At Blue Valley and across the country, Advanced Placement (AP) classes have become notorious for the worry and anguish they cause many students.
“I have horrible test anxiety,” senior Chloe Wood said. “When I was taking AP classes it was hard for me to focus on [the] tests.”
However, they also are helpful college resume builders, huge GPA-boosters and could make the difference between the average and the exceptional student.
“[AP classes] definitely helped my GPA,” Wood said. “The colleges I’m going to are taking my weighted GPA and they helped that a lot.”
So the question must be asked – are they worth it? Along with Wood, senior Mark Havens said yes.
“There’s definitely a stigma over AP classes that I don’t really think they should have,” Havens said. “The benefits they give you for your GPA alone make them worth it.”
Wood has also enjoyed her high school AP classes and recommends courses such as AP U.S. History and AP Environmental Science.
“I loved APUSH,” Wood said. “I love the teacher I had, and she made the class very fun.”
An important factor Wood and Havens had to consider when choosing AP classes was the specific interests and talents they possess.
“If you’re good at math, AP physics is much easier,” Havens said. “With physics, you can picture things in your mind. It’s not just memorization.”
As seniors, Wood and Havens both have advice on succeeding in an AP class.
“Go in and ask for help,” Wood said. “You can’t be afraid to ask your teacher because 100% of the time, they will help you. You just have to get over it.”
Learning to ask for assistance is not the only skill obtained when taking an AP class.
“You learn a lot of good note-taking skills and time management,” Havens said. “AP classes are going to have to set due dates that you know about for a long time, and it’s good to get your time management skills up.”
Wood said each individual student has to make the best decision for their GPA, their college goals and their needs and interests.
“It all depends on who you are as a person,” she said. “You have to decide if you can deal with the stress and anxiety that comes with taking an AP class.”