AP review

AP classes can be intimidating. I can give you a little bit of advice on how hard the classes can be

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Evan Rocha, Staff Writer

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A lot of people wonder which AP class is best for them, to which I think the best answer is, “it depends.” I know a lot of people how absolutely hated math classes and are hopeless in them, and those people would hate to take calculus. But I know some people who breeze right through them, getting an A every grading period. I’ve taken 14 AP classes now, so I can give a pretty good analysis on what type of work you’ll be getting into in each one.

AP English Classes

This separates into two separate classes: AP Lang and AP Lit. Lang is one grade level below Lit, but functionally they’re very similar classes. Mrs. Mobley teaches AP Lang, and Mrs. Barbieri teaches AP Lit, but the curriculum for both classes is mostly reading and analyzing books and writing essays. If you don’t like writing essays, don’t take either class, as you write like 30 essays and papers throughout the year in both. I guess if you also don’t like reading you shouldn’t take them either, but if that’s your situation, then I’m not really sure if you’re the type of person who reads school newspaper articles.

AP Math Classes

There are three of these: AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, and AP Stats (although Mrs. Hynes says that it isn’t a math class). Calc AB and BC are almost the same class, but BC teaches you a few more complex things that AB doesn’t. I think that Calculus is one of the most useful classes you can take in high school because almost everyone ends up having to take at least one calculus course in college, and you might as well get it done here. We have great calculus teachers at this school, and they have great pass rates. AP Stats is a mostly math class that involves a lot of writing as well. In Stats you basically find the probability that things do or don’t, can or cannot have, could or could have happened. This involves a lot of writing and a little bit of math, but it’s almost entirely easy plug-and-chug math. If you read your book and comprehend the theory behind the math, you’ll do great.

AP History Classes

Here we have AP World, US, and European History. World is the entry level course that a lot of sophomores end up taking, and not all of them are prepared to do so. It isn’t even an astoundingly hard course; it just has so many people that take it that inevitably some don’t pass. Because you have to learn a generalized history of the planet in 9 or so months, it’s extremely condensed. You don’t have to know many specific dates or people, but if you understand concept and themes then you’ll at least make it by with a three on the exam. AP US is a bit more date-heavy because the US has a much shorter history than the whole planet. You learn about 240 years of history in one country in the same amount of time as you learn about the whole planet. This means that there’s a lot more people and a lot more events. If you don’t like to learn about specific laws, then you won’t like this class. I personally thought US was a bit easier than World though because a lot of the stuff you learn is stuff that you’ve already heard from being an American citizen. Euro, however, is a class you should only take if you like history classes. Mr. Kay is a great teacher, but the curriculum will end you if you only want to take it for the sake of taking an AP class. It’s more in-depth than US and covers a long time period like World, and the subject matter is a lot less known about beforehand for a lot of people.

AP Science Classes

I’m going to include Physics classes in here with AP Bio, Chem, and Environmental Science even though physics classes involve a lot of math. AP Chemistry and Biology are both two-period long block schedule courses that both involve a lot of work and a lot of studying. I’ve heard from Alec Engl, a friend of mine taking AP Chemistry this year, that the class is very intense. AP Environmental is much less intense, but still requires a good amount of effort. The AP Physics classes, however, are the bane of many students’ existences.  Physics 1 is just your basic entry-level physics course. However, physics is an extremely hard to grasp concept for many students and requires constant studying to really comprehend. Physics C is basically Physics 1 with a little bit of Calculus, and Physics 2 is like a version of both, but with much more complex subject matter. Only take Physics 2 if you liked Physics 1 or C beforehand.

AP Language Classes

Our school offers AP Spanish and French. Seriously, only take these if you really demonstrate an understanding and passion for the languages at hand. They require a lot of writing in addition to speaking, and the exams require you to be able to say and write sentences and even essays about a random topic at hand.

Assorted Electives

The majority of the AP electives remaining are suited for specific types of people. AP Micro and Macroeconomics are two somewhat similar classes taught by a great teacher, Mr. Maisner, and both are rather easy to succeed in if you set your mind to the task. AP Government is taught by Mr. Spennato, who is an effective teacher who requires you to study and read your book a lot at home in addition to in the class. AP Psychology is in a similar situation, and it’s also taught by Mr. Rocktoff. AP Human Geography is an elective class that mostly deals in population and cultural traits and changes, but it’s mostly taken by freshman, so by the time you read this it won’t really be for you. AP Computer Science is a good course for getting into the principles and basics behind coding, and the AP Art and Music classes are for you if you heavily enjoyed those subjects beforehand. AP Seminar and Research (as I was educated by a friend, Ricardo Golac, who is taking both) is a series of classes that involve creating long and in-depth research papers based upon a single topic or series of topics. It involves correct citation, analysis of sources, and inference.

Overall there aren’t any AP classes that I would just strongly dissuade anyone from taking. Almost every class at least has a niche group of people who I’m sure would enjoy taking it; you just have to go for a subject you feel passionate about beforehand.

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