Should I Be Worried?

Hello all,

First off, I would like to thank everyone who has given me help throughout my journey; thanks to you guys, I now will be a part of the Class of 2021 this coming June.

I have a question that has been stuck in my head lately. As many know, AP registration at high schools has passed quite some time ago, and I did not register to take any because it was to my knowledge that AP scores by themselves do not validate courses. And also I thought to myself then that there would be no harm in taking a course that I already felt confident in (Calculus II for example). I am now starting to regret my decision to not take any AP exams because I see on USNA's website that a certain score on an AP exam in conjunction with your performance on the Plebe Summer test can validate a course.

I've done some research on this forum to help answer my question. On past threads, there are parents of current midshipmen who say that not validating many courses can lead to boosting your GPA (good or bad, I do not know), and also that there is no rush in finishing off courses early because everyone has to graduate in 47 months.

I understand that what has been done, has been done and that I have to face the consequences, but I was wondering what are your guys' insight on this. Obviously I will try my best on the validation tests administered during Plebe Summer, but I was unsure what consequences my action can bring upon.

Thank you very much in advance.
TheAspiringWon
 
My 2 cents from being around USNA alums, is that plebe year is challenging enough, you do not need to complicate things further by taking fairly advanced classes in your first year. I would imagine most plebes would be taking Calculus 1 and you want to validate Calculus 2? If it were me, I wouldn't do it. You want to be at the top of your class to be in the running for other things later.. Ask recent alums as to whether they would validate these courses (which is probably who you were addressing this question to anyways..)
 
Calculus 2 has the reputation of being one of THE toughest courses on the entire Yard . This from my DS, a current plebe, who had a high school junior pre-calc class and 2 college level calc classes as a high school senior. He validated Calc 1. He worked his tail off in Calc 2 fall semester last year, most of his studying time was spent on that class. He is finding Calc 3 "easier" than Calc 2.
 
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RocketDad

Member
I would not worry at all. Validating some classes with AP scores is possible, but requires very high scores. I also would not stress over the validation tests because you will also be taking the exams during the stress of Plebe Summer. Just do your best. You will end up being where you should be. Good luck.
 

NavyHoops

Super Moderator
5-Year Member
Not an issue. Take the placement exams and let the cards fall where they may. Now you don't have to stress about AP exams. Go have some fun and get in great shape. Many Plebes will not validate a single exam, I did not validate a single exam and my room mate validated over 60 credits worth. Guess what? We graduated the same day, same pay, and both were O-1s.
 

NavyHoops

Super Moderator
5-Year Member
I have seen kids with prior college validate a lot and others not validate a single class. Same thing for success at USNA, some really thrive and others struggle. Regardless of past, success is really up to the individual.
 

pleber16

USNA 2016
5-Year Member
I am in college, the validation tests should be rather easy right?
Not necessarily. What the math classes cover at the academy might be slightly different than other school, and the level of difficulty itself varies. When I did my year of college I started off in Calc 3 and took a class called "Engineering Math" which I told was comparable to Diff EQs in the Spring. When I took the validation tests for Plebe Summer I was placed in Calc 2.
 

VTMIDN

Member
I am in college, the validation tests should be rather easy right?
Not necessarily. What the math classes cover at the academy might be slightly different than other school, and the level of difficulty itself varies. When I did my year of college I started off in Calc 3 and took a class called "Engineering Math" which I told was comparable to Diff EQs in the Spring. When I took the validation tests for Plebe Summer I was placed in Calc 2.
I took engineering math at Virginia Tech, I hope that will help my qualify, but it doesn't sound very hopeful. Can I validate the naval classes I have taken intro to naval science and seapower and maritime affairs? Also leadership courses?
 
