AP and IB Exams

In late summer, Northwestern posts AP and IB credit to the academic records of entering students. You may view your AP and IB credit by accessing your academic records using CAESAR.

Credit transfer rules

Credits earned through AP and IB testing count in different ways toward different requirements. Jump to more detailed information about how they may be applied:

AP credits and distribution requirements

Consult the AP/IB credit table to see what credit is granted for different scores on these tests and whether that credit can be applied toward your Weinberg distribution requirements. You can satisfy up to two of the twelve distribution requirements through AP or IB credits, and these credits must be in two different areas. 

AP credits and total credits/quarters needed for graduation

AP and IB credits generally count toward the 45 units of credit needed for a Weinberg degree, even if they are not being counted toward distribution requirements, requirements for majors or minors, etc. There is no cap on the number of credits a student may earn via AP and IB tests, but there are a few stipulations:

  • AP and IB credits do not count toward Northwestern’s Undergraduate Registration Requirement (URR), which specifies how many quarters must be spent at Northwestern and how many units of credit must be earned through NU courses. No matter how many AP or IB credits you have on your transcript, you must still be registered at Northwestern for 9 quarters and earn at least 32 units at the University. (Some students in special programs will have different requirements.) 
  • If you earn AP or IB credit for a specific course (e.g., ECON 201) and then subsequently take that course at Northwestern, you will lose the AP or IB credit; it will no longer count toward the required 45 units of credit. The AP notation will remain on your transcript, but it will be listed as bearing 0 units of credit. (The same is true for certain science and math courses seen as substantially equivalent. For example, you can't earn both AP and NU credit for an introductory calculus course, even if the course numbers differ. Details are in the relevant department sections in the Undergraduate Catalog.)

AP English credits

AP credit in English will not exempt you from any part of your First-Year SeminarsDistribution Requirements, or Writing Proficiency Requirement.

AP foreign language credits

AP credit in a Foreign Language can be used to demonstrate Foreign Language Proficiency in some languages, or for placement in a course beyond the beginning level. Consult the language proficiency chart for the scores required to demonstrate proficiency. If you score below the determined level, you will receive information during the summer letting you know what course you should start with, or you might need to take a placement exam. Information is also generally available from the individual language departments at Northwestern and through the Wildcat Welcome webpage, which is posted each summer. You can also find information on language placement through the website for the Council on Language Instruction.

AP exams and NU placement exams

If you took an AP or IB exam and wish during New Student Week to take a Northwestern placement exam in the same field, you are free to do so. If you perform well enough on the placement exam, you can earn placement and, in some cases, credit that you were not able to earn through the AP or IB Program.