To AP or Not To AP


Eleanor Boehme

Despite the pandemic changing almost every aspect of high school, one thing remains: the mixture of stress and pride that come with taking AP courses. 

“I take AP classes because it makes me feel proud of myself,” said junior Alex Brown. “I also feel as though I have an obligation to myself to push myself as much as I can so I know I persevered to the fullest extent in my academic career.

Regardless of the personal fulfillment that these classes can bring, the course load continues to weigh heavily on students.

“My course load is pretty heavy I would say. I would say that weekly I spend about 14 hours on homework, sometimes more, said Brown. “Most of those 14 hours would be studying and completing assignments.”

“While sometimes I am exhausted because of all the work, I would not regret it. I find a sense of pride in myself with knowing that I am accomplishing so much at a higher level,” Brown continued.

Many AP students like Brown feel that class, despite all of the homework, has not been sufficient to learn all of the material this year.

“I definitely have turned to outside resources as I feel all students have. I often watch a lot of videos mostly for my economics class whether it’s Khan Academy or Youtube,” said Brown. “I would not survive the class without them.”

“Yeah. I find myself using it for classes that I’d usually excel in,” junior Thomas Ho added.

Not only have AP classes been difficult for the students, but they have proven difficult for teachers as well. 

“My hardest part was assigning homework because no one did it. It was really hard because at the beginning of the year I had to assign stuff for the remote days and then I was like forget this because it’s all of these assignments that no one did,” said AP Language and Composition teacher Nicole Russo. 

“I felt like we had to adjust the work so you guys would be okay, but I don’t know if that even helped,” she continued. 

In the face of all of these challenges, students and teachers alike have continued to persevere and work hard to complete their AP courses.  

“I feel prepared as I have worked all year in order to feel at ease when the test comes. I can never know how hard it is until I take it but all I can do is know that I am putting my best work into preparing,” said Brown. 

“I prepare for the end of course exams by doing a cram month. I try to start early but it can be hard so I start studying a month before my exams in order to get a 3 or higher, Brown added.

“A lot of my exams are based on memorization and then application so it is quite a process to be able to study for them.”

“Most teachers do a lot of FRQ practice, said Brown. I find that all my AP teachers structure their test to replicate how the exam would feel so most of the practice is the test itself, though it can really be based off of the teacher.

At the end of the day, exams are not what AP students should be concerned about. The true lesson that they learn is this:

“Learning how to balance mental health and the pressures with being an AP student,” said Ho.