While hundreds of colleges and universities worldwide will grant a full semester or year's credit to students who have scored satisfactory marks (3 or above) on a certain number of AP exams, the benefits of taking these exams go far beyond this incentive. Courses that lead to AP exams are rigorous and thorough, teaching students how to write, think and calculate with clarity and authority. In one year, students develop a rich, university-level knowledge of any given subject matter.
Another benefit to the AP program is the flexibility, depth and number of course and exam offerings. Unlike IB and GCSE Advanced Level courses, the AP gives students the chance to prove their in-depth knowledge across a wide array of courses: a student's application to college might show perfect AP Exam scores in Calculus, Spanish Literature, Advanced Physics, Music Theory, Microeconomics and Computer Science, or practically any combination. The AP exams give colleges a better sense of the developing skills and interests of students and, as many admissions officers can attest, AP scores are a virtual must for students seeking entrance to top universities.
Once a student has matriculated at a university, AP credits can also be counted towards entry-level courses, allowing the student to proceed upon entry in freshman year to higher-level courses. Students at elite universities use AP credits as leveraging tools to take advanced courses, double majors or to open up schedule space for them to take more elective and extra-disciplinary courses or perhaps to take a semester abroad.