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Are AP Exams really worth it if you don't pass?

uw20106uw20106 Posts: 65Registered User Junior Member
edited May 2010 in AP Tests Preparation
The title pretty much is my question. My AP teachers say even if a student does not get a 3,4,5 for college credit AP exams are still really helpful. On all the exams I took I scored 3s and that is not enough for college credit at the university I am going to. This year with 3 ap exams that I am not confident at all on, I don't see the point of the exam. I will take them but will scoring a 1 or 2 really help me in college? It would be great if any college students had any input.
I hope my questions make sense.
Post edited by uw20106 on

Replies to: Are AP Exams really worth it if you don't pass?

  • bobtheboybobtheboy Posts: 2,216Registered User Senior Member
    A score of 1 or 2, and sometimes even 3 for the ultra-prestigious ones, will hurt you for college apps. Cancel your scores if you think you did horrible.
  • SeekingUniSeekingUni Posts: 2,188Registered User Senior Member
    ^^ Where did you get that information? Everything I've read says that it won't hurt you at all, you just won't get the college credit.

    To the OP: I'd do some fact-checking before believing the above post.
  • archi92archi92 Posts: 688Registered User Member
    Sorry to budge in but does it apply the same thing for high school seniors?
  • byuboundbyubound Posts: 1,327Registered User Senior Member
    I don't think it's worth it if you don't pass, but there is more to taking AP classes than just passing the exams. Scoring high enough for college credit is a big part of it, and what draws people to the program. However, you also need the courses to show colleges your course rigor and to prepare you for college level work. It makes you stand out in the admissions process.
  • SeekingUniSeekingUni Posts: 2,188Registered User Senior Member
    ^ Exactly. The exam only determines whether you'll get college credit. However, your challenging of yourself, making a good grade in the class, and continuing to take more AP classes throughout your HS career will show your motivation and eagerness to challenge yourself, which in turn will make you stand out in the admissions process.
  • bobtheboybobtheboy Posts: 2,216Registered User Senior Member
    @SeekingUni: I have a college counselor who used to be an admissions officer at some pretty selective college - don't remember which but it was definitely top 50 - and she said that really low AP scores, like a 1 or 2, are harmful for applicants, as is withdrawing the score. The better thing you CAN do is just not take the AP test at all or cancel your score. I may have been exaggerating about a 3 hurting you, but I was just extrapolating that that might be true at say, Harvard.
  • uw20106uw20106 Posts: 65Registered User Junior Member
    I understand that ap classes show colleges that you are motivated and challenging yourself throughout high school. But what about if you are already accepted to the college that you want and you know you are going there. Do they still matter in college? For example will getting a 2 on the AP Spanish exam mean I will not pass the class in college if I decide to keep on taking spanish in college?
  • SeekingUniSeekingUni Posts: 2,188Registered User Senior Member
    No, it does not mean that you won't pass the class in college. The AP exam is probably harder than your final will be in the college version of the course.

    Look at it this way: You're taking these rigorous classes in high school, and (hopefully) are gaining a wealth of knowledge. If you end up having to take the class again in college, guess what? You already have a very solid foundation of the curriculum. It's proven that learning things a second time is nothing but beneficial, so if anything, it's helping you prepare for some of the classes you might take in college.

    Just look at the bright side, and I'd say keep challenging yourself. ;)
  • pbbuffpbbuff Posts: 298Registered User Junior Member
    I agree with SeekingUni's point, if you don't end up getting that 4 or 5 or whatever, at least you still have a solid background for taking that class later in college, which will undoubtedly help your GPA :P
  • archi92archi92 Posts: 688Registered User Member
    so in summary, if you are a senior who got accepted to a college, failing the AP exams wouldn't be matter much to the admission.
    but if you are a junior, it shows that you were willing to challenge yourself even though you didn't make it...
    is that right? just want a confirmation
  • hotinpursuithotinpursuit Posts: 719Registered User Member
    It is actually bad if you get a 1 or a 2 because you are indirectly destroying the credibility of your GPA. You could have 1) cheated your way through the course , or 2) had a lazy and easy teacher who gave simple tests

    So, for juniors and under, yes failing AP Exams can hurt you tremendously in college admissions.
  • ModelCX8ModelCX8 Posts: 146Registered User Junior Member
    ^But if we, as current juniors, do fail (3 or under), should we still self-report it if we report our other scores? And this doesn't apply to self-studies right?
  • SeekingUniSeekingUni Posts: 2,188Registered User Senior Member
    Actually, hotinpursuit, that is not at all true. College admissions officers know very well that some extremely bright students don't do well with test-taking, that they stress, and that tests aren't the best way for them to demonstrate their knowledge. They don't ignore that fact.

    If you have 1s and 2s on most of the exams you've ever taken, then that's a different story. But if you have fairly decent exam scores, and fudge up on a small minority of them, you don't have much to worry about.
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