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Articles / Preparing for College / 2022 AP Score Distributions: See How Test-Takers Fared

2022 AP Score Distributions: See How Test-Takers Fared

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Written by Sam Jaquez | July 7, 2022
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Photo by Andy Barbour

AP scores release this week, and with them overall score reports. Trevor Packer, the Head of the Advanced Placement Program, went on Twitter to share the details of this year’s AP score distributions. The score distributions include data based on the overall scores of all students who took the AP Exams. Since AP Exams results are not curved in any way, the changes in score distributions by year is an accurate look into changes in students' understanding of the material year over year.

Let’s take a look at the breakdown.

AP Art and Design: Drawing

14.7 percent of students who submitted an AP Art and Design: Drawing scored a 5. The highest percentage of students, 38.3 percent, who submitted a portfolio earned a 3. Of 19,000 students who participated in the AP Art and Design: Drawing portfolio, 342 earned a perfect score across all components. On the selected works section, 9 percent of students earned a perfect score.

AP Art And Design 2-D

Out of the all the students who submitted an AP Art and Design: 2D portfolio, 10.9 percent scored a 5 on their portfolio. The highest percentage of students (40.3 percent) scored a three on their portfolio. Out of the 37,000 students who took the exam only 189 earned a perfect score across all components of the portfolio and 5 percent earned a perfect score on the selected works portion.

AP Art and Design 3-D

Six and a half percent of students who submitted an AP Art and Design 3D portfolio earned a score of 5. The most common score for students who submitted a portfolio was a 3; 38.5 percent of students earned a 3. Forty-two out of the 5,000 students who took the exam earned a perfect score across all components. Twelve percent of students earned a perfect score for both “Inquiry” and “Material, Process, and Ideas.”

AP Art History

On the AP Art History exam, 14.1 percent of students scored a 5 on the exam. This was up slightly from last year, when 12 percent of students earned a 5. Most students scored a 3 on the exam (27.6 percent). AP Art History students stored highest on African Art and on Global Contemporary Works. They scored lowest on Pacific Islands art and on the Q5 essay on a Kwakwaka’wakw mask. The highest-scoring essay was Q3 on Caravaggio’s The Conversion of St. Paul.

AP Biology

In 2022, 14.8 percent of students who took the AP Biology exam scored a 5 compared to last year’s 7.4 percent. AP Bio students scored highest on Unit 8: Ecology. The most challenging section of the exam, for students, was Unit 6: Gene Expression and Regulation.

This year, AP Biology participated in a college comparability study. College students also took the AP Bio exam after they finished their college biology course. Overall, AP Bio high school students scored higher than the college students who also took the AP Bio exam.

Trevor Packer notes:

“One likely reason the AP Bio students show stronger mastery of college bio than college students themselves: the study found that on average, AP Bio students had 176% more instruction time (full year, daily) & 38% more lab time than college bio students (1 semester, 2-3 days/wk).”

AP Calculus AB

This year, 20.2 percent of students scored a 5 on the AP Calculus AB exam. Performance was strongest on Unit 4: Contextual Applications of Differentiation. The most challenging unit for students was Unity 3: Composite, Implicit, and Inverse Functions.

AP Calculus BC

Nearly half (40.9 percent) of students scored a 5 on the AP Calculus BC exam, a small increase compared to last year’s 38.8 percent. Students scored best on Q2 about parametric particle motion. The most challenging question for students was Q6 which was on the power series and infinite series.

The AP Calculus BC uses a subscore system which also shows how you scores on topics from AP Calculus AB. On this exam 48 percent of students earned a subscore of 5.

AP Chemistry

This year, 11.4 percent of students who took the AP Chemistry exam scores a 5. The highest percentage of students, at 24.8 percent, scored a 3 on the exam. students scored highest on Unit 3: Intermolecular Forces & Properties and on Unit 5: Kinetics. The most challenging section was Unit 8: Acids and Bases.

AP Chinese

Of the 16,000 students who took the AP Chinese exam, 45.3 percent scored a 5. The highest percentage of students scored a five with the second highest percentage of students scoring a 4. Students who took the AP Chinese exam scored highest on Unit 6: Environment, Political, and Societal Challenges with 33 percent earning perfect scores. AP Chinese students scored lowest on Unit 1: Families in Different Societies.

