AP Class Overload: Student enrolls in six AP classes for senior year, must balance heavy courseload with extracurricular activities

Danielle Williams, Entertainment Editor

You think you have a lot of homework?
Imagine taking six Advanced Placement (AP) classes your senior year while trying to balancing demanding sports, multiple clubs and the dreaded AP tests in May.
Senior Shivani Patel is currently enrolled in six AP classes — AP Biology, AP Calculus BC, AP French 5, AP Literature, AP Physics and AP Government.
“I think right now my only worry is time,” Patel said. “I’m involved in Student Council and tennis, and being able to manage my time is going to be huge for finishing homework and getting things turned in on time.”
Patel said the AP classes are such a challenge because of the speed students are required learn the material.
“AP classes go a lot faster, and usually by the second or third week you already have a huge test,” she said. “I think the pace is a lot different.”
Patel said she prefers AP classes because they present more of a challenge and the class environment is more desirable.
“I think taking AP classes is a lot more fun than regular classes because you get to learn so much more,” she said. “Also the students in the class become like a family.”
Patel said she decided upon this rigorous schedule after sitting down with her parents and brother.
“My brother had taken five AP classes his senior year,” she said. “The only difference in my schedule was that I took AP Government and he didn’t.”
This isn’t Patel’s first time taking on a rough load.
Last year she took four AP classes. Patel said these four classes created a lot of stress and required eight to nine hours a night studying.
“Last year was actually really hard because most of the classes would give a lot of homework,” she said. “I was [also] taking an online class and an independent study, so it was really difficult.”
Patel said she is more prepared this year on what to expect when it comes to the AP classes and is hopeful this year will not be such a challenge.
“This year, so far, has been really different from last year, so I don’t think it’s going to be too bad,” she said. “I hope I’ll be able to handle it. I’m taking a study hall, so I’ll be able to get work done there.”
Planning to take all six AP tests in the spring, Patel said with proper preparation, the tests are definitely manageable. Her scores over the past two years have been threes and fours.
“[The AP tests are] not that bad,” she said. “It’s just tiring because it’s so long. Last year, I did two back-to-back, and that was pretty difficult. I’m going to have to do the same thing this year.”
Patel said studying for the AP tests can be a very difficult and strenuous process.
“For most of the tests I read the textbook, and I do online quizzes and any online FRQs,” she said. “That’s helped me a lot for social studies and science.”
Patel said her favorite AP class was AP Psychology because it was not too much work and her teacher, Courtney Buffington, made the class very enjoyable. She said she thinks AP Biology will be the most challenging class.
“I’ve heard AP Biology is really difficult,” she said. “I would say the first test was pretty hard, but I think I can get the hang of it.”
Patel plans on attending the University of Kansas next fall.
“I think taking these AP classes will get me a lot of [college] credit, and then, maybe, my first year of college won’t be so difficult,” she said.

Shivani Patel’s senior schedule:
1. AP Biology
2. AP Calculus BC
3. Study Hall
4. AP French 5
5. AP Literature
6. AP Physics
7. AP Government