Co-ed independent day school in Boston's Back Bay for academically adventurous students in grades 9–12

Commonwealth School AP Exam FAQs

Does Commonwealth allow students from other schools to sit for their AP exams?

No, Commonwealth policy does not allow students not enrolled at Commonwealth to sign up for exams at the school. Officials from peer institutions and nearby schools with questions about Commonwealth’s AP policies may reach out to our registrar, Jake MacDonnell, or our Assistant Head of School, Rebecca Jackman

What AP exams can Commonwealth students take?

Students have the option to take AP exams when they complete AP-level courses. Students may not take AP exams for courses that they have not taken or are not currently taking at Commonwealth; however, students can take these exams at neighboring schools that offer the exams, similar to the process for taking AP exams that Commonwealth does not offer. On occasion, students may retake AP exams for sequential courses, such as languages and computer science. 

AP exams with corresponding Commonwealth courses include:

  • Biology
  • Calculus AB
  • Calculus BC
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science A
  • English Literature & Composition
  • European History
  • French Language & Culture
  • Latin
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Physics 1
  • Physics C
  • Spanish Language & Culture
  • Statistics
  • U.S. History

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What do AP exams entail?

AP exams are each two to three hours in length, and they usually involve both multiple-choice and free-response sections. They are scored on a scale of 1 to 5. AP exams are administered during the first two weeks of May. Good AP exam scores (4s or 5s) can help in the college admissions process (they validate the level of high school coursework) and may earn college credits or allow students to place out of introductory college classes. AP scores above 3 are listed on Commonwealth School transcripts, unless otherwise specified by students. Students may choose to prepare for an AP exam independently of a Commonwealth course. 

How and when do students sign up for AP exams? How much do they cost?

In November, Commonwealth students sign up with their advisors to take the appropriate exams ($97 per exam), and the school registers them. Changes can be made to student signups after November 15, but there is a College Board fee associated with any such change; there is a flat fee $40 to cancel a test and $40 to add a test plus the cost of the test ($97). We strongly encourage students to make their final decisions regarding AP exams before the order deadline has passed. 

Per the College Board’s schedule, we administer AP exams at Commonwealth during the first two weeks of May.