Jump to page content Jump to navigation

College Board

AP Central

Print Page
Home > AP Courses and Exams > AP Exam Information > AP Capstone Research Exam Page

AP Capstone Research Exam Page

Important Note

AP Capstone

The following information and resources are for AP Research teachers at participating AP Capstone schools. In order to offer AP Research, schools must apply through the AP Program to participate in AP Capstone, and they must first offer AP Seminar. In addition, teachers must attend mandatory training. For more information, visit the AP Capstone website.

Academic Paper Submission Deadline

April 30, 2017 by 11:59 p.m. ET

Assessment Overview

In AP Research, students are assessed on the academic paper and presentation and oral defense of research. The academic paper is 4,000 to 5,000 words, and the presentation and defense take approximately 15 to 20 minutes.


For detailed information about AP Capstone program policies, visit the AP Capstone Policies.

Learn about late testing policies, and see all late testing dates.

Assessment Format

Academic Paper

Teachers must carefully plan a calendar that provides time for the performance task to be completed, scored, and uploaded by April 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

  • Introduces and contextualizes the research question and initial student assumptions and/or hypotheses
  • Reviews previous work in the field to synthesize information and a range of perspectives related to the research question (e.g., Literature Review)
  • Identifies the gap in the current field of knowledge to be addressed
  • Explains and provides justification for the chosen method, process, or approach
  • Presents the findings, evidence, results, or product
  • Interprets the significance of the findings, results, or product; explores connections to original research question
  • Discusses the implications and limitations of the research or creative work
  • Reflects on the process and how this project could impact the field
  • Discusses possible next steps and/or future directions
  • Provides a complete list of sources cited and consulted in the appropriate disciplinary style

Presentation and Oral Defense

  • All students will develop a 15 to 20-minute presentation (using appropriate media) and deliver it to an oral defense panel. Students may choose any appropriate format for their presentation, as long as the presentation reflects the depth of their research. Prior to the presentation, students whose academic paper was accompanied by an additional piece of scholarly work (e.g., performance, exhibit, product) will arrange for the teacher and panelists to view the scholarly work.
  • The defense will include three to four questions from a panel consisting of the AP Research teacher and two additional panel members (chosen at the discretion of the AP Research teacher).

The AP Research Course and Exam Description includes complete information about the performance assessment tasks.

Assessment Questions and Scoring Information

For scoring information from prior administrations, check out the tables below.

2016: Through-Course and End-of-Course Assessments
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Academic Paper


Scoring Guidelines

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

High scoring samples
Sample C (topic: History/Humanities)

Sample G (topic: Social Science)

Sample I (topic: Arts/Humanities)

Sample K (topic: STEM)

Medium scoring samples
Sample E (topic: History/Humanities)

Sample B (topic: Arts/Humanities)

Sample A (topic: Social Science)

Sample H (topic: STEM)

Low scoring samples
Sample J (topic: History/Humanities)

Sample F (topic: Arts/Humanities)

Sample D (topic: STEM/Social Science)

Score Distributions

Back to top