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Death by APs?

Students at Reagan are stressing over the workload of their advanced classes

Alex Lee, News Editor

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Psychology, Physics, United States History and Calculus.  These are just a few Advanced Placement classes that are offered at both Reagan and Career Center.  The main concern for students taking these classes is, “How many is too many?”

AP classes are the most difficult courses offered to students during their high school years.  Each AP class has a curriculum that requires students to be able to analyze and read college-level texts.  This is one of the main reasons why students taking AP classes are stressed out on a daily basis.

Going from standard, honors or seminar classes to AP classes is a big step.  The homework starts to pile up and the tests and quizzes become much more challenging.  

When a student takes AP classes for the first time, they are basically taking a peek at the collegiate-level courses.  Unless the classes are just too much for one to handle, then that peek of college becomes a full-fledged college course.

“When I took my first AP class, it was very stressful because there was a heavy workload to go along with it, plus I was not used to it,” said junior Gracie Judy.

Most students would agree that the most stressful part about AP classes would be preparing for the dreaded AP exam.  These exams are scored on a scale ranging from 1 as the lowest and 5 as the highest.  An exam score of 3 or more is considered passing but some colleges only consider 4s and 5s for certain credits.  

“AP exams are basically taking everything your teachers taught you and adding in what they didn’t get around to into one, unreasonably long test,  determining if you retained enough information to complete it,” said senior Spencer Bohlmann.

Time spent each night on homework for these classes can vary depending on the teacher.  For example, it would be less time-consuming to read a chapter from an AP textbook than having to read two chapters, take notes on the reading, study those notes and prepare for a test or quiz all before the next day.  It just really depends on what the teacher has on his or her lesson plan for the day.

Another scary visual for those who are taking multiple AP classes would be the “week of tears.”  This is the week in which many students who are taking APs finally realize what they have gotten themselves into and the workload they have is beyond stressful.

Whether students are taking one or five APs, it’s fair to say that juggling homework and study time can become hard to manage along with other classes.  This is especially the case for students who are involved with sports, clubs or other after-school obligations who may not begin their homework until 9 or 10 p.m.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew it would be a lot,” junior Gabby Gingras said.  “On my first week I was assigned two papers which I had to fit into my swim practice schedule which wasn’t too bad at first but eventually got worse throughout the year.”

Although the majority of students see AP classes from a stressful and difficult point of view, teachers have the mentality that these classes are important and necessary.  No one can really blame them because, well…they are teachers.

Yes, it is safe to say that AP classes are quite difficult and time consuming for many, especially those who have many classes to handle.  On the positive side, these classes can provide students with useful information for future reference.

“Advance Placement classes help students prepare for college-level expectations, ie: reading, note-taking and studying large amounts of material,” said AP psychology teacher April Sapp.

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