AP Classes

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by usmacandidate2020, Feb 7, 2016.

  1. usmacandidate2020

    usmacandidate2020 Member

    Dec 3, 2015
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    Hi Everyone,

    I received my appointment to West Point the other day, and I am all ready looking forward to R-Day.

    My school is making us sign up for the AP tests around now, and I was just wondering how much my AP test scores will factor in at WP. Should I put in a lot of time and effort into studying or if WP could care less about the score, can the test just be a really expensive nap? Thanks!!
  2. 624mom

    624mom Member

    Oct 12, 2015
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    Does your HS have a policy regarding AP testing? Ours does, if you take the course you must take the test.

    More importantly, at our house, it's about following through. Our rule, you start it, you finish it. We want our kids to enjoy their senior year but an appointment or college acceptance doesn't signal the end...finish strong!
  3. 5Day

    5Day Member

    Nov 18, 2015
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    From the West Point site. http://www.usma.edu/academics/sitepages/advanced placement.aspx
    The AP test scores will be used by academic departments as one piece of information to determine advanced placement or validation for new cadets. USMA also provides its own testing for new cadets to determine if they will be scheduled for the standard course, the advanced course or if they can validate the course. Five different departments provide USMA placement testing/validation opportunities to new cadets during the month of July. Also an AP score of 5 in European, US, or World History is necessary to proceed to validation. An AP Calculus, AB or BC, score of 4 or 5 is important in validating Calculus. A Chemistry AP score of 4 or 5 can be important in validating chemistry. English requires an AP score of 4 or 5, and a high SAT-V score for consideration to validate English composition.

    Here is an interesting post from 2014. http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/ap-validation.19686/#post-191835

    If allowed by your school, i would only take (pay for) the test if it was going to aid in corse validation. The list above is short. It would not be an unreasonable to ask the Academy if the list on the new candidate faq is current.
  4. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

    Jun 18, 2012
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    Finish up the class and take the test. In the remote event you leave WP, you've set your self up well for Plan B.
    The dangers of advanced placement: once there you'll quickly learn your education at WP is multi-faceted with a heavy under tow of other issues. As an example, (and I don't know who you are or how gifted intellectually you are) taking advanced courses seems great from the outside, however generally speaking your GPA will be lower than those not taking advanced placement scores. Your class ranking will be lower and the ability to "branch" in you desired interest will be more competitive. You could run into risk issues if your academics fall below par and find yourself facing academic boards. As an underclassmen your boundaries will be well established and not much wiggle room while carrying 20 to 22 units. At the end of the day, you'll be a 2LT and that advanced class really didn't account for much as compared to someone who was ranked higher and received the branch they wanted.

    Just something to consider.

    Push Hard, Press Forward
    Aberj391 likes this.
  5. ClimberGirl

    ClimberGirl Member

    Dec 3, 2015
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    They typically only accept 5's on AP testing.
  6. BlackKnight2016

    BlackKnight2016 5-Year Member

    Jan 29, 2012
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    DS is a Firstie this year and I can share how this turned out for him 3.5 years ago when he started. Received 5's on AP US History and AP European History and was able to validate out of Plebe US History and World History, but in it's place he took the senior level class Art of War a full year 2 semester class every Firstie has to take that encompasses history, political science... an in depth understanding of major wars. Even if you validate out of class, your schedule must still be filled up with similar classes and in this case as a plebe he is thrown in with Firsties to take Art of War. Did fine with the class and now in his Firstie year it has opened up two spots in his schedule that quickly got filled up with a capstone project and research project with a professor. He was rewarded for those AP classes but it was 4 years later when he got to choose how to fill up the empty slots.

    For what its worth, here is the other side. He took AP Calc and received an A but chose not to sit for the AP test. He wanted to take calculus over again at WP so he could learn it their way. He figured without the AP test score he would automatically get slotted for 1st semester calculus. During plebe testing at Beast he tested high enough to validate out of calculus and move into 2nd semester calculus. Since he didn't have the outside test score to lend credibility to the GPA or the plebe test, he had to take the plebe test a 2nd time to prove he had mastered first semester calculus. The best laid plan backfired on him and trying to game the system doesn't always work. WP will always push you to go further than you think you can.

    These are very specific scenarios and may not be the norm, but I have read enough to know this is a good indication of how the system works. Best of luck with your decision.
    Andromeda likes this.
  7. VelveteenR

    VelveteenR Just gathering dust in the nursery...

    Jul 24, 2014
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    Only you know what type of student you are and how much you can handle. It is certainly possible to validate classes at WP without jeopardizing your GPA or class rank, but you must demonstrate real mastery of the material. I don't think APs measure much, and I think the academies find them suspect as well which is why they do their own testing. However if, between APs and academy testing, you are able to validate classes and you know yourself to be a strong student, I say go for it. The benefits are avoiding repetitive material, getting into the classes that interest you sooner, and the ability to double major if you wish. Plus, it will help your GPA/class rank to get good grades in higher-level classes than those same grades in lower-level classes.

    If you have taken the AP classes, take the time and effort to study and do well on the tests. I'm with @624mom -- finish what you start. Don't leave that question mark in your file.

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