Challenge yourself: take AP

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Challenge yourself: take AP

Aaron Miller, Editor and Writer

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Many students in our school picture advanced placement classes as a living hell, but they’re not actually that bad. These classes offer the possibility of credits in college for that given course. Trust me, the credits that can be earned for a college level course are well worth the work put into it. Also, if you are highly interested in a particular subject, (History is one of my favorite subjects) enroll in an AP course to challenge yourself and to advance your knowledge.

Currently GNA has three advanced placement classes offered to seniors and one class offered to juniors and seniors. These classes are Biology, Calculus, and English. History is offered to juniors and seniors. The AP United States History class this year has only one senior and about nine or ten juniors, myself being one of the brave juniors striving for that perfect five on the final exam.

Ms. Muench teaches AP U.S. History, Mrs. Cumberland teaches AP English, Ms. Warman teaches AP Calculus, and Mrs. Marshall teaches AP Biology.

Advanced Placement exams are graded on a five point scale. Most colleges and universities accept a four or a five. Some schools accept a three for some credit, but more prestigious colleges and universities only accept the best of the best from that year’s given tests to be accepted for credit.

Most students turn away from an AP class because of the summer work needed to be completed for the first day of school and the daily homework, essays, and projects that seem to never end. I can say from experience that the work over the summer is not too much and it only takes a few days set to the work out of your months of summer. You won’t be sitting there all summer working, you’ll have plenty of time to work on other things and enjoy regular summer activities.

Prerequisites for getting into AP classes are all similar. Teacher approval and maintaining an A in the honors course in which you are currently enrolled are a must. You also need to be interested in the course you want to take because who wants to be in a class that doesn’t entice them?

While I cannot recommend taking four AP classes in your senior year, even though people have done it and passed, you should still try to take one or two, or even do what I am doing. I am taking AP History my junior year and plan to take AP English my senior year. Since I am not that excelled or interested in math or science I won’t be taking those classes and I also don’t plan to have a major or minor in those fields. Take an AP class for the subjects that you are interested in!

My recommendation is to take a shot and take the AP course that best suits your grades and interests. It may be a lot of work, but it will be well worth it for the credits you will hopefully receive from a year of studying.

How is teaching an AP class different from teaching an honors level class or a regular class?

Ms. MuenchThe most prominent difference is that I am teaching to what I think the test will be covering. I am used to being artful and creative and incorporating current events to make history relevant and in APUSH, “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Ms. WarmanThe level of rigor is higher, and students are expected to complete both summer assignments and additional independent assignments throughout the course. All topics have to be presented by a certain date so that students can prepare for AP testing in May.”

Mrs. CumberlandThe curricular requirements are outlined by College Board which focuses on college level reading and writing. It is a rigorous course analyzing challenging, dense material. It is designed to prepare for the AP exam to improve skill sets related to rhetorical technique through accurate, perceptive reading of major texts representing various literary genres. (AP classes are college level courses, honors classes are not much different from regular classes, they just go faster, and regular classes must cover a standard for that grade)

Mrs. MarshallIt is more rigorous. It is a very demanding course for not only the teacher but also the student. There is a tremendous amount of material that must be covered before the May exam date.”


Why did you choose to take on an AP class?

Ms. MuenchWell, it sort of choose me. I think having taught both halves of American history influenced our department’s decision for me to teach APUSH. I truly believe that GNA students deserve every academic advantage and adding AP courses is a great way to push students toward academic success.”

Ms. WarmanI love math. The opportunity presented itself when the prior teacher retired. It’s a great course because calculus is when all of the prior content from every math course come together. I enjoy seeing students’ reactions when they make the connections. It’s awesome!”

Mrs. CumberlandI inherited AP when a former English teacher retired but took the course with excitement.”

Mrs. MarshallThere was a group of students that wanted an upper level course in science that would be more challenging and help them better prepare for college. They were a dynamic group and have all gone to have successful careers in different areas of science.”


Do you feel that we have enough AP classes?

Ms. MuenchI would love to add many courses here at GNA. I hope that in the future we have enough staff to allow for additional electives like AP courses.”

Ms. WarmanI believe that AP offerings could be expanded into other subjects since there are so many AP course offerings available.”

Mrs. CumberlandMore AP classes would be great! However, staffing is limited and AP is very time consuming on the teachers and they need time to prepare.”

Mrs. MarshallAt some point in time it would be nice to add additional classes. Unfortunately, I do not think we have the flexibility and staff to accomplish this.”


Do you think that you have enough time each day to fit all of the work you need to finish into the class period?

Ms. MuenchThere is never enough time. I would like to see some 8th period study sessions or maybe even some coffee house or library study groups. Since APUSH is a college level course there is a lot of time devoted outside of class just like there is in college.”

Ms. WarmanThere’s never enough time! However, I would like the opportunity to have students take more practice tests leading up to the AP exam.”

Mrs. CumberlandYes, we do have enough time. I do not believe we need more time each day. I have had students pass the exam so a year long course is plenty.”

Mrs. MarshallThere is never enough time. Students in AP Bio must complete a summer assignment. In addition, there are times they must come in early to be able to complete some of the lab work.”