AP scores are used by most colleges to decide if they will give you credit or advanced standing when you get to the college. Some colleges will give college credit for AP scores of 3 or better. Some of the more selective colleges require that a student has a 4 or 5 to get credit.
If your scores are below those required for credit, you just don’t get the college credit. But what really worries these students, is whether the lower scores will affect their chances for admissions.
Generally, lower AP scores will not affect admissions decisions. Colleges are more concerned that students are challenging themselves with classes like AP classes and their focus is on the AP class grades.
Colleges know that some AP teachers are not that good and this is often reflected in the scores of the students taking the exams. If you have 4’s and 5’s on most of your AP exams but a 1 or 2 on one, that shouldn’t be a problem. Now if you have mostly 1’s and 2’s on multiple exams, it brings into question the strength of your high school. Particularly if you have A’s in those classes.
Would it be best if you did well on your AP exams? Yes. But even if you don’t you will still be competitive for most colleges.