We’re in the middle of AP season and there are tons of questions, so let’s try to get through some of them. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years about AP scores, but be forewarned, time’s they are a-changin’ right now. And I can’t help but think that AP scores will become increasingly important as Subject Test scores disappear.

  • First of all, if you’ve already paid for the tests, I suggest taking them — even if you don’t think you’re ready. Give yourself a few minutes of deep breaths, do the superman pose (look it up), take time to sit in stillness, let your brain settle for a minute or two, and go for it.
  • Historically, If you are not a senior, there’s no big deal if you don’t take the test. You won’t have anything to report and you won’t need to report it. Colleges won’t be bothered if they see an AP class but no score. This is all as far as admissions go, now as far as the repercussions in your own high school, I have no idea…
  • Having said that, things are changing with Subject Tests being vaporized, so AP tests could likely become more and more important. Be sure to read what the colleges you’re interested in are saying about AP scores on a school-by-school basis.
  • If you are a senior, most colleges won’t care if you don’t take the tests, even if you said you would. Again, read on a school-by-school basis before you blow it off. Berkeley wants to know if you won’t be taking tests you’d said you were taking. They say you won’t be rescinded (that’s nice ;)), but they do want you to let them know. https://twitter.com/CalAdmissions/status/1384186389026131979?s=20
  • For applications, I suggest self-reporting all fours and fives on your applications. Some colleges do use them to evaluate your applications and they can benefit your app. I’ve seen a few colleges list them as something they want to see as they evaluate. I’d especially send if they boost your app in some way — like by balancing other test scores or grades.
  • You don’t need to send or self-report anything lower than a 3. For threes (and some fours), consider not self-reporting if the school doesn’t give credit for them.
  • If you need to send official scores for some reason (like the college wants them straight from college board), you can have your lower scores canceled by mailing in this: https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/ap/pdf/ap-score-cancellation-form-2021.pdf. Be aware that it deletes the score forever, so be careful before you delete a 3 you might want to use for credit someday.
  • AP scores can supplement and boost grades and your other test scores that might not be as strong. I’ve heard Admissions Officers say they are looking for the test scores (AP, SAT, SAT Subject, ACT) that show you in the best light, so send those strong scores.
  • If your scores are lower than 3s, no need to report unless they are required or recommended.
  • Most colleges do not require them for admissions. A very few are beginning to recommend them instead of or as a replacement for Subject Tests.
  • Colleges more than likely won’t be looking for missing scores and wondering why you don’t have them. Lots of kids don’t take AP tests even if they’ve taken the class.
  • As far as whether your scores will count for college credit, that is totally college dependent, but keep in mind that lots of highly selective colleges don’t give much credit for them. But they do like at them for admission, so high scores can still be really helpful!
  • If you have special circumstances that you need to discuss like about your conditions while taking the test like lack of internet access, technology, space, or troubling family situations, you can talk about this in the Additional Information section. You can either address low scores (if the college requires you to submit for some reason) or you can address why you couldn’t take the test. If you’re having issues with the internet, technology, or family issues, I suggest you address that in your Additional Info section anyway. Even if you don’t want to address your scores.

Good luck everyone! I know we’ll be right back here talking about your scores in June or whenever you get them back, but for now, hoping that this gives you a little guidance. Lemme know if you have more questions that I — or someone else around here — might be able to answer!

Take care. Take deep breaths. Superman (really. look it up)