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To take/not take an AP test along with the class?

inthegardeninthegarden 1173 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
edited September 15 in Parents Forum
Is there any indication on college applications that a student simply didn't take an AP test, or if a student didn't report a score, is it assumed the student didn't pass?

D21 is taking AP physics ONLY because it's the only physics class offered in her school. No regular or honors physics. She has to decide tomorrow whether to sign up for the AP physics 1 test. It's too early in the year to know how she'll do in the class overall. Math/science are not her easiest subjets. However, she's a worker-bee/straight-A student so far. Smart but not gifted (if she's borderline gifted, it would be in reading/humanities. For context, got a perfect score in our state's reading comprehension test last year). Honors chem was a struggle for her last year but she pulled off an A with much effort. She's hopeful she can do the same this year, but is afraid she won't be able to retain enough to pass the AP final test. She got a 4 on World history last year. As a freshman she got a 3 on AP gov (honestly, that teacher was not great, only one student got a 5 and most did not pass at all). She took AP computer science principles last year, made a high A in the class but chose not to take the test. I was fine with her skipping that test, but will doing so again hurt her? She's also taking AP Lang and AP U.S History this year and will take those tests.
edited September 15
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Replies to: To take/not take an AP test along with the class?

  • inthegardeninthegarden 1173 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^ Confusing wording above^^

    What I meant was: If a student takes an AP class but not the AP test for that class, there obviously is no score to report. If there's no way to indicate this on the college application (but other AP test scores ARE reported) won't it look like the student took the test but didn't pass?

    Daughter is tending toward not taking the AP test (her school does not require it). She feels it will add to the stress she already feels about the class. She worries that, even if she can make "A"s in the class, she likely won't do well on the AP test. My feeling is that, if she doesn't pass the test, she's really not worse off (in terms of reporting it on college applications) than if she doesn't take the test and has nothing to report. Am I wrong, or is there a place for indicating that she never took the test. Thanks! She has to sign up for the test this week if she plans to take it.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22994 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you don't submit the score, the school won't consider it. The course grade is the course grade.
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  • momocarlymomocarly 892 replies11 threadsRegistered User Member
    My S did not submit his AP physics score and no one cared. In his case he knew the school required him to take the sciences at his college so he shouldn't have even taken it (and didn't study for it) If your goal is an Ivy or other tippy top school you may need to take it otherwise the schedule seems fine without it!
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1173 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member

    Thanks, @twoinanddone, @momocarly, not applying to any ivy-esque schools, lol, probably some nice LACs somewhere in the T-100 I think! Really, she's just taking AP physics to have taken physics, not to have another AP under her belt. I just didn't want her to be penalized if the omission of a test score was a mark against her application.
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  • helpingmom40helpingmom40 66 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    The majority of students do not report AP scores as part of the application process. They are sent to the school after acceptance since they are used to determine placement or granting credit. In that case, they aren’t even seen by admissions staff and don’t play a part in that decision at all.

    My D is a senior this year and we have been told by adcoms to submit AP scores with the application if we feel they are helpful. School GC said they recommend submitting scores of 4 or 5 only but all scores need to be in that range, not cherry picking among all tests taken (if you have 4 AP classes on transcript but have 3 4’s and a 3, don’t send any with application, just send after acceptance for placement).
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  • compmomcompmom 10763 replies76 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Why does she want to take physics at all? Is it too late to take something else instead?
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  • skieuropeskieurope 39277 replies7019 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    edited September 16
    compmom wrote: »
    Why does she want to take physics at all? Is it too late to take something else instead?

    Presumably because the consensus advice is that one should have a year of bio/chem/physics, even if not aiming for HYPSM.
    edited September 16
    Post edited by skieurope on
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  • skieuropeskieurope 39277 replies7019 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    The majority of students do not report AP scores as part of the application process. They are sent to the school after acceptance since they are used to determine placement or granting credit. In that case, they aren’t even seen by admissions staff and don’t play a part in that decision at all.
    The majority of students don't (nor should they) send an official score report for the reasons stated. I'd posit,though, that the majority of students with AP scores do self report on the application.

    Regardless, not taking one AP exam is fine. There are many valid reasons for not taking or self reporting a score, so I would not get hung up on what an AO will assume. In this particular instance, it likely makes sense for the OP's kid not to take it, as this particular AP exam has the highest failure rate - ~60&- of any AP exam.
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  • Jennifer2Jennifer2 16 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    We are also similar dilemma about AP exams for D20. She is a solid student who works extremely hard to overcome a learning disability and is mostly successful. She is taking 2 AP classes because they interest her and are relevant to what she wants to study later. The plan all along was to skip the exam. But now this year there is the new early deadline to register, and fairly intense pressure by both the high school and her peers to sign up and take the exam.

    She's been very anxious about this all weekend, in fact. She feels that she will be unusual if she starts college with no AP credits to place out of anything, and that other students will look down on her. But she also feels that she might not do well even if she takes the exams. It's so darn early in the year she doesn't have a feel yet for how the classes are going to go. She tends to be an A-/B+ student overall.

