Arkansas public and private school students took 13,933 Advanced Placement exams in May 2013 that resulted in scores of 3, 4 or 5, up from 12,932 in 2012, state education officials said last week.

"These scores show that Arkansas students are seizing the opportunity to excel as they prepare for college and careers," state Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell said. "The AP program not only challenges students, it allows them to earn college credit in the process."

A score of 3 or higher is generally accepted for college credit. The 2013 scores represent a potential savings to students of more than $10 million, according to a state Department of Education news release.

"We’re pleased to see so many more Arkansas students are making higher scores," said Shane Broadway, director of the state Department of Higher Education. "We know this improves college readiness and increases the likelihood of college completion — good for each individual student and Arkansas as a whole."

College Board, the nonprofit entity that provides AP and SAT assessments, released a report on AP participation and scores. The report also noted that seniors at Arkansas public schools took 12,140 exams that resulted in scores of 3 or higher in May 2013, up significantly from 3,410 a decade earlier.

"This success can be attributed to Act 2152 of 2005, which made Arkansas the only state that pays for AP exams," Kimbrell said. "As a result, the financial barrier for a lot of students was removed."