2 years ago
Admissions Advice

AP Exams

How weird would it look on my transcript if I don't take all of my AP exams? For example, I'm taking AP Lang, APUSH, and AP Phys, but I only want to take AP Lang and APUSH - since AP Phys is already difficult for me and it is only going to get harder, I don't want to spend 101 dollars on an exam that I could possibly fail on. Also, I don't want the college admissions counselors to assume that I failed the exam, even though I never took it (if that makes sense)...

I already took one AP class (AP World) and I got a 5 on the exam. This year, I'm on track to take 5 APs next year.

Any opinions/people who've been in this situation? Thanks for the help! I really appreciate it.


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Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]

In order of the most impressive outcomes, it would be ideal if you got both A's in your AP classes and 4s or 5s on your AP exams.

But if you already know you are not going to get a 4 or 5 in AP Physics, then I would opt out of taking the exam. It shouldn't be a matter of money but more a decision based on what the predicted outcome is. Since you stated you are struggling with it, I think it makes sense to opt-out of the AP Physics exam.

This is not going to detrimentally affect your college admissions evaluation. I do however think that students who sign up for 4 to 6 APs and don't take any AP exams are going to get dinged because it looks like they just didn't care about studying senior year and decided to take early retirement from high school. Why do I feel this? It's because grade inflation in American high schools is rampant and a huge problem for College Admissions officers. When 8 out of 10 kids have an A GPA from the same school, it's hard to differentiate who really deserves those marks. Taking AP exams and doing well on them shows evidence that you actually learned something in class rather than going through the motions and getting an A.

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Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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