colleges that a student is ready for college-level work. 

There’s also college credit to consider. Students who earn a certain score on their AP exams may be eligible for college credit, which will save the student time and money when it comes to the college graduation timeline. Though decisions on transfer credits rest with each individual college or university, generally a score of 3 or 4 or above will place a student into the required qualifying threshold. 

Financial considerations can also be a factor. Merit aid awards are generally non-need-based financial aid awards and are used as a recruitment tool to encourage strong students to apply to and eventually enroll at a particular institution. While additional factors may also be considered, standardized test scores and weighted GPA can play an important part in the final merit aid award decision. An increasing number of colleges and universities offer families merit aid scholarships to lower the overall cost of attending colleges and to increase the academic competitiveness of their incoming class.

When to Prepare for AP Exams

As it can take 1-3 months to prepare for AP exams, it is advisable to begin thinking about AP exam prep in January. That way, students will have the proper time to take AP practice exams and the needed time to complete the tutoring process. February is a great time to take a practice exam at Summit.

Summit is well-positioned to help students achieve AP success. We offer a wide array of AP practice exams, both in-person and online, so students can see where they stand well before test day. And our team of expert AP tutors can boost performance in class or on exams by helping to address areas in need of improvement in a one-on-one tutoring setting (check out our AP tutoring page here).

Students typically meet with their Summit AP tutor once per week for 90 minutes, though the exact timing and length of tutoring sessions are customized to individual student schedules and needs. 

Customized Tutoring Support

AP classes are rigorous and content is covered at a fast pace. If a student is facing challenges in an AP class, or with the implemented teaching methods, an expert tutor can help the student keep pace or excel.

Targeted support from a subject matter expert not only helps students fill learning gaps but also equips them with valuable study and organizational skills that will set them up to master course content and achieve academic success. Implementing support at the first signs of struggle will help a student stay confident and become successful in the classroom, and increase their readiness for the May exams.

AP Practice Exams from Summit

Summit offers convenient in-person and online AP exam practice testing options — including personalized feedback from trained experts on free-responses questions— throughout AP testing season from late winter through April. It is always advisable for students to take their initial AP practice exams early in the season — February or March are best — to allow for enough time to focus on areas in need of improvement prior to the May testing schedule.

Summit offers multiple practice AP exams with free-response scoring in the following subjects:

• AP Biology

• AP Calculus AB

• AP Calculus BC

• AP Chemistry

• AP English Language and Composition

• AP English Literature and Composition

• AP European History

• AP Human Geography

• AP Physics C – Mechanics

• AP Physics C – Electricity and Magnetism

• AP Statistics

• AP U.S. Government and Politics

• AP U.S. History

• AP World History

AP Exams in 2023 and Beyond – What to Expect

In keeping with tradition, 2023 AP exams will once again take place over the first two weeks in May.  

However, The College Board recently announced some upcoming changes in the years ahead. Students and teachers can expect new AP course offerings moving forward, including Pre-Calculus for the 2023-24 academic year, and African-American Studies for the following year.

The development of digital options for AP administrations is moving forward, as well.  For the 2023 AP testing season, these tests will be available digitally: English Literature & Composition, English Language & Composition, U.S. History, World History, European History, Computer Science Principles, and Seminar. These digital tests are the same length as the current pencil-and-paper tests and contain the same content. The College Board hopes to eventually make more AP exams available digitally in the coming years.

Summit Can Help Your Student Improve their AP Performance

With over 30 years of experience in the tutoring business, Summit is ready to help students score to their true potential on AP exams and boost performance in the classroom.

For more information on how Summit can help your student achieve success on APs, please contact us today at 1-800-MYTUTOR or We can’t wait to speak with you!

Michael Dean, Executive Director

Michael received a BA in Film from Emerson College and MA in Library and Information Science from Simmons College. He has held several different management positions during his 10+ years at Summit, and his customer service focus and integrity make him well-suited to his latest role managing Summit’s Massachusetts office. Michael is highly-regarded among school and independent counselors throughout New England and New York as a trusted test prep partner who does all he can on behalf of his clients.