Preparing for College

Sophomore Score on Calc BC AP Exam

Question: I'm in 10th grade and just took the AP Calculus BC test. I'll probably get a 3. Will this in any way affect my admission to elite schools? Will admission officials make note of my age and fact that I swiched into BC calculus mid-year rather than staying with the AB course because I found BC more challenging?

You've already answered your own question. You seem to understand that elite-college admission officers are more gleeful when they see scores of 4 or 5 than 3, however, they will also take into account that you were a mere sophomore when you tackled the daunting Calc BC exam. While the dates of your AP tests will be included when you submit your scores to colleges, if you indeed score below a 4, you might want to enclose just a brief supplementary note with your applications and point out to colleges what you’ve just told us: in other words, that you jumped up to the more challenging BC class in mid-year—and all of this when you were just a 10th grader.


Moreover, we can only assume that, since you’ve now completed what is typically the highest math class offered to most high school students, then perhaps you will continue math by either taking classes at a local college while still in high school or via distance learning. If you do elect college math classes in your junior and senior years, admission officials will most likely be very impressed by the mathematical heights you will have scaled by graduation, and this will be far more significant to them than the AP score you earned as a sophomore.

Best of luck to you—both on this exam and throughout the rest of your school career.