Wondering how to register for AP classes and tests? Get a complete guide to AP registration here – even if you're homeschooled or your local school doesn't have the AP program.
2021 AP Test Changes Due to COVID-19
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, AP tests will now be held over three different sessions between May and June. Your test dates, and whether or not your tests will be online or on paper, will depend on your school. To learn more about how all of this is going to work and get the latest information on test dates, AP online review, and what these changes means for you, be sure to check out our 2021 AP COVID-19 FAQ article.
How to Register for AP Classes
The AP Registration process varies from school to school. Typically, you go through the regular class sign-up process to take APs, as long as you have taken the necessary pre-requisite classes. For example, many schools require students to take an introductory biology course before they can enroll in AP Biology. Your school's course catalog should list the necessary pre-requisites for each AP class.
In some schools, you have to pass a placement test to register for an AP class. For example, my school required students to test into AP Calculus BC as well as AP Calculus AB – even if they had taken math up through Pre-Calculus. Based on your test score, you were placed into either Calculus BC, Calculus AB, or regular (non-AP) Calculus.
We recommend asking one of your current teachers or the guidance counseling office about how to sign up for AP Classes at your school. They can let you know if there are any specific protocols outside of your school's typical registration process, like placement tests or class size limits.
If you attend a school without AP classes or you're homeschooled, you don't have to officially register for an AP class. You just need to register for the AP Exam later in the year (more on that below). It's up to you to either take a class that teaches most of the same material (e.g., taking a United States History course if you want to take the AP United States History exam) or to self-study during the year.
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How to Register for AP Tests
If You Attend a School with AP Classes
If you're taking AP classes, your AP teacher typically alerts you to your school's AP test sign-up process. They should inform you of the deadlines to register for the test. Some even walk you through the registration process!
If you haven't heard anything from your AP teacher yet or are just curious about your school's AP test sign-up protocol, track down your school's AP Coordinator to find out the dates and deadlines at your school.
AP Coordinator? Who's that? Each school that offers AP classes has a staff member (often a guidance counselor) who is given this title. It's officially their job to handle AP test registration and coordinate with the College Board. If you don't know who this person is, either check in with your guidance counselor or one of your AP teachers, they should know.
Keep in mind you have to register for AP exams through your school, there is no way to register online. (Some students get confused because other College Board tests, like the SAT and SAT Subject tests, have online registration.)
As part of your registration, you'll turn in the $94 exam fee to the AP coordinator. And that price is per exam, by the way. (See our post on AP Exam costs to learn about getting financial aid for AP tests!)
If You're Homeschooled or Your School Doesn't Have AP Classes
If you're homeschooled, or you attend a school without the AP program and are self-studying, you can still arrange to take AP Exams at a nearby participating AP school.
To do this, you'll contact the AP program itself. Contact AP Services no later than March 1st of the year you want to test, and they'll give you the names of local, participating AP schools willing to test outside students, as well as the phone number of the AP coordinator at that school.
This is the contact information for AP Services. Remember, you have to contact them to get the contact info of a local school that will give you the AP exams:
International callers: 212-632-1780
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Prepare a list of the AP Exams you are interested in taking before you call — this will help College Board find a school you can test at.
Once you get their info from AP Services, call the AP Coordinators at the local school no later than March 15th to set up your testing.
When calling Coordinators to arrange testing, make sure to tell them the following:
- That you got their contact information from College Board.
- That you are trying to find a school that will give AP exams to homeschooled students or students from schools that do not offer AP Exams.
- The AP exams you want to take.
- If you have a documented disability that requires accommodations.
Once you locate a school that will host you, that school's AP Coordinator is responsible for ordering your exam materials, telling you when and where to report for the exams, and collecting your fees (which may be higher than the typical $94 to cover the school's additional proctoring or administration costs).
One last thing: your host school must administer the exams for you. The school cannot forward the AP exams to you or your school. That means on exam days, you'll have to travel to your host school (and be absent from your regular classes).
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Some Additional Guidelines for Signing Up
Signing up for AP classes and tests is usually straightforward. Plus, there aren't restrictions on how many classes you can take each year (unless your school has its own rules). You can take as many AP Exams as can fit into your schedule. The AP Program doesn't even require you to take an AP class before taking an AP Exam.
The only restriction on registration from College Board is that you can't take both Calculus AB and Calculus BC within the same year. This is because Calculus BC includes all of the material in Calculus AB — you even get an AB Subscore when you take Calculus BC!
AP Calculus BC is essentially two math classes in one!
If two of the exams you want to take are scheduled for the same time, ask your school's AP Coordinator for information about taking one of the exams during the late-testing period. The late-testing period occurs in late May, to accommodate tests that overlap or students that run into last-minute problems like an injury.
In general, popular AP exams don't tend to overlap, so you're more likely to run into this problem if you're taking a more niche exam like Art History or Japanese.
On Exam Day
Keep these guidelines in mind to make sure you are ready to test in May once you're registered!
You have to bring a valid government- or school-issued photo ID with you to the exam. Even though the test is administered by your school, and all your teachers know you, you have to follow this rule. You'll be turned away without your ID, so don't forget it!
If you have approval from the College Board to test with accommodations, you have to bring your Student Accommodation Letter.
If you attend a school that doesn't offer AP, you should not use the school code for the school where you are testing. Instead, make sure to use your own school's code so your exam score(s) will be reported to your school. This means you need to get your school's six-digit code from your principal or school counselor before exam day.
If you are home-schooled, use the state or international home-school/self-study code that will be given to you on the day of the exam.
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Halle Edwards graduated from Stanford University with honors. In high school, she earned 99th percentile ACT scores as well as 99th percentile scores on SAT subject tests. She also took nine AP classes, earning a perfect score of 5 on seven AP tests. As a graduate of a large public high school who tackled the college admission process largely on her own, she is passionate about helping high school students from different backgrounds get the knowledge they need to be successful in the college admissions process.