    As parents, our advice was: skip the exams, take the knowledge, and be more confident in the college level subjects next year. Alternatively, she could register and then still not take the exam, buying time to decide but with potential to lose the fees. We are OK with that but she feels guilty potentially wasting our money.

    Anyone know how common it is to enter college with no AP credits at all? We are talking about colleges in the top 50-100 range, not higher than that.
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  • mathmommathmom 32381 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think it makes sense to take it and not report it if she doesn't like the score. In our school students are required to take the exam if they take an AP course so my view may be colored by that. My younger son didn't study for any of the AP tests he took senior year because he knew he already had all the scores that Tufts would give him credit for. He actually did fine for the most part - even on Physics C (both sections) which was not his forte at all. He got a B or B+ for his final grade.
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  • sciencenerdsciencenerd 1555 replies236 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @OP If I were you daughter I would sign up for the exam. If she passes she can get college credit. If she fails she can choose not to get send the score. This might even motivate her to do well in the course.

    @Jennifer2 -Students enter college with a variety of college credit. No one will even care if she does not have any college credit as it is only her business.

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  • wis75wis75 14074 replies62 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 17
    Signing up for a May exam so soon in the school year, wow. She can go ahead sign up and pay for the AP exam. She can decide next spring whether or not to take it, literally just before the exam. I wonder what a school would do with a no show student when they require the exam?

    Years ago son signed up for 6 AP exams his senior year but the night before decided not to do the AP Biology one- school had a nonAP advanced course. He may have gotten a 5 but was tired of studying for so many tests. It meant needing to take biology in college (did it at a local school one summer) to meet graduation reqs. The AP score could mean one less physical science course in college, regardless of her major.
    edited September 17
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 4089 replies87 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Unless money is an issue, why not just sign up for it? You can always back out if you must. Or not submit the score. I’m always for keeping my options open. I don’t see any advantage to not signing up (I hate dem double negative sentences)...
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  • skieuropeskieurope 39277 replies7019 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    I wonder what a school would do with a no show student when they require the exam?
    @wis75 This is not the school. The College Board instituted the change in registration dates.
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  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1232 replies2 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Weird...our school has a sign up deadline of 10/25 for the AP exams. We can't even start signing up until 9/25.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78266 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Jennifer2 wrote: »
    She's been very anxious about this all weekend, in fact. She feels that she will be unusual if she starts college with no AP credits to place out of anything, and that other students will look down on her. But she also feels that she might not do well even if she takes the exams. It's so darn early in the year she doesn't have a feel yet for how the classes are going to go. She tends to be an A-/B+ student overall.

    As parents, our advice was: skip the exams, take the knowledge, and be more confident in the college level subjects next year. Alternatively, she could register and then still not take the exam, buying time to decide but with potential to lose the fees. We are OK with that but she feels guilty potentially wasting our money.

    If money is not the issue, why not sign up and take them? Or is there a specific disadvantage for having taken them (for any score earned) that she and/or you are concerned about?
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  • thumper1thumper1 74816 replies3279 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Is your daughter a HS senior? If so, her AP scores for courses taken this year won’t even be available until after she matriculates.
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1443 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 17
    Some additional information to the above advice, some AP classes at my D20's high school highly encourage all students to take the AP exam in lieu of a final OR if they do not take the AP exam, they have to take a final for a grade.

    Also, some AP teachers will give a "one letter grade" bump in spring semester grade if the student receives a 5 on the exam. For example, student has a "B" in the class going into the AP exam and scores a 5. Her final grade in the class will be an "A".
    edited September 17
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1173 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @socaldad2002, she has to take a final that's 10% of her grade whether or not she takes the AP test. (Don't think there's a grade bump with a good AP score, but I'll ask her). Since she'll have to study for the final anyway, I'd rather she take the test but I'm going to let this one be her decision.
    She finds testing stressful, will already have to take AP Lang and AP U.S. History, plus PSAT, SAT/ACT this year. She's a worrier, so I think I'll just give her the facts and let her control this decision.

    For me, money spent on the test (or not) is not a big factor, pro or con. Getting college credit also not a big factor, as I believe that any class taken in college will be at greater depth, though she might like having a physical science requirement out of the way, as she's not likely to become a STEM student.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 4089 replies87 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    That one letter grade bump is potentially a big thing, but only if the student is not a senior in HS, since you won’t know the score until after graduation!

    Edit: never mind, OP is D21. Yeah that grade bump benefit is pretty uncommon, but at my kid’s HS in NorCal, the science departments (Bio, Chem, Physics C) does bump a grade to an A- if you got a B and subsequently got a 5 on the AP test.

    I still see no con in taking the test - it’s not as if she has to drive somewhere on a Saturday morning to take the test. Studying for the AP exam will most likely help her in the regular exam.
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