Head to Head: Are AP's Worth It?
As AP season comes around the corner, students wonder if the college-level classes are worth the stress.
By: Bailey Spitz (11th Grade)
Even though APs are definitely the cause of a lot of stress for me right now, I think I made the right decision by taking 3 APs this year. My AP classes are typically the ones that challenge me the most. I find myself getting bored in class if I do not feel challenged, so I choose to take the classes. Furthermore, depending on the scores I get on the exam, I might be able to receive credit towards college, so I can skip a few classes freshman year. This is a huge benefit of taking AP classes; I might even be able to graduate college early. Moreover, when applying to college, I know that colleges will look at my APs and see that I was challenging myself. Lastly, the AP classes are taught at a harder level than my other classes, because of this I think I will be more prepared to take college classes in a few years. All in all, I think the benefits of taking AP classes outweigh the stress they cause.
By: Naomi Ohana (11th Grade)
In the course of a lifetime, what does it matter?
My relationship with APs is complicated. While I do enjoy taking these stressful and educational classes, I have an extremely difficult time accepting the importance of the actual exam. Focusing on doing well on tests is not really what will provide added benefit to one's life: You will not properly acquire or appreciate the information from the course when prioritizing one long memorization exam. The students’ need to do extremely well on one exam stresses them out and hinders their ability to properly learn.
In my opinion, standardized tests are outdated and flawed. It is, essentially, a piece of paper that “tests your intelligence and knowledge.” However, that is an extremely inaccurate and possibly detrimental assessment of your knowledge. Many students will base their intelligence on their scores, which can negatively impact their mental health. It is so upsetting to see my classmates and other students stress themselves out over an exam. IT IS ONE TEST! These courses do not define our worth or intelligence. They do not define who we are and will not predict our future. I understand the feeling of wanting to do well, but in the long run, I do not see the purpose of working towards a test instead of working towards acquiring knowledge. I take APs to expand my breadth of information and understanding and to push myself harder academically. I am not motivated by the test, or the credits, or the score. For me, APs are about learning. Rather than sharing my grade on the exam, I like to say what I’ve learned and what I’ve gained from the class. I encourage students to challenge themselves and to try difficult things, but not to let APs take over their lives. Having your coursework infringe on your mental health is extremely dangerous and unnecessary.
Now, despite my strong claims against AP exams, I do thoroughly believe that these AP classes can be widely beneficial. Students can learn new ways of writing and understanding if they focus on succeeding in the class rather than on the exam. APs allow students to get a better understanding of themselves as learners and people. Many students are able to discover their passions and delve deeper into interesting topics. Future scientists can take AP Biology or AP Chemistry, cultivating their love for science. Choosing a subject you’re interested in can help establish a love for learning. That love, however, should never be tainted by the poisonous fruit of striving for a 5, or the heartbreak of a 2.