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To AP or not?


JD1
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I’m struggling with trying to figure out if taking 3 AP exams (self-study) next month will be worthwhile.  Here is the scenario:

Homeschooled all courses with  WTMA 3.93 gpa

4 DE classes(all A’s) at embry-riddle univ; engineering, calculus, physics & comp sci. 

Sat score was 1440(730 eng 710 math)

Son is a junior and reaching for elite schools.

Extracurriculars and essays are Lake Wobegon above average.

 

WTMA doesn’t really offer AP classes, and AP’s are not taught at our local rural high school, so the thought was to self study for the AP comp sci, statistics and economic exams with the aim of providing more verification of academic success.

 

At this point with only a month more to prep, I’m wondering whether it was a mistake.

He was disappointed with the math score on the SAT after a year of serious study!

If the AP exams don’t matter then he could put the time into other activities.

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1) AP scores do not affect the GPA

2) if he doesn’t do well for the exams, there is a form to fill up to cancel scores.

3) my teens have taken those exams you mentioned. Make sure your son does at least a set of past year exam FRQs and grade according to the score guidelines. It is also useful to read the chief reader report

e.g for computer science https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-computer-science-a/exam/past-exam-questions

good luck

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There's really nothing to lose (other than 9 hours) by taking the exams at this point, since he'll only report the scores if they're good. If he's reporting the scores, you can put "name of course w/ AP exam" on the transcript and, IME, colleges will treat that the same as having an AP course on the transcript. If he feels like it's too much, what about picking one or two of them to prep for and forgetting about the other/s?

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We are in the same club. Dd really looked at the AP Micro materials for the first time today. To be fair, she did a Macro self study last year (but not AP). She is just testing to apply the credit to her second major. If she tanks it we won’t send scores.

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Yeah, I’d have him prep/take the exams. If he isn’t happy with the scores, he doesn’t have to send/mention them. If he is, it could strengthen his application (but is definitely not necessary).

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Sure - take the tests and cancel the scores if he doesn't like the results! He doesn't *have* to send the results to colleges. My kids had a couple AP courses that I had properly registered with the College Board, but had conflicts with test dates, so they didn't take the tests. No one ever asked any of the kids about them.

I saw you mention that he was unhappy with his Math SAT results - spend more time crash testing for an SAT re-take, imo!

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The college board also have a lot of resources now made available during Covid. They have teachers teaching the main points of the course and have videos for each course available on YouTube. Have your students go through those if they will find it useful. Mine will start preparing next week after finishing the content for the one course they are both taking and I plan on using those. 

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17 minutes ago, MamaSprout said:

Does anyone take SAT 2 scores anymore?

If you have them, colleges will accept them. It's just that fewer and fewer people will have them and there's no way to get new ones.

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15 minutes ago, MamaSprout said:

Does anyone take SAT 2 scores anymore?

 A couple schools were required them for homeschoolers when my college junior applied.  I know they stopped offering them after Covid but they’d still serve as grade verification if you had one sitting around.

 I guess that was my more general point, that having some outside verification of academic rigor for high end competitive private schools other than a ACT/SAT is a good idea (grades, de, other testing, AP, etc).   I’d try the AP if the OP didn’t have other data, you can always decide not to submit.   

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My ds self-studied for 3 of them when he was homeschooled, with an AP certified public school teacher overseeing it (and my dh organizing it).  He was able to enter college as a sophomore (he was already taking 2 at the public school -- we had that option in our town).  If he had a clear path, it would have been worth it, for sure.  As it was, he switched majors and schools and in the end it didn't really save him a lot of time.  But, I think if your ds is preparing for it anyway, he might as well do it!  As others have said, you can always choose to not submit.

Edited by J-rap
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2 minutes ago, MamaSprout said:

Yeah, I worded that unclearly… I meant “accepting them”. 

Oh, that makes more sense.  You can probably tell I'm still a little sad that they went away.  

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You don't have to cancel low AP scores. You can just choose not to report them on applications. Especially in this situation, where there won't be an official AP course on the transcript. 

AP scores go out on a separate score report from the SAT.

If applying to highly selective colleges, the AP scores could help. He doesn't need to get 5's in all of them to report scores for one or two of them.

Also, students can miss questions and still get a 4 or 5 score. Be sure he understands the scoring for free response questions. They are looking for specific qualities in those responses. 

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Mine is just starting to "prep" (I use that word loosely) for AP HUG, which he has on 5/5, and he literally crammed the weekend before AP CS A last year and pulled off a 3. Seriously, zero studying until the weekend before (despite the study plan I gave him), and he had finished the course in December, so had forgotten half of the content by May. I was out of the state, finishing up nursing school, for the 6 weeks leading up the exam, and he was 12 at the time, so yeah.

Just go for it. He's got this. You miss all the shots that you don't take. 

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My current senior son has around 50 college credits (most at 4 year institutions) but we also did a handful of APs classes and scores to wash the transcript as he too went for selective schools.  Not much overlap between the two (well a little with history and such). Like others have said, not much to lose and it’s good to practice exams 😉 

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