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AP Afterlife

Do you believe in life after AP classes? There are a growing number of Advanced Placement courses offered at Christian Brothers High School. Besides the fancy course title, students are drawn to the rigorous classes because of the college credit and grade boost they provide. Although AP courses look hot on transcripts and have a reputation for […]

Do you believe in life after AP classes?

There are a growing number of Advanced Placement courses offered at Christian Brothers High School. Besides the fancy course title, students are drawn to the rigorous classes because of the college credit and grade boost they provide.

Although AP courses look hot on transcripts and have a reputation for heavily preparing students to excel in school beyond the 12th grade, they are also known to be the most stressful.

During the semester, most students question why they are taking such a difficult class. Why not take an easier course on the same subject? Most students feel stressed and discouraged mid-semester, but by summer break they are glad they persevered and finished the course.

Not only do students work harder in AP classes, but teachers do as well.

Ms. Maureen Wanket, the Language and Composition teacher, tells her Advanced Placement B Set that she must prepare a lot longer for the material in the course because she must be ready to answer any question an AP student gives to her.

No one likes taking the Advanced Placement tests. They are a draining three hours of questions that assess a student’s understanding of an entire year’s worth of knowledge. Students are then scored in comparison to all of the other students in the nation who have completed that course and taken the test.

However, not all of these students are from the same school, so you can see that there might be a variation in scores just because not every class is taught in the same way.

After all of the homework, Free Response Questions, and fast approaching deadlines, do AP students see the light at the end of the tunnel?

Class of 2014’s own Megan O’Hearn ’14 is currently a sophomore at Cal Poly San Louis Obispo. She did not fill her schedule with AP classes, but the one she decided to take had great benefit to her in college.

“I took a lot of honors [classes] throughout my four years, but only took [AP Language and Composition],” she stated.

Christian Brothers teachers pride themselves on their students being able to pass AP tests.

“The preparation throughout the year made the test passable! It was easy when it came time to take it,” says Megan.

“Before I got to college, I sent in my AP test scores in the summer. When I got to Cal Poly, I had already received credit for my English class and didn’t have to take the generic English Placement Test (EPT). Instead I sent my scores into the student success center and passed two English classes.”

“This was really cool to me because I felt as if my hard work had paid off and graduating early became an option for me. The benefit of taking an AP class in high school is surpassing classes which do not challenge you enough. In college, you have the option to not go to class, so you need to find things that inspire and challenge you to learn more and be apart of the school,” she states.

It is clear that taking AP classes feeds success in college. On the other hand, is taking non-AP classes just as beneficial?

“There is a different track that everyone takes when they get to CB — Scholars, SAGES, CP etc,” CB College Counselor Ms. Melissa McClellan says. “Just because you are taking easier classes doesn’t mean you won’t get into college. We have had people of all levels get into great colleges because we are a college prep high school.”

However, it is true that Advanced Placement classes look snazzy on your applications. Colleges look to see if you challenged yourself and were still able to succeed.

Advanced Placement classes help better prepare you for the rigorous courses in college. From many sources that are college, including CB alumni, the consensus is that CB classes, even regular classes, are harder than the classes in college.

Like Ms. McClellan says, all courses at Christian Brothers High School thoroughly prepare you for college. AP classes are just a great way of showing that you pushed yourself academically. They are also good to receive college credit, granted you pass the test, which could be financially beneficial to you and your family.

AP courses can boost GPA, but too many can overload a student. The best advice is to start off as an underclassman with one AP class, and then as a junior or senior you can work your way up to more. It is shocking and extremely stressful to go from no AP classes to three or four in one year.

Students taking 4-6 AP classes are likely to have a GPA higher than a 4.0 because these classes give you five points instead of the usual four. However, students who take these classes on top of being an athlete, actor, or artist, may find it stressful to not have enough hours in the day to complete tasks they need to accomplish.

This kind of stress day in and day out is not for everyone, and falling even a little bit behind is proven to make even the most advanced students depressed and sleep deprived.

Some of the teachers on CB campus will tell you straight up how hard the course will be at the beginning of the year.

In AP Biology this year, Mrs. Nicole Brousseau jokingly welcomed her C and G sets with a “do not take this class if you like your sleep.”

A sleep advocate herself, Mrs. Brousseau says that to be successful in her class you must be willing to spend as little as 15 minutes a day studying the material for her class.

“There should not be a day where you skip thinking about Biology,” she says.

As a past teacher of AP Chemistry, she believes that AP Chem and AP Bio range in the same difficulty of courses.

“It just depends on what you are better at,” she says.

It is better to take an AP class that you are interested in or already good at to be more successful in these courses.

“[AP Biology] prepares you extraordinarily well for a Biology course in college,” Mrs. Brousseau claims. “If you can pass this class here, a first year college biology class will be easy!”

Most students were not afraid of losing sleep over a class and stuck with the program even though they knew it would be challenging. You have to be willing and ready to work hard in these classes. The grade boost and college credit are not handed out on a silver platter.

Current AP students Connor Hassett (’16) and Kalani Mark (’17) both agree that AP Biology is their most challenging course yet.

When asked how an AP class compared to a CP class, Kalani says that AP classes are much more difficult. This is to be expected, but students continue to be drawn to the benefits of these classes.

“If I pass the test, that’s one less class I have to take in college” Kalani says with a smile.

“College credits. I think the course will help me prepare for college and really help in the long run, especially the GPA boost,” states Connor.

However those benefits come with a price.

“I have to study a lot more for my AP classes,” Connor says.

Advanced Placement classes are hard work for students and for teachers. However, they are a great way for students to challenge themselves in preparation for college. Taking these courses have their own benefits that include college credit, GPA boost, and maybe even college admission. These courses may be the most stressful, but life after AP classes does indeed exist, and they open new doors for students to be successful in their education beyond high school.

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