MORE AP TEST Questions


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Jan 30, 2008
If one takes an AP Class, Does the Academy expect one to take the AP Test, even if AP Test scores are not a prerequisite for validation?
No the Academy doesn't care if you take the AP test. They only accept the validation tests they administer.
so if i were to say get an A in the AP class, yet not get credit for the exam, will the academies re-weigh my GPA, or keep my current GPA with the so called"AP" Class?
A.H.014 - your question comes from wanting USNA to give you a 'weighted' GPA. Some high schools across America do this system, some do not.

USNA is more interested in your overall class rank - not your overall weighted GPA.

If you take AP classes and do well in them, with our without the exam - you show class credit and it fits into your overall class rank.

There are only a few AP exams that USNA accepts for credit - and you have to score a 5. Nothing else. My kiddo got several USNA classes waived this way.

This did NOT stop USNA from issuing more exams over Plebe summer to see if any more classes could be validated.

There are good things and bad things about validating exams anyway.

My girl when she was a Plebe went into some advanced math and science classes due to her AP test scores and summer validation scores. Great! That meant her entire 4 year class matrix gave her many more options to consider things like a double major, a minor option, and early grad classes in Firstie year.

But that also meant as a Plebe she was in classes with Youngsters. Youngsters don't have to learn Rates, they don't have chow calls, they don't have come-arounds, they dont have any of the Plebe time pressures to the degree that one has in the 1st year. They had hours more to study. So you take a higher class and you take it as a Plebe and you have a double whammy thrown at you since you have more work in Plebe year than you've ever had in your entire life that is NOT academic but keeps you working, working, working.....AND top that off with tougher college classes than a first-year level class load. In many cases Plebes with this schedule take a hit on their grades. Then come Youngster year and beyond - and they can get back into a more regular studytime, thanks to the end of being a Plebe and their grades can jump back to levels that more reflect their abilities. I saw this in several cases, including my own girls, for her class of 2010.

Good luck with your application!!!
That is not entirely true: for Calculus II you will be with other plebes. Calculus III you will be in a Plebe only section designated as such in the course code. Validating English HE 111 you take HE112 Title:RHETORIC AND INTRO TO LIT II this was also a Plebe only section. Talking to him this morning he said it was also true for ChemII - it was a plebe only section. He did not start Physics second semester Plebe year, waited until the normal matrix spot of youngster year which was the recommended sequence from Professor Zivi who is the Special Plebe academic Advisor.

We asked this question at the Math department table over Plebe Parent Weekend and they said it has more to do with not wanting Youngsters in classes with advanced Plebes - not the other way around. They said advanced Plebes tend to discourage the youngsters.

My Mid validated so much that Plebe year he had a special academic advisor rather than the one assigned to the Plebes company. (You get your regular advisor after choosing a major) He validated both Calc I and II, Chem I, History 206, Biology, English 111, and 6 semesters of Spanish. He has a very open schedule with all of the validations and has left him with the opportunity to supplement his education with courses that he is interested in above and beyond his major, and receive a language minor. The only classes that he had upperclass in were Pol Sci 130 and History 205 and French 101 and 102.

Calc AB>=4 Validates Calc I SM121
Calc BC>=4 Validates Calc II SM122
English requires an AP=5 to validate HE111
Euro History requires AP=5 to validate Western Civ 206
Bio requires AP=5
Am Gov requires AP=5 to validate FP130

Language 1 and 2 validate with AP>=3
Language 3 and 4 validate with AP>=4
No AP is taken for Physics or Chem
If one takes an AP Class, Does the Academy expect one to take the AP Test, even if AP Test scores are not a prerequisite for validation?

Not sure exactly what you're asking. If you want to know if USNA requires you to take an AP test just b/c you took the course, the answer is no.

The above posters are correct that some AP tests will allow you to validate and most won't. I believe there's a complete listing of validation requirements on the site under "academics."

However, if cost is not an issue, I see no reason not to take the AP test. First, if you end up at a civilian college, you may be able to use it to validate courses. Second, why would you not want to other than it's work to study? That's taking the easy way out and that's not the approach you want to take with USNA.
I'm not sure if you are trying to say I did not study for my AP exams or not. But I took AP European History my Sophomore year(which just ended) And I got a B for the first semester and an A for the second semester. When AP Testing came along, I did study, and since it was only one AP class I had to test, I gave it a lot more emphasis. But after finishing the exam, I did not feel like I achieved a 3, not even close to getting the credit that most universities including USNA accept. I am afraid that universities will look down on my application for not getting the AP credit for the AP classes that I take. Do they look at the AP Testing Passing rate for each school? Because I know that AP Euro pass rate was like a 23% at my school, and that is just for a 3.

I do try my best on the exam and the class. And my Junior year I will be taking 3 AP Classes. AP English Language, AP Environmental Science and AP US History. I want to get AP credit for as many as I can, plus my school gives a weighted average towards my GPA, and I have a very large graduating class (almost 500) so I need the highest grades I can possibly earn.
Looking back on things now, validating can only help you out a lot if you are a Group 2 or 3 major. For the Group 1s, I saw people that validated so many classes that they were actually struggling to find classes that they could take.

Think of it this way, if you validate too many classes your plebe year, you take youngster classes. Some of those are your majors classes, some are common. You can go ahead and take the common classes, but what about the majors classes? You haven't picked a major yet and they have prerequisites. I saw people literally being force to pick some classes that they had no interest in and were hating it.

Now for myself - I didn't validate A SINGLE class. I was your average midshipmen coming into plebe year. Did that set me back at all? NO. I was a Systems Engineering major and graduated. An regrets in not validating any classes? No. You'll learn fast that classes aren't everything at the Academy.

Good points. Not validating does NOT hurt you in any way. The curriculum is designed for people who have not validated anything; and everyone still graduates in four years.

The things I remember most about the validation exams are: (1) we got 3 hours in an air-conditioned room w/o anyone yelling at us and (2) they were really hard and everyone came out thinking he/she had failed.

One other thing -- no one other than you (and maybe your family) cares whether you validate anything or what you validate. At least in my day it was never a topic of discussion and anyone who bragged about his/her validation would instantly be labeled a smack. So, bottom line, do not stress validation.
One other thing -- no one other than you (and maybe your family) cares whether you validate anything or what you validate. At least in my day it was never a topic of discussion and anyone who bragged about his/her validation would instantly be labeled a smack.

Same here.

As for te benefits of validating, Kamikazi is right about them being helpful in Group 2 and 3 majors. In my case, my having validated a semester of Calc and 4 of Spanish came in REALLY handy when I changed to General Engineering (Group 2) and retook a bunch of classes in an attempt to get into Nuke School (it didn't work). It also made my last two semesters at USNA a hell of a lot easier.

My attitude is, validate what you can, but don't lose any sleep preparing for it or if you fail to validate something. You'll have other more important things to worry about.