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Should I report a 3 on an AP exam related to my intended major?

biobizbiobiz 4 replies4 threads New Member
I received a 3 on my AP Biology and a 4 on my AP Calc BC exams this year, and I'm planning to apply to many selective schools as a biology major. I have 6 other scores of 5's, but they are all from humanities subjects.

Some schools, like MIT, encourage students to report all their standardized testing scores. If I exclude these scores, it might look like I got a 1 or 2 on the exams, but if I report them, these scores will not be up to par with some of the most competitive applicants (4 on Calc BC is pretty bad considering almost half who take it get a 5).

Is it better to leave the two scores out, report all of my scores, or just report none and indicate that I was a National AP Scholar?
8 replies
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Replies to: Should I report a 3 on an AP exam related to my intended major?

  • RichInPittRichInPitt 2827 replies48 threads Senior Member
    I suspect it won’t make much of a difference - Bio has one of the lower 4/5 score percentages and APs have little weight in admissions decisions anyway.

    MIT as your example - they don’t even mention AP on their standardized testing page or their admissions statistics page. If they suggest sending all standardized test scores, which I can’t find, I suspect they are referring to all SAT and ACT test dates.

    (Side note - do you have an additional unmentioned AP score? The six 5s plus a 3 and a 4 in your initial post wouldn’t meet the “4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.” criteria. Not that the specific title will mean much, if anything, on an application.)
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  • skieuropeskieurope 41677 replies8008 threads Super Moderator
    biobiz wrote: »
    Some schools, like MIT, encourage students to report all their standardized testing scores.

    No they don't.

    If using MIT as an example, AP scores play little role in admissions. And they don't give credit for bio anyway.

    My greater worry for you would be the 4 in calc. Even for humanities majors, the gen ed requirements ¬ GIR in MIT-speak, include some pretty intense STEM courses.
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  • Brown79Brown79 30 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Let's back up some from "how to get in" to "why would you want to get in?". It's understandable that a HS student will have a favorite college(s) choice, for whatever reasons, but be careful about seeing admission as a prize to be won, when it's actually more about "good fit" vs "poor fit".

    Attending a school at which you would constantly be struggling to achieve even median performance isn't much of a way to spend four years. Then on the back end nearing graduation, it will become apparent that employers aren't generally going to be interested in someone with poor grades from a good school... and grad schools even less so.

    The good news is you that have demonstrated yourself to be an intelligent and capable student. You will almost certainly be admitted to selective or even very selective colleges. Then it's just a matter of choosing the right one, the right major, and working however hard you decide to work (the one real determinant of success, and it can be accomplished most anywhere).


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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 84677 replies752 threads Senior Member
    skieurope wrote: »
    My greater worry for you would be the 4 in calc. Even for humanities majors, the gen ed requirements ¬ GIR in MIT-speak, include some pretty intense STEM courses.

    http://catalog.mit.edu/mit/undergraduate-education/general-institute-requirements/

    MIT requires 18.01 and 18.02 for math. 18.01 is like all of single variable calculus (or calculus BC) in one semester, while 18.02 is multivariable calculus. See https://math.mit.edu/academics/undergrad/first/calculus.php .
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  • skieuropeskieurope 41677 replies8008 threads Super Moderator
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    skieurope wrote: »
    My greater worry for you would be the 4 in calc. Even for humanities majors, the gen ed requirements ¬ GIR in MIT-speak, include some pretty intense STEM courses.

    http://catalog.mit.edu/mit/undergraduate-education/general-institute-requirements/

    MIT requires 18.01 and 18.02 for math. 18.01 is like all of single variable calculus (or calculus BC) in one semester, while 18.02 is multivariable calculus. See https://math.mit.edu/academics/undergrad/first/calculus.php .

    I'm aware of that. The point that I was trying to make is that student that got a 4 on BC where the mode is 5 might struggle in 18.01. Alternatively, maybe the student just had a bad day on the day of the exam.
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  • biobizbiobiz 4 replies4 threads New Member
    RichInPitt wrote: »
    I suspect it won’t make much of a difference - Bio has one of the lower 4/5 score percentages and APs have little weight in admissions decisions anyway.

    MIT as your example - they don’t even mention AP on their standardized testing page or their admissions statistics page. If they suggest sending all standardized test scores, which I can’t find, I suspect they are referring to all SAT and ACT test dates.

    (Side note - do you have an additional unmentioned AP score? The six 5s plus a 3 and a 4 in your initial post wouldn’t meet the “4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.” criteria. Not that the specific title will mean much, if anything, on an application.)

    Yes, I also have a 4 in Computer Science Principles, but I'm not too concerned about that one since it's not related to my major and we didn't even have an AP exam this year to calculate towards our score.
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  • biobizbiobiz 4 replies4 threads New Member
    Sorry! I forgot to mention that I actually emailed MIT about AP scores since they didn't mention it with the other test options like IB and A-Levels, and they emailed back saying:

    "We do ask that you report any test scores you have received. We understand that a variety of factors can influence a student's performance, and you can (and should) include any info you would like us to know in the additional information box provided in the application. "

    All my scores below 5 were from exams taken this year, but I don't think the online testing format would be a valid excuse. Plus, I received A's for both semesters of AP Bio. Would they be suspicious if I reported all my other scores besides the 3?
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 8200 replies87 threads Senior Member
    You asked the question.

    They answered the question.

    If you don't want to respect their answer don't apply there.
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