The Ivy Coach Daily

June 23, 2022

Which AP Scores to Submit

We’ve got some advice to share on the submission of AP test scores (photo credit: Namkota).

Many students and their parents have misconceptions about which AP scores should be submitted to elite colleges and which ones should be kept under lock and key. Some, for instance, believe that only scores of 5 should be submitted to our nation’s top colleges. And while submitting 5s to top schools is — of course — wonderful, not every student scores 5s across the board. So for those students who did not get perfect scores on all of their AP exams, should the other AP exams on which they scored 4s, 3s, or dare we say even 2s or 1s be concealed on applications? After all, AP exams are self-reported which means that students have every right not to report certain scores.

It totally depends. Let’s say, as an example, that a student has 10 5s and a single 4. In that student’s particular case, we’re ok not reporting the single 4. Why? Because admissions officers likely won’t even notice that the score wasn’t reported since they’ll just be wowed by the 10 5s. But let’s say, as another example, that a student has 3 5s, 2 4s and 4 3s. And let’s say that this student took these AP exams after taking the corresponding AP course at their high school. Should this student only submit the 3 5s? No, because then those same admissions officers are going to wonder where are the corresponding AP exams for the AP coursework they took? And they’re more then likely to assume the worst — that the student got 1s or 2s.

Are you getting the idea? A parent recently asked us, “Are the 4s my daughter just received a total waste? Can they not be submitted to colleges?” The answer, of course, was that the scores weren’t a waste and that, at least in this student’s case, they should be submitted since she didn’t have tons of 5s in addition to those 4s. So the decision is always on a case by case basis. Sometimes the lower scores should be submitted and sometimes they shouldn’t be. There is no hard and fast rule that any score less than 5 should be withheld.

Have a question for Ivy Coach about the submission of AP test scores? Let us know your question by posting it below. We look forward to hearing from you.

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