From Composite Score to AP ScoreThe process of score setting—establishing the AP score boundaries (determining how many composite score points equals what AP score)—takes place immediately after the Reading.
AP Exam scores are reported on a 5-point scale as follows:
5 Extremely well qualified*
4 Well qualified*
2 Possibly qualified*
1 No recommendation**
*Qualified to receive college credit or advanced placement
**No recommendation to receive college credit or advanced placement
During score-setting sessions (there is one for each AP Exam) composite scores are translated into AP scores by setting boundaries for each score based on a statistical technique called equating.
Equating relates an AP Exam from one year to an AP Exam from another year so that performance on the two exams can be compared. This is accomplished by looking at how well AP students performed on a set of multiple-choice questions that is common to both exams. These particular multiple-choice questions cover the curriculum content and represent a broad range of difficulty; they can therefore provide information about the ability level of the current group of students and indicate the current exam's level of difficulty. This same set of questions may show up on next year's AP Exam and the one after that too. That's why you aren't supposed to talk about or share the multiple-choice questions from the AP Exam with anyone; it's all because of equating!