I've read that plebes will take exams early on and can get 'validated' out of some classes and would have to take others (higher level/more difficult) classes instead. Take calculus for example. If a plebe had taken AP calculus in high school and done fairly well (grade A or B), they might end up validating out of it. If they did validate out, is there really any benefit? Sounds like it could actually backfire; they would end up going into a more difficult, higher level calc for instance and probably have a harder time/get a lesser grade. And of course grades have everything to do with class rankings, what assignments you get, etc etc. So this is a pretty big deal. At a traditional college, if you got credit for AP classes, then that's that many fewer classes you need over 4 years to graduate; or you might even be able to graduate in 3 1/2 yrs. Obviously not so at USNA, where you're still taking your 18 credits every semester regardless. So why validate out? What's the upside??? Can you choose to stay in a certain math course, even if you would have validated out of it?