AP Comparative Government and Politics

This year, 15 percent of students who took the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam scored a 5. The highest percentage of students who took the exam scored a 3. Students scored especially high on Unit 1: Political Systems, Regimes, & Governments and on Unit 3: Political Culture & Participation.

AP Computer Science A

26.5 percent of students who took the AP Computer Science A exam scored a 5. Of the 78,000 students who took the exam, the highest percentage of them scored a five. The second highest percentage of students, at 22.8 percent, scored a 1. The Students scored well over all areas of the Computer Science A exam but scores were highest on the Unit 1: Primitive Types and Unit 3: Boolean Expressions and if Statements.

AP Computer Science Principles

Of the 137,000 students who took the AP Computer Science Principles exam, 12.1 percent scored a five. Most students who took the exam scored 3. Students scored best on topics relating to computing innovations and systems/networks. They scored lowest on topics relating to algorithms.

AP English Language and Composition

One out of every 10 students who took the AP English Language and Composition exam scored a 5. The highest percentage of students (30 percent) scored a 2. In general, students scored higher on the Synthesis essay and the Rhetorical Analysis essay than on the Argument essay.

AP English Literature

There was a huge increase in AP English Literature scores this year over last year. In 2021, only 4.9 percent of test-takers scored a 5, compared to 16.6 percent of students this year. Most students who took the exam scored a 3. Additionally, students scored highest on skill categories 1 and 2: analyzing character and setting. Students scored lowest on skill category 4: explaining function of a narrator/speaker.

AP Environmental Science

Nine percent of students who took the AP Environmental Science exam scored a 5. Most students scored a 2. Students scored especially well on Unit 6: Energy, Resources & Consumption with 21 percent of students earning a perfect score on that unit. Students scored lowest on Unit 7: Atmospheric Pollution.

AP European History

One AP European History, 13.3 percent of students scored a 5. Most students scored a 2. Students performed best on Units 3 and 4: 1648-1815: Absolutism, Constitutionalism + Scientific, Philosophical, and Political Developments. They scored lowest on the English Civil War DBQ.

AP French

On the AP French exam, 12.2 percent of students scored a 5. Most students (35.2 percent) scored a 3. Students scored highest on Unit 3: Beauty and Art and lowest on Unit 4: Science and Technology.

AP German

On the AP German exam, 17.6 percent of students scored a 5, which is low compared to last year’s 18 percent. Students scored highest on the multiple-choice questions for Unit 6: environmental, Political, and Societal Challenges and lowest on Unit 4: science and technology.

AP Human Geography

Just under 15 percent (14.7) of students who took the AP Human Geography exam scored a 5. Most students (31.9 percent) scored a 1. Students scored highest on Unit 1: Thinking Geographically and on Unit 7: Industrial/Economic Development. Students scored lowest on Unit 5: Agriculture & Rural land Use and Unit 6: Cities & Urban Land use.

AP Italian

Nearly 20 percent (19.9 percent) of students who took the AP Italian exam scored a 5. Most students (28.8 percent) scored a 3 on the exam. AP Italian students scored highest on Unit 1: Families in Different Societies. Students scored lowest on Unit 2: The Influence of Language and Culture on Identity and Unit 3: Influences of Beauty and Art.

AP Japanese

Just under half of all students (45.8 percent) who took the AP Japanese exam scored a 5. Overall, students scored highest on Unit 4: Science and Technology and scored lowest on Unit 2: The Influence of Language and Culture on identity.

AP Latin

11.1 percent of students who took the AP Latin exam scored a 5. Students scored highest on themes 5 through 7: Views of Non-Romans, History & Memory, and Human Beings & the Gods. The most challenging area of the exam for students was use of specific terminology to identify grammatical forms and syntactical structures.

AP Macroeconomics

Of the 135,000 students who took the AP Macroeconomics exam, 15.3 percent scored a 5. One was the most common score on the exam; 34.3 percent got the lowest possible score. Students scored highest on Unit 2: Economic Indicators and the Business Cycle.

