Ask Test Masters: Cancelled AP Scores

Ask Test Masters is a great, free service that allows you to ask the experts at Test Masters all of your test prep and college admissions questions. If you have a question, send it to us – chances are other people are wondering the same thing. This time, reader Kevin is wondering about the repercussions of cancelling a failed AP exam score after taking an online class.

Kevin’s question:

“I took an AP Computer Science Class online and it prepared me poorly for the exam. Consequently, when I took the AP Exam I got a 1 and canceled my score. How would college admissions view this (took class but no AP Test)?

*A bit of irony, I do still want to major in Computer Science or a related field for a variety of other reasons.”

Well, Kevin, I would not fret too much about this. For starters, AP scores are self-reported for admissions. (Note: obtaining college credit from AP scores requires an official score report) If the online course is not listed on your high school transcript, colleges will not know anything about your cancelled score.

If the course is listed on your transcript, colleges most likely will not look too deeply into your exam score being excluded from your application. Taking AP classes already shows that you are a motivated student, and colleges always look favorably upon students challenging themselves in their educational endeavors. Having a good grade from an AP class on your transcript can boost your admissions chances.

I would recommend not stressing over this. Most colleges have holistic admissions policies, so many different aspects of an application are considered during the decision making process. Both academic information (i.e. test scores, grades, course load, etc.) are evaluated along with extracurricular and personal information (interview, essays, etc.). AP scores are just part of an extensive score report filled with the SAT and/or the ACT and SAT Subject Tests. Even if colleges notice your cancelled score, it still is just one of many factors that factor into the final decision.

As for someone who wants to study computer science or a related field, extracurricular activities are an excellent place to showcase your interest in computers and your skills in the field. Getting involved with engineering clubs at your school like robotics clubs is an excellent way to both practice and showcase your programming skills. Alternatively, pursuing independent projects or getting a programming-related summer job (web design is a great place to start!) could also help you show your interest and talent in computer science. With these programs or websites, you can also generate a portfolio to include with your application, which can help boost your chances of admission to competitive programs.

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Lastly, if you want to learn more about programming but do not want to take another online AP course, there are other options available. Free online courses can teach you a variety of programming languages in a self-paced environment. While many of these courses will not give you college credit like AP courses will, you still can expand your programming knowledge.

Overall, remember that your college application is multi-faceted. AP Exam scores are just one of many different parts of your application, and even so, just taking AP courses reflects positively on your abilities on a student. Good luck with your upcoming admissions process!

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