Can I still get into T-10 Colleges with a 4 on the AP Calculus BC Exam

I took the AP Calculus BC Exam and I got a 4. My final grade in this class was around a 99. I was wondering if this would hurt my chances at colleges like MIT, Harvard, Princeton. I also took Calc 3 and got an A so I’m not sure if that would contribute anything. Any input would be appreciated.

Your grade in the class and the rigor of your overall schedule is what matters for admission. AP scores aren’t really used for admission decisions, they’re more for determining which classes you should take when you get into college. For example, my kid’s AP Calc BC grade allowed him to bypass Calc 1 and Calc 2 and go straight into Calc 3.

90% of the applicants won’t get into the schools you listed. Make sure you have a balanced list of schools you can afford and would be happy to attend.


Getting a 4 on the AP exam is not what is going to affect your chances. But your odds of getting into any of those schools are less than 1 in 20. Do you bring anything else to the table to distinguish yourself with every other student with Straight A’s and high Rigor.


A 4 on the BC is not going tgo hurt you. What concerns me, though, is that you got a 99 in the class and still got a 4. Maybe you had a bad day, or maybe this is telling us something about your school’s grading policy and/or depth of the material taught.


How did you do on your other APs? Are you submitting a SAT/ACT and/or SAT math2 score?

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Ive gotten all 5s on my other exams and I have a 1590 on the SAT.


Due to COVID my teacher had rushed final material such as series so for a lot of those questions I was not confident in my answers. It was also a bad test day as I felt rushed due to taking it online. Would people reading my application have the same suspicions as you? Is there anyway to clarify this on the application?

I believe I have other things on my application that can allow me to standout. You can look at the first post on my account to see my qualifications. Thanks for your help.

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Whew! That is wonderful. Great work.

Here’s my take—if AP scores didn’t matter to someone, somewhere, they wouldn’t be asked for on the Common App. Everything matters, and the more selective the school—and you’re asking about the T5–it’s in the minutiae that the deals are made.

Yes, I would call a 4 on BC an issue for MIT, Princeton, and Harvard, because of the roughly 38% who receive a 5, and for the reasons @MITPhysicsAlum raises. Fortunately, your 4 will be viewed in a sea of 5s, with your 1590 all but obscuring it. It will be noticed, but I think it will be written off as a weird blip. If you don’t get in, your 4 will not be the reason (as @sdl0625 suggests).

I am very confused reading your other threads. Are you going into your Senior year?

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That’s for AB. The percentage of 5’s on BC is over twice that

Subject Tests have been discontinued. MIT, on the OP’s list, won’t even consider them. Other colleges have said the same, and I suspect still more will join the club in the coming weeks or months.

Anyway, back to the OP, will a 4 on BC, which is a great score, stick out out like a sore thumb? Sadly, yes. If you are rejected, will the 4 be the reason? No.

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I didn’t know that MIT will not consider SAT subject tests any longer. Good to know!

Even with the subject tests having been discontinued, Princeton’s website says they’re still accepting them and Harvard’s website for the class of 2025 reads, “we recommend submitting two SAT Subject Tests, except in the case of financial hardship.” This of course could change for the next admission cycle.

My point was that an 800 on SAT math2 could take a bit of the sting out of a 4 on BC at the T5.

I brought up MIT, since the OP mentioned it, because that is the college where the 4 would raise the eyebrow highest. An 800 on M2, back in the day, was the default score for successful applicants.

While I think it is a case of a bad day for the OP, and their performance in calc 3 helps offset, in general, applicants with < 5 on BC should ask themselves if MIT is right for them, particularly if post-college plans are GPA dependant.

Whether HPS will consider Subject Tests (Yale will not), I will expect the website language to change. Harvard’s, in particular, comes across as clueless or tone deaf.

Regardless, admissions to HYPSM is a reach for all

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Maybe. Maybe not. I’m naturally a suspicious person. :wink:

It’s really more for you than them. You need to assess whether your high school gave you an MIT-level preparation or some other level.

Don’t think of a monkey!
Why did you just think of a monkey?

I wouldn’t do anything to draw attention to this.

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Most colleges do not require you to report all of your AP scores. You can just leave the Calc score off, if you’re really that worried. Given the pandemic, many kids haven’t taken all their AP tests, so leaving it off is unlikely to even be noticed.

anecdotal evidence, but my friend is going to uchicago this fall and they reported their 2s. they never scored above a 3 in an ap exam. of course uchi is not HMP but hopefully this means something to you.

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Single most encouraging post ever lol.

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