AP Testing


Oct 27, 2016
Hi all,

I've been trying to decide if it's necessary for me to take AP tests this year. I took AP Calculus BC, AP Chemistry, and AP Lang last year and did well on all 3, and am currently enrolled in AP Statistics and AP Lit this year. I've received mixed answers from people I've asked, including my counselor (told me one thing, a friend something else).

The last thing I want to happen is for it to look bad for me that I didn't take the tests this year. I'm doing well in both of the classes, so USAFA will see that on my transcript.

Any thoughts on this? From parents of cadets who had this dilemma, or anyone who is experienced with this type of situation. Thanks.
According to the "Instruction to Appointees" from last year, scoring a "5" on the AP Lit exam may allow you to validate an English course. However, a lower score would not. So, it would be up to you if think you can do well on the exam. I didn't see anything for Statistics.
Even if you don't 'place out' of any classes the SAs still look at AP scores for placement in standard or advances classes.

Here is a good description from USMA; I expect similar at all SAs:

http://www.usma.edu/academics/SitePages/Advanced Placement.aspx

Apart from test fee there is no downside to taking the AP tests; you do not have to send in your scores. USAFA does not use these for Admissions; just for placement.

IMHO from my past experience [and current college age acquaintances] I think placing out of advanced math and science courses [especially in an engineering / science degree program] may not be the best idea. Use the AP test for placement calibration; stick with the core curriculum and have a head start on the course content. Engineering programs are tough enough without trying to accelerate them; I cant imagine how hard while handling all the other SA requirements . . .
in conjunction with core course placement exams

Unfortunately, there are no core course placement exams for English, Literature, or Statistics. The placement exams cover foreign languages, math, physics, and chemistry.

However, as MidwestDad also mentioned, unless the test fee is a concern, you have nothing to lose by taking the exams.
As a parent I suggest taking the Exam. Until you have completed BCT there are several factors that could lead you to go to your plan B including injury. The test may have minimum impact at USAFA but if you had to go to plan B they could determine course credit in college which equates to money.

If all goes well then scoring well could help you with validation that gives you more class options while at USAFA. If you don't do well on the exams it has only cost you some time. Seems like a pretty clear answer to me.