Good luck on APs and IBs!

By Tom

To all students out there – prospective juniors, enrolled seniors, and anyone in between – who will be taking Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams in the next few weeks, best wishes from the University of Richmond Office of Admission! I know the testing can be pretty intense, so I hope you will remain cool under pressure and excel just as you have in class throughout the year.

While I’m on the topic, I thought it would be helpful to share with you a little bit about the University of Richmond’s policy on accepting AP and IB scores. If you’re an enrolled student in the Spider Class of 2012, this might help clarify how you will get credit for your exams as you prepare to matriculate; if you’re a junior, I hope this is helpful information to know as you begin or continue to research colleges. Either way, I hope it doesn’t add any extra pressure in the midst of this already busy and stressful season!

There are two things that high scores on AP and IB exams can do for you here at UR. First, they can exempt you from various general education requirements (you can find a complete list and descriptions of all our requirements here). Typically, about one third of the classes our students take go toward their general requirements – exploring various disciplines, and how those disciplines investigate questions and view the world, is one of the hallmarks of a liberal arts education. But students who come in with high AP/IB scores in certain fields can be exempt from some of those requirements, which might give them a bit more freedom in planning their curricula. They still tend to branch out and explore different disciplines, but with a little added flexibility.

Secondly, high AP and IB scores can transfer in as credit and count toward graduation. Essentially, each exam is correlated with a course in our catalog, and the requisite score will transfer as that particular class. The University of Richmond is moving to a unit system beginning with the 2008-09 academic year; rather than receiving 3-4 credits for a class, students will receive 1 unit (approximately 3.5 credit hours) for each class they take. Basically, one class equals one unit. 35 units are required for graduation, which comes out to approximately 9 units per year, or 4-5 units (4-5 classes) per semester. When an AP or IB exam transfers in for credit, students receive 1 unit for the correlating course (or even 2 units, in some cases).

The University of Richmond will generally give you credit for any AP exam with a score of 4-5, and any IB Higher Level exam with a score of 5-7. It depends on the requirements of individual departments; in a few cases, an AP score or 5 or IB score of 6-7 is required. There are also cases in which an AP score of 3 will exempt you from certain requirements, but not transfer for credit.

For our complete Credit by Examination policy and details on each examination, please visit this website. Starting with the column on the left, you can see the name of the exam, what score is required, how many units that score will get you, which course it will transfer as, and which general education requirement it will exempt you from.

The maximum number of units you can transfer in for credit as a first-year student is 7 (seven classes, or almost one year of study). Any additional coursework or scores will still appear on your transcript, and will still exempt you from requirements – they just won’t count toward graduation. If you come in with more than 7 units’ worth of credit, you can select which courses you would like to receive credit for and which you would like to use for exemption but not credit.

Whew! That was a bit long-winded. I hope you were able to follow me through some of that jargon and math. If you got lost or are unclear about anything, please post a comment or contact our office.

Again, best of luck with upcoming exams!

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