‘Your AP Test Was Lost’: One Student’s Nightmare Situation and Resolution

Lots of articles and posts come with trigger warnings. If you’ve ever had nightmares of something going horrendously wrong with your transcript or tests, this article may not be for you. But the following tale is true. My daughter’s AP Environmental Science test got lost. It just disappeared.

In the spring of 2019, my daughter wrapped up her high school career by taking two AP tests: English and Environmental Science. Over the summer, when she checked her portal, the dashboard read that the test was “Not Yet Scored.” With a million other things on her mind, she let it go. Then, in September, sitting in her college adviser’s office, she was informed her university not yet received a score for the test.

She asked the College Board to resend the scores to her university, and that’s when we got the letter. A letter arrived stating that the multiple choice section of her AP test had been lost, and as such, they couldn’t give her a score. The other sections were fine. The multiple choice section was just gone.

The Options

How was the multiple choice section lost? And who lost it? That will remain a mystery. The high school says they don’t know. The College Board says the same. No one has taken responsibility for it other than “it probably got stuck on another test” and “these things sometimes happen.” Unfortunately for my student, human error struck her this time.

The letter gave two options. One, she could get a refund on the test from the College Board, and go on her way. Or two, she could retake a new version of the multiple choice section and they’d give her a score. She would have to do that at her old high school, back at home, three hours away, before December 31. And she had to choose between these options in two weeks.

Between the Rock and A Hard Place

What did she decide to do? And if this situation happens to you, what do I recommend? Start with the school you’re now attending.

She immediately made an appointment with her college adviser again, and brought him a copy of the letter. They carefully went through her plan of action for the next 3.5 years to determine what the class the AP credit could satisfy. If there is any silver lining, it’s the fact that now she has a course plan in college! Most high school students have no idea what those AP tests will match up with later!

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She determined that a score of 3 or better would complete a general science class requirement. Meanwhile, this non-helicopter-mom became her assistant. I helped manage the retest organizations, the College Board conversations, and scheduling around her classes and midterms.

I joked that the College Board should award an automatic 5 to any student in this position. They should also refund the exam, and send the student and the parent on an all-expenses paid trip to Disney World.

It was only a little bit of a joke.

Happily, the College Board did work with her to schedule the re-test in her college town, and not at home, which was a huge relief. She also still had all her notes and study pieces safely stowed away on her backup external drive. While she’s definitely not happy having to fit it in this semester, it’s getting done.

Informed Choices

Could she have decided not to take the multiple choice section again, and get a refund for that exam? Yes, absolutely. She could’ve taken another college class. That $100 would’ve thrown a nice AP test pity party. It could’ve been a “well, things happen and we’re moving on” lesson.

As a mom, I was proud of her for making informed choices, and immediately turning to her college adviser for guidance. I was happy to be her assistant and confidant during the process. She led, I followed. And that earned her a ton of adulting points especially considering this is a situation even most adults wouldn’t have handled with grace. I know my anxiety around the unfairness and scheduling was high!

The Outcome

As of this writing, she’s not received her final score. But that’s not the reason for the article. It’s to share what one student did, and recommend what you should do, if faced with this no-win situation. And it’s also to get that trip to Disney World from the College Board. I think the tickets for that are sitting next to the original lost AP test.

The moral of the story: Sometimes, things happen, even to the College Board. Learning how to carefully choose between two impossible choices is a skill. An adult learns how to address the emotion of a frustrating situation, and move forward. Your new college student learning how to do the same is a cause for celebration.

Maybe at Disney World.

Update: She got a 4.

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