Is there such thing as too many 4s?

<p>Title says it all. I'm looking at Ivies and would be considered a solid applicant relative to the rest of their applicant pools, but I've always been concerned about my AP scores. In my junior year I attended a private school that didn't place much emphasis on APs at all; in fact, they discontinued labeling advanced science courses as "AP" because they didn't want to wind up teaching exclusively to the test. But the toughest classes were definitely tough. The top students in my grade took 3 APs a year at the most - I was considered an exception for taking 4. The problem was that the classes didn't necessarily follow the AP curricula - for example, my APUSH teacher never taught my class how to write DBQs. His in-class tests were extremely difficult, and covered minute/relatively insignificant details in the book, most of which would never have showed up as a multiple choice question on the AP. So even though I spent a good chunk of time studying for his class, it was a lose-lose situation because 1) I'm no good with rote memorization, especially not when it involves small details, and 2) the class didn't specifically prepare me for the AP test as much as it could have. I got a 4 on the APUSH test in May. </p>

<p>Anyway, that was just an example. Out of the 4 AP classes I took during my junior year, I got a 5 on only one of their respective AP exams (AP English Language). The rest were all 4s (AP Calculus AB, APUSH, AP Macroecon). I honestly was intimidated by the AP Econ exam, because it was a one-semester class at my school and the teacher was particularly discouraging towards me. Even though I worked extremely hard for her class and even biked to school on Saturdays to get extra help with problem sets, she essentially told me at the end of the semester that I would fail the AP and advised me against taking it. (In retrospect, I suspect she may even have been racist, as I was the only non-white student in the class - but that's not the point.) I took the exam anyway, both to show that I did at least learn something from the class and to prove to my teacher that I wasn't as incompetent as she thought I was. </p>

<p>The 4 on Calc AB - honestly, I was surprised by that. I had a very good feeling about the test when I left the exam room. Math has always been one of my strongest subjects. I guess something happened - maybe I misbubbled something, maybe I misread one of the FRQs - but whatever it was, it obviously didn't work wonders for my score. :P My track record with math has been very strong, though - A's in all math classes, 800 on SAT I Math (twice, actually), 790 on SAT II Math Level II - so I'm hoping admissions officers will see the 4 as an isolated incident. </p>

<p>Sorry about the incoherent rambling. I really tried my best to do well during my junior year, but I'm afraid this may be one of those situations where "your (in this case, my) best just isn't good enough." I read somewhere that several Ivy admissions offices consider AP scores to be among the best predictors of success, so I'm scared that the fact that I didn't get all 5's will work against me. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time!</p>

<p>Colleges don't consider AP exam scores as much as everyone seems to think. They're mainly used as placement after you've been accepted. The fact that you took the AP classes and passed the exams is good enough, and won't affect your application much, if at all, considering your high scores on the SAT and your grades. So I would say don't worry about the 4s, and just focus on maintaining a high GPA and doing extracurricular activities. Even if your AP exam scores were being given equal weight with your other scores and application details, then there's nothing you can really do about it at this point, so just rest assured that the 4s won't hurt you in the long run.</p>