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Taking the AP class without the AP Test

cj5555cj5555 Registered User Posts: 184 Junior Member
I was wondering if taking an AP class without the AP test will look bad, or if you take the test a different year?

Replies to: Taking the AP class without the AP Test

  • Andrew99911Andrew99911 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Colleges will expect to see a score tied with the class that you take. Considering that the difficulty of AP courses varies from school to school, colleges like to have a medium that can compare students from vastly different schools. Therefore, getting an "A" in an AP class is slightly different than getting a 4 or 5 on an AP test. Colleges would like to see that you've taken the test so that they can see how well you've actually learned the material, and that you worked/studied to complete the test. It shows commitment and mastery of the course that a letter grade can't deeply provide. Taking it another year would probably make little difference to taking it the same year, except the fact that you will forget stuff and might preform worse.
  • RMNiMiTzRMNiMiTz Registered User Posts: 779 Member
    edited May 2017

    Colleges don't ask for your AP scores at admission, because they may be a variety of reasons that a student possibly couldn't take the exam.

    AP exam scores don't factor into admission at all. They only matter when you are admitted and trying to get credit.
  • ColoradomamaColoradomama Registered User Posts: 1,031 Senior Member
    @cj5555 @RMNiMiTz I think it is fine to take the AP test a year later, but maybe explain that in your application.

    AP scores do factor into admissions at many colleges.

    Admission to any U of California campus, depends directly on AP classes and AP scores, as I understand it. They have a formula that includes an unweighted GPA, and number of 4s and 5s on AP exams. I think most selective east coast colleges do care about AP scores and look at the scores for junior year and previous years. Lots of US students today are starting AP classes in 9th grade, which is why some have 12-16 AP tests by 12th grade. Freshman often take AP Human Geography instead of 9th grade social studies today. Also, a student does not need to be enrolled in an AP class to sign up for an AP test, and do well on it. I know a lot of students who study and earn 5s based on other types of coursework at community college, or summer study, or an honors chemistry class or say Chemistry League participation and earn a 5 on the AP Chem test, as an example.

    Also colleges that do not require the SAT subject exams, may look at the scores and count them, which seems unfair, but always take two SAT subject exam tests, depending on your strengths. Take the hardest math you can do, and another subject is typical.

    If other applicants to your favorite college have submitted AP scores and top SAT subject exam scores, they will get in and you may not, so just understand the process, everything counts in today's world, even if its called "optional".
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 29,004 Super Moderator
    edited May 2017
    AP scores do factor into admissions at many colleges.
    In the US? Not for any college that I'm aware of, and certainly not the case for UC's. If you know something different, please provide a source.
    Post edited by skieurope on
  • GumbymomGumbymom Registered User Posts: 20,112 Senior Member
    AP Scores do not factor in the University of California (UC) admission decisions. AP classes get extra weighting in the UC GPA calculation and they also contribute to an applicants overall HS course rigor, but not taking the AP tests or getting low scores will only result in not getting any college credit for these courses.
  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 17,109 Senior Member
    Only certain schools that use SAT subject tests and AP exam scores in lieu of SAT/ACT for admission purpose. Most school do not look at your AP score as they do not require submission of AP score. By the time of application, you only have scores up to junior year anyway which may be only a few subjects that may not be even relevant. Taking the AP class but not self-reporting all the scores may make some adcom think you either did not take the test or did not do well in the test. Nevertheless, they cannot judge you by that either.
  • happy1happy1 Registered User Posts: 18,914 Senior Member
    You should also talk to your guidance counselor. In some schools taking the AP test is a required component of taking the AP course.

    Our HS moved away from an AP curriculum (and has a similar high level class with a different designation) and does not require that students take the AP test. In fact my D did not take AP Chemistry as her teacher felt that if she wanted to take upper level chemistry in college that she start the sequence over at that college since different areas are stressed at different schools.
  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 17,109 Senior Member
    Also, it is rather common for HS senior accepted by college EA/ED that they would skip the AP exam to save money if they know the AP credit policy of that school not honoring certainly AP exam for credit.
  • soontobecollegersoontobecolleger Registered User Posts: 386 Member
    Whats all this talk about colleges not looking at AP scores for admissions? There's a reason students are told to send scores before being admitted... There's a reason there is a spot for it on the common app. It might be different for certain colleges but for the more selective ones, finishing junior year without any 4s or 5s looks pretty bad, unless you have some special circumstances.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 29,004 Super Moderator
    There's a reason students are told to send scores before being admitted.
    No they're not. Unless the college uses AP's in lieu of other tests, no US college requires an official score report before acceptance.
    There's a reason there is a spot for it on the common app
    Which is optional.
    Whats all this talk about colleges not looking at AP scores for admissions?
    Nobody said they were not looked at if supplied. What I said is that they are not a meaningful factor in the admissions process. For many applicants, it's a moot point as the HS, for pedagogical reasons or economic reasons, offers few/no AP's.

    Certainly a wall of 1's and 2's will not bode well for an applicant's success at a tippy top school, and this may play out in admissions decisions. However a wall of 5's probably will not overcome other deficiencies in the application.
  • LBad96LBad96 Registered User Posts: 3,499 Senior Member
    I took an AP class my senior year, but didn't take the test because I didn't feel the need to shell out more $ to take an arduous test...
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 3,087 Senior Member
    I know someone who took 5 AP classes senior year but only 4 AP tests. This did not have any affect at all on college admission. She got a "5" on each of the AP tests that she took, got college credit for them (and for a few more APs from earlier), and just didn't get college credit for the one remaining AP class. That one test would have required a LOT of studying, and not taking it was probably a factor in her doing so well on the remaining tests.
  • ColoradomamaColoradomama Registered User Posts: 1,031 Senior Member
    AP exams only cost about $80 each. If a student takes exams that often result in credi that could save $2000 or $3000 as college credits are expensive. This is why taking AP exams is very cosy effective. Note many universities will not take the AP statistics exam for credit. Read the page called AP credits at your top three or four college choices to get an idea. Most good students want to test themselves. The AP exams are a bargain and there are scholarships or fee waivers available if you need that.
  • ColoradomamaColoradomama Registered User Posts: 1,031 Senior Member
    Schools that have many thousands of identical applications from students with 4.0 GPAs for certain use the AP scores to differentiate. What else distinguishes students today? The myth of "wholistic"
    Admissions counselors who pour over our children's essays is a MYTH. I think each application gets 10 to 15 minute once over. For certain good AP scores will influence this. How else can they distinguish students? Lots of OPTIONAL testing and what students do in the summers has a very high influence on who gets into college today. There are also pipeline high schools that have pipes to certain elite colleges. It's a mess but it's how things work when schools get 10's of 1000's applications in some cases.
  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 17,109 Senior Member
    Lucky you for $80 each in AP exam. Here we pay $130 each. It would be great if the AP exam score actually brings credit to the student, but most don't. On the other hand, AP credit policy varies from school to school. Even worse, some credits are not useful for certain major at all so the saving may not happen in some case. In contrary, having too many credits may end up paying upperclassmen tuition rate earlier at some schools. Nevertheless, one may drop the useless credits to avoid that. As AP courses are not universally available in all high schools, and each school have different AP offering policies (some HS only offer AP to senior), the adcom would have a hard time to use the AP score to evaluate students although having good AP score(s) may give a very small benefit. There are many better and more fair ways to distinguish top students like SAT2, academic awards, etc.
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