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Why do colleges require both AP and SATII scores

stemitstemit Registered User Posts: 575 Member
edited October 2012 in College Admissions
Why do many colleges require both AP and SATII scores in the same subjects? For example, a student who has completed Cal BC by the end of their junior year and scores a 5, still needs to take and send the Math II scores (sometimes taking the test years after the subject matter was taught); same with Bio and Chem.

Also, do colleges give weight to both or to the "best" scores?
Post edited by stemit on

Replies to: Why do colleges require both AP and SATII scores

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,665 Senior Member
    SAT subject tests cover high school level material.

    AP tests cover (at least in theory) college freshman level material.

    Their purposes are different; AP tests are mainly used to allow students to start in a more advanced course if they have already covered the material in the beginning college course in high school, while SAT subject tests are mainly used for admissions (but sometimes also to place out of remedial-level courses).
  • cortana431cortana431 - Posts: 5,015 Senior Member
    Colleges actually do not require AP scores for admission.
  • amarkovamarkov Registered User Posts: 2,288 Senior Member
    The conventional wisdom is that colleges don't really care about AP scores for admission either.
  • stemitstemit Registered User Posts: 575 Member
    Exactly. But why would colleges not give more weight to a more advanced course.

    Why not give the applicant the choice on which test to submit?
  • celesterobertscelesteroberts Registered User Posts: 2,332 Senior Member
    Perhaps because the SAT subject has a wider range of scores, so divides applicants more finely. Also, all multiple choice, very standardized grading. And AP tests Calculus, not the precalc and earlier stuff that is on SAT subject test. It's different material, different sort of test completely.
  • cortana431cortana431 - Posts: 5,015 Senior Member
    Plenty of schools don't offer AP courses either, due to offering equivalent courses or course level just doesn't go that high.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,665 Senior Member
    What colleges require AP scores for admissions as a general policy, as opposed to special exceptions (e.g. using a high AP score in a foreign language in lieu of high school course work in the foreign language as sometimes done by native or heritage speakers)?
  • stemitstemit Registered User Posts: 575 Member
    No college I know "requires" an AP score. But, many colleges let an applicant unmask the scores (and presumably look at the results).

    The fact that some schools don't offer APs is neither here nor there if the applicant is offered an option to submit one or the other (or both if the applicant so desires). Like the ACT and SAT option.

    The APs and the SATIIs are administered as a worldwide-type test, so results can be correlated across large numbers of students. Why make these applicants take both, e.g., the AP bio test and the SATII bio test?
  • OperaDadOperaDad Registered User Posts: 2,476 Senior Member
    But why would colleges not give more weight to a more advanced course.

    Why not give the applicant the choice on which test to submit?

    I asked a school once. Basically, they do not have enough statistical evidence to use AP scores to distinguish one student from another for admissions purposes.
  • stemitstemit Registered User Posts: 575 Member
    When we visited JHU last year the admissions officer commented that this was a topic of discussion - but no reason was offered on why either way.
  • drusbadrusba Registered User Posts: 9,521 Senior Member
    Ap scores are not required for admission. A small number of colleges, NYU is one, will accept AP scores rather than SAT II scores for admission. Otherwise, SAT II scores by those that actually require or recommend them (a minority) are used for admission and AP scores for college credit after admission. One reason SAT IIs are used for admission and not APs is because colleges want for admission tests that all high school students can take as long as they have had the applicable high school course so they will then have scores from all applicants that can be compared to each other. SAT IIs provide that, APs cannot because many high schools don't offer the applicable AP courses and students generally are not required to take the AP courses even if offered in order to apply to college.
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 25,796 Senior Member
    The conventional wisdom is that colleges don't really care about AP scores for admission either.

    And that is just so wrong, at least for private colleges. Like 800's on ST's, a string of 5's looks pretty darn good to an adcom. Are AP scores required? Nope, (they can't be required since not all high schools offer them, particularly high schools where hooked candidates might attend). Will great scores help? You bet.
  • bclintonkbclintonk Registered User Posts: 7,624 Senior Member
    From Harvard undergraduate admissions FAQ:
    Q: Does Harvard consider non-required test results, such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Abitur, or GCE A-levels?

    A: Yes. We value any information that helps us form a complete picture of an applicant's academic interests and strengths.
This discussion has been closed.