Advanced Placements, or AP's, are USA qualifications which can be taken all over the world. The exam board which sets them is called College Board.
When reading this page, note that in addition to AP exams, we would expect to see
- high pass marks on your school qualification if you have also taken the USA High School Diploma or a high school diploma or certificate from another country.
- a high score on the SAT (I) Reasoning Test or ACT.
- a Written Assessment, if this is required for your course at Cambridge (please check the applying information on the relevant subject page and be careful as some written assessments require early registration).
If you are applying for Mathematics you will also need to sit STEP papers II and III. See the STEP information on the Maths page. STEP is not needed if you are applying for a subject other than maths.
Where can you take AP exams?
For information about how to find a school that offers AP's outside the US , see
Find Secondary Schools and online Schools that offer authorized AP Courses
The timing of your AP exams
We would normally expect you to take all your AP tests either in the same year or over a two-year period. AP Tests do not have to be completed in a single sitting to fulfil the entry requirements.
Your most recent AP results should be achieved within two years of applying to Cambridge
Choosing your AP courses
It is essential to choose your courses carefully and to be aware that some of our courses at Cambridge require particular subjects. Before choosing your AP courses you must read the subject requirements section on the relevant Christ's subject page.
- For any Cambridge course that requires A level Mathematics, you must take AP Calculus BC.
- For courses which require A level Physics, we recommend taking the two AP Physics C Tests:
- AP Physics C:
- AP Physics C: Mechanics
- Some of the Cambridge course have no required subjects. In this case, we recommend choosing at least some of your AP Tests in subjects that have a particular focus on subjects related to the course you are applying for. You may also like to consider AP courses that map onto what you are studying for your High School qualifications.
- AP Capstone courses won't normally be a requirement of any offer made, and AP Capstone scores will not usually count towards the five or more grade 5 score requirement. That said, we do welcome AP Capstone if you are taking it alongside five AP's, and would encourage applicants to undertake AP Research and Seminar courses as it will help to develop independent study and research skills valuable for higher education.
For further details we recommend that you look up the Cambridge requirements for students from the USA. This information has helpful detail about applying with AP exams even if you are not applying from the USA!
What scores do you need?
If you are applying to Cambridge, we would expect you to achieve five or more Advanced Placement (AP) Scores at grade 5.
- AP Exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5.
- 5 is the highest score.
You can apply either in the academic year that you take your AP exams or after you've taken them. You may find the information on when to apply helpful, and note that we would normally expect AP exams to be taken within two years of starting your Cambridge course.
Do you have to do the AP courses or can you just sit the AP tests?
If you are taking AP tests alongside other qualifications and are confident that you have covered the material necessary to achieve a 5 in the test, note that you can sit one or more of your AP Tests without completing the relevant AP course.