For most AP subjects, no. However, for the following, you must take these courses before taking the corresponding AP Exam: AP Seminar, AP Research, and AP Computer Science Principles. You will not receive a complete score if you only take the end of course exam.
For all AP subjects, we strongly recommend taking the AP course before the exam if you can because it is one of the best ways to learn the material that will be on the exam, challenge yourself with university-level studies and build skills that increase your preparedness for university study. If your school doesn’t offer a particular AP course, you may prepare for the exam on your own. To prepare for the exam without taking the course, you should study the skills and content outlined in the Course and Exam Description document for your subject, which you can find along with other resources on the specific course page.
Get to know the exams by reviewing free practice questions. The AP Program releases the free-response questions every year for exams that have them. We also offer free-response questions from past exams along with sample student responses and scoring guidelines so you can see why a real exam taker got the score they did.