I took engineering math at Virginia Tech, I hope that will help my qualify, but it doesn't sound very hopeful. Can I validate the naval classes I have taken intro to naval science and seapower and maritime affairs? Also leadership courses?
Have you looked at the validation info on the website? There are a few threads with some pdfs, too ;)
 

Capt MJ

10-Year Member
I took engineering math at Virginia Tech, I hope that will help my qualify, but it doesn't sound very hopeful. Can I validate the naval classes I have taken intro to naval science and seapower and maritime affairs? Also leadership courses?
See this and the embedded link.

The other factor to consider is the time available to get coursework done, execute your military watch-standing/parade practice/room and uniform inspections, various mandatory fun sessions, Plebe professional knowledge study and quizzes, running around to do various other plebe things that suck time out of your day, your personal PT routine, your sports activity practice....you may not have the time available to study as you might wish, and find yourself optimizing and prioritizing over several competing tasks.

Take the tests, trust USNA to place you where you will best fit and in the meantime...don't worry about it.

https://www.usna.edu/Academics/Candidate-Information/Course-Validation-Policy.php
 
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Mdub71

Member
We heard from some Mids that signing up for and not passing validation exams doesn't hurt you-- so taking the test could get you some precious downtime (or nap time) during plebe summer....and no harm no foul if you don't do well on the exam. Not sure if really true but It was a clever idea.
 

coachkarl

Member
Not an issue. Take the placement exams and let the cards fall where they may. Now you don't have to stress about AP exams. Go have some fun and get in great shape. Many Plebes will not validate a single exam, I did not validate a single exam and my room mate validated over 60 credits worth. Guess what? We graduated the same day, same pay, and both were O-1s.
As usual, NavyHoops with the slam dunk (pun intended).

Most incoming Mids are high achievers and think validating is crucial, but as you point out, not so much.
 
Can signing up for a validation test and absolutely bombing it hurt you/place you in a lower course? Or do the scores only count towards validating?
 

anne99

Member
As far as I know, it doesn't hurt you. You just don't validate the course. My plebe at the time was encouraged to take every test offered even if he didn't think he'd validate. It gets them out of the heat for a couple of hours - even if they sleep through it. I am not a definitive source though!
 

NavyHoops

Super Moderator
5-Year Member
It won’t hurt you. Not sure on the math exam now but previously it was considered a math placement exam. Some could be placed in pre-Calc or end up validating several semesters. When I say a few there are usually only 1-2 sections (maybe 10-30 Mids) who place here. They then catch up through summer school.
 
It won’t hurt you. Not sure on the math exam now but previously it was considered a math placement exam. Some could be placed in pre-Calc or end up validating several semesters. When I say a few there are usually only 1-2 sections (maybe 10-30 Mids) who place here. They then catch up through summer school.
Thank you. So all the exams besides math are validation tests, and math is placement? (So only math could hurt you)
 

Cerberi

Member
DD validated 8 classes with no prior college. She just registered for her junior year classes and will be taking 15-16 hours per semester her last 2 years. (She opted not to double major but is a STEM major) She is on easy street for her last 2 years regarding course load. She is ranked OOM in the top 50, not having to take those 8 courses provided her tremendous options and flexibility - she is taking full and complete advantage of it.

USNA is not looking to have you easily validate a course and risk you failing the next one, so if you pass the validation exam - USNA truly believes you are ready.

Validating Chemistry I and/or II also gets you validated for the associate labs which eat up time. Same with Physics I and/or II

The first 2 years academically tend to be the most stressful because of (a) adjusting to college life (b) adjusting to USNA life (c) you are required to take a number of classes that may be of zero interest to you.

Flexibility is the key to airpower. If you can validate courses and get that flexibility - take advantage of it.

My DD would tell you to validate everything you can and open up your schedule for later on down the road. Imagine lighter course loads down the road or the option to take additional classes/double major. (Though I had classmates at USAFA that battled to be the #1 grad, so since the top 2 had the same GPA one took 8 classes his last semester while the other 'only' took 7 so at the 9th decimal point - he became the #1 grad.
 
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