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What I Wish I Had Known About A.P. Classes

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What I Wish I Had Known About A.P. Classes

Sophie Thomas

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  During the month of May, Advanced Placement (or A.P.) classes took their cumulative exams in the gym. Some students may have been taking those exams, or some may have noticed that they were asked to be quieter near the doors that lead to the gym from the commons. Regardless of how the existence of these classes manifested in the minds of the students of Legacy, A.P. exams, and by proxy, A.P. classes, have a huge importance placed on them. But, there are some intricacies of taking these classes that only students who have taken these classes could know. Whether you are taking four A.P. classes next year, taking your first A.P. class, or are just curious to learn more about A.P., this article is the place to learn about what a former A.P. student has to say about the Advanced Placement programs.

  Advanced Placement classes are college level classes in which there is a cumulative exam in May. This exam scores on a one through five scale, and depending on the score received, a student has the potential to receive college credit. There are many A.P. classes offered at Legacy on a variety of subjects, from A.P. Art, to A.P. Calculus, to A.P. U.S. History. However, there are some things that many former A.P. students wish they knew before taking these classes.

  First, summer homework is vital to success in the first semester of a A.P. class. Doing the summer homework could prepare you for an exam the first day back, help start coursework for the year, or give a common starting point for all students. So, doing your A.P. summer homework, while tedious, is hugely important to success first semester. Also, despite the significance placed on the A.P. exam, it is not as intimidating as it seems. The exam covers all the information and skills learned in the class, so it is much easier than its reputation would lead a person to believe. However, success on the exam is based on how much effort you exert during the class, so this is not to say that the A.P. exam is a test that one could get a good score without studying. But, if a student puts the maximum amount of effort into the class possible, there is a low chance of that student doing poorly on the exam.

  The structure of A.P. classes does vary based on the class. Some classes are content-based, while others have the students use background knowledge to solve a problem or answer a question, and some are a blend of the two. For example, A.P. U.S. Government and Politics is a content-based class. This means that what a student learns from the textbook and during class time lectures is the content that will be on the unit test, and eventually, the A.P. exam. A.P. World History is an example of a class that is a blend of the two. While the class has some content-based aspects, it mainly relies on learning about a time period, and applying that knowledge to analyze a certain aspect of civilizations.

  Taking an A.P. class in a subject one dislikes is ill-advised. Since A.P. classes rely on a student putting their maximum effort into coursework, if that student hates the subject, they will be miserable all year. A.P. classes consume a lot of time, therefore, a student should take an A.P. class in a subject they enjoy if at all possible. Furthermore, there will be a culture shock when one takes their first A.P. class in a subject area. For example, if someone has not taken a A.P. history class, the structure of test questions, and writing styles will be new to them, so they will need to get used to those aspects of the class. Alternatively, if a student has taken an A.P. class in a similar subject matter, completing an A.P. class in that same subject matter will be much easier. For example, if a student took A.P. World History previously, taking A.P. U.S. History will be markedly easier as the structure of writing is very similar.

  In conclusion, A.P. classes are a unique experience. Summer homework is vital to success first semester. The cumulative A.P. exam in May is not as intimidating as it seems. Some A.P. classes are content based, some classes are based on how well you are able to use background knowledge to find an answer or analyze a certain subject, and some are a blend of both. Taking an A.P. class in a subject that is hated is ill-advised, so unless absolutely necessary, only take A.P. classes in subjects that are liked. Putting too much pressure on oneself will not help improve a grade and will make a student’s life miserable. There will be a bit of a culture shock when one takes their first A.P. class in the subject, so it will take time to adapt. However, if one has taken an A.P. class in a similar subject before, taking another class in the same subject area will be easier as the student will not have to adapt. A.P. classes are markedly difficult, however, they are important for several reasons. They give students access to challenging coursework, provide opportunities to gain college credit, and make for a unique experience.

 

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What I Wish I Had Known About A.P. Classes