AP Microeconomics

Of the 85,000 students who took the AP Microeconomics exam, 16 percent scored a 5. Most students, at 25.3 percent, scored a 1 on the exam. Overall, students who took the AP Microeconomics scored highest on Unit 1: Basics of Economic Concepts and lowest on Unit 5: Factor Markets.

AP Music Theory

On the AP Music Theory exam, 18.6 percent of students scored a 5, which is down from last year’s 19.9 percent. The highest scoring section was for Music Fundamentals and the lowest scoring section was for Chord Progressions and Predominant Function.

AP Physics 1

One student out of around 120,000 worldwide earned a perfect 80/80 on the AP Physics 1 exam. Overall, students scored highest on the Unit 1 Kinematics multiple choice section and scored lowest on the Unit 5 Momentum section.

On the free-response section students scored best on Q3 and second-best on Q2. Q1 was the most challenging question which was answered incorrectly by 21 percent of students.

AP Physics 2

On the AP Physics 2 exam, around 69 percent of students earned a 3 or higher, with 15.1 percent earning the highest possible score. Students scored best on Unit 6 Geometric and Physical Optics; 10 percent of students got a perfect score for this section. An additional 20 percent of students only missed one point in this section.

AP Physics C: Mechanics

Slightly more students than last year scored a 5 on the AP Physics C: Mechanics exam: 25.3 percent earned a 5 this year compared to 23.5 percent last year. Additionally, students scored highest on Unit 1: Kinematics and lowest on Unit 5: Rotation.

AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism

This year, 30 percent of students scored a 5 on the AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism exam. Students did best on the Electric Circuits multiple choice questions and lowest on the Magnetic Fields section.

AP Psychology

This year, 16.9 percent of students who took the AP Psychology exam scored a 5, which is up from last year’s 14.1 percent. Psychology students scored best on Unit 8: Clinical Psychology and scored lowest on Unit 7: Motivation, Emotion, and personality.

AP Research

Out of roughly 29,000 AP Research students who took the AP exam, 306 earned a perfect score when scored by their academic paper, presentation, and oral defense. 12.6 percent of students scored a 5 and 25.8 percent scored a 4.

AP Seminar

Eighty-six percent of 10th graders who take AP Seminar as their English requirement earn scores of 3 and higher. Trevor Packer agrees that taking AP Seminar in 10th grade is a great AP entry course.

AP Spanish Language

On the AP Spanish Language exam, 23.5 percent of students scored a 5, which is higher compared to last year when only 17.3 percent of students scored a 5. This year, students scored highest on Unit 3: Beauty and Art. The lowest scoring sections were Unit 4: Science and Technology and Unit 6: Environmental, Political, and Societal Challenges.

AP Spanish Literature

Less than 8 percent (7.4. percent) of students scored a 5 on the AP Spanish Literature exam. Most students who took the exam scored a 3. Students performed highest on Units 4 and 5: a literatura romántica, realista y naturalista + la generación del 98 y el Modernismo and lowest on Essay 3: an analysis of Rulfo’s “No oyes ladrar los perros”

AP Statistics

On the AP Statistics exam, 14.3 percent of students scored a 5, which is down from last year. students scored highest on Units 1 through 3 and lowest on Skill Category 3: Probability and Simulation.

AP U.S. Government and Politics

AP U.S. Government and Politics students scored highest on Unit 3: Civil Rights and Liberties, with 14 percent of students earning perfect scores on that unit. Packer notes that while students performed will on the multiple-choice section, performance on the FRQ section was low.

AP World History

Out of around 317,000 students worldwide who took the AP World History exam, one student earned a perfect score with 140/140. (Congrats to that student!) Across the various units, says Packer, students scored evenly, except on Units 5 and 6. On those sections, performance was weaker. Packer suggests a higher focus on those sections, which cover 1750-1900 as a way to increase scores next year.

More on AP Scores:

For more information on the AP Exam and AP scores check out these articles:

Here’s What Your AP Scores Mean

AP Exam Results and Scores: Your Questions Answered

Join the conversation about AP Exams and more in the CC community.

And don't forget to join the CC Community for more discussion on AP Exam scores and more!

Written by

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Sam Jaquez

Sam is a freelance writer, a blogger, and a bookmark collector. She studied at the University of Massachusetts Boston where she earned a degree in English. Sam has written articles about productivity, college, film & tv, and science.

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