How can I improve?

Well, I just finished my IB freshman year. AP scores came out today and I found out that I made a 3 on the AP World Exam. I really thought that I did much better on it because I was first in my AP World History class for 3 out of 4 quarters and because my teacher said my essays were the best he’d seen that year. To be frank, I believe I’m extremely intelligent- I have almost never studied for tests at all, but I usually get some of, if not the, highest grades in my class. Unfortunately, I have the worst luck- for the first semester of 9th grade, I got sick right during exams. Because of this, I got a D on my AP World semester exam (and a B overall in the class). I also got a B overall for my AICE GP class because our teacher was extremely strict and somewhat unreasonable. In the first semester, no one in her class received an A overall, and only a very small handful of students (including myself) were able to get Bs. For the rest of the year, I got straight As, though. When my AP World Exam came around, I had severe test anxiety- while I don’t usually get nervous for tests, I did for the AP Exam, mostly because we took it in a large and somewhat unnerving auditorium. I believe I did well on the multiple choice portion, but I felt that all of my essays were disorganized and messy while I was writing them. Because of this, I couldn’t concentrate well and became very frustrated (I may be developing OCD, as of now it’s unclear). Although grammar, spelling, and syntax aren’t graded on the AP Exam, I get extremely frustrated if my sentences do not sound right or if I used a word that I consider to be much too elementary. As a result, I make frequent changes to my writing. However, instead of simply crossing out words, I blot them out with ink (if I do not I will become even more frustrated). Essentially, I most likely did poorly on my exam because I wasted too much time on grammar and vocabulary. (I wasn’t even able to finish my third essay.) Aside from the AP Exam, I received another B for the first semester of summer pre-calculus because I got sick for exams yet again. We had three tests that week (2 chapter tests and the semester exam). I made a high C and a low B on the chapter tests (which I took when my illness was intensifying), and on the semester exam (which I took when my illness was waning) I got a 95 (I needed a 99 to make an A). In addition to all of this, I’m not the most sociable person, so I have never participated in any extracurriculars. I’m aiming for a top-tier college, but if my illnesses keep interfering with my grades, I don’t know if I can get accepted into one.

Hi! So you just finished your freshman year? The advice that I can give is in your sophomore, junior, and senior year work on taking classes that show you are challenging yourself, but also classes that you can manage. Talk to your counsellors, advisors, parents, guardians, etc. to see what those classes are. Also I would suggest that you start working your way towards joining extra curriculars and doing some outside of school things. Colleges want to see that you are trying new things so when you come to their school you can become part of their community. You can decide what is best for you, you don’t have to join the most social clubs, but find something that will help you connect with your community. Also top tier colleges care a lot about test scores, so find ways that will help you be more comfortable with tests. I get anxiety during tests too, so what helped me the most was taking practice tests more so I knew how to handle them and knew how to handle my obstacles when I got to them. Also, there will be room on your application to explain any thing you feel needs explanation, so if you want to explain freshman year to them, you can!! I would just work on your grades and extra curriculars and colleges will see the effort. Try your best and you’ll be great! Good luck!

Thanks for your reply. I usually do very well on tests; I just felt uncomfortable because the environment I took the test in was quite imposing. If I recall correctly, colleges don’t see AP scores unless you send them to one. You’re definetely right about the extracurriculars. I’m going to try to get into SECME and a few honors societies next year.

That’s awesome def do that! And ya that’s true about the AP scores, colleges do get curious when you don’t send the scores because they automatically assume that you didn’t do well or other things, but it’s such a MINOR part of your application and they are normally used for placement once you are already accepted to you school. Let’s just put it this way, no school is not going to accept you because of a bad grade on your AP test or not sending it in(that may in question for the ivies, but i wouldn’t worry too much) , however if you have bad grades in the class or a low GPA that’s different. With all that in mind, you seem like you are on the right track in terms of getting ready to apply to colleges and all that because you seem organized and attentive when it comes to all this! Just stay confident and organized and you’ll do great! Feel free to message me with any other questions! I’d love to help!