Not All Classes are as Scary as They APpear


Havana Frakes, Writing Coach

Maybe you want to take the class. But maybe you’ve heard it’s scary. However, as AP Chinese student Brandon O’Leary (‘18) states “ No one should be afraid of taking AP Chinese because of the scary AP label.”

Students in these classes develop study strategies that could benefit any student. Alex Tun (‘19), advises future AP Calculus AB students “Take extremely detailed notes that you can refer to if you need reference while doing homework, and so you can use them to study for quizzes and tests.” Rey Chetan (19’), advises next year’s AP U.S. History students to “focus on the big ideas and the key concepts in the class. Try and make the textbook readings into a story so you remember it better.”

Additionally, Dr. Kostandarithes, APUSH teacher stated that, “In APUSH, details are simply the building blocks from which students construct original historical arguments. As I often said, it is akin to the relationship between bricks and a house. The former are the means to create the latter. You live in the home not the pile of bricks!”

Familiarity with the instructor can make a hard class feel easier because of the comfort level with the teacher. Nithya Badrinath (‘19), said of AP Chemistry, “Students who had Mr. Rivera for Chemistry honors are used to his teaching style and his quizzes.”

Similar to AP Chemistry, AP Modern European History students can benefit from the preceding class. AP Modern European History student Ann Maris Walton (‘18) said, “Luckily, I took APUSH last year, so this class has the same structure as last year- APUSH and MEHAP are basically twins, so they compliment each other well.” Walton urges students interested in AP to focus on analysis. “You don’t need to memorize minute details anymore. Instead, you need to be able to apply the information to how it affected the rest of history.”

AP classes sometimes offer college-level work.Leeann Watson (‘18) says she likes how AP Physics 1 is “rigorous and motivating,”in that, “On the tests he puts actual College Board AP questions that have appeared on past exams.”

AP Latin student Annie Ruperto (‘20) related AP Latin to AP Physics 1, in that “(they are) probably around the same difficulty level so far. I have around the same amount of homework as I did for Physics, but there is definitely a lot more of accumulated knowledge needed to take AP Latin.”

Current AP students acknowledge that while the classes can be demanding, stress can be a self-created problem. Shali Chithriki (‘19) advises future AP Biology students, to “not stress out and just enjoy it! I would, however, recommend not studying only on the night before the test because you will not get any sleep!” A hard class can become a favorite class. Chithriki said, “I really love the class; it’s one of my favorites because learning about how all life functions just amazes me. Also, Dr. Halloran makes the class so fun and makes it her mission to engage everyone.”

AP Literature student Arianna Khan (‘18), states that her teacher makes the rigor of the class worthwhile. “She’s (Dr.Kmeciak) super available-amazing as far as getting extra help whenever you need it, particularly with essays because I feel like that’s usually when people need it the most”. Khan also mentioned that there’s room for grade recovery. “The tests are pretty hard, but they count the same as essays and as four quizzes, so it’s not that hard to bring your grade up if you do badly on something.”

Thomas Gelman (‘19), states regarding AP Computer Principles,“It’s a fun class. However, I originally expected it to be somewhat of an intro class into coding languages. It has instead proven itself to be more of a history of the internet type of class, at least of right now.”

Dr. Bowling, the course’s professor, states that AP Computer Principles “gives students a broad introduction to the field of Computer Science.”

Some students enjoy AP classes for their real world application. Shannon McGrane (‘19), states that she likes AP Statistics“ because you can actually apply it to everyday situations. Probably on a weekly basis, I see something and I’m like “That’s a horrible experiment that probably makes all of the data skewed.”
For some, the speed of an advanced class can be very satisfying. AP Calculus BC student, Richard Sollee, (‘19) said, “I love the class. I came into it expecting to learn new things at a rapid pace and have not been disappointed.”

Classes also offer chances for deep discussion. On the subject of AP Language, Noah Silverstein (‘19), says, “The class exceeds my expectations by providing an environment where word choice and stylization can be determined through reading of literature and classroom interaction.”
One of the reasons students enjoy AP classes stems from the way in which a rigorous class kind of rewires your brain. Schwam adds “It is a lot of writing and really makes you write not in an English mind but just a Spanish mind.”

Like AP Spanish, AP Computer Science A requires students to rewire their brains with a new language. Adam Pooley (‘19) advises, “I would advise that if someone is going to take this class next year, to be prepared to essentially learn a new language, because it is a coding language and whenever you learn a new language you learn syntax and grammar and how to express what you are trying to say or do.”

Brittney George (‘18) sixth year French student, says “It’s very different because this class is highly interactive. Rather than having very structured classes like in other AP’s, this class is more discussion-based and immersive as we are required to speak in French throughout class time,” regarding AP French.

According to the Bolles curriculum guide, AP Physics C is a “Calculus-based study of mechanics, electricity, and magnetism.” AP Physics CAP Physics C student Sam Chuang (‘18), recommends taking AP Physics 1 before taking Physics C, because “The first semester’s material of C is all included in physics 1, so people can have a great start. Moreover, students should know some basic knowledge of Calculus in order to understand the Calculus part of this course.”

Savannah Majarawitz, a student in AP Comparative Government, states that “I really enjoy this class because of the discussions we have: and how we break up into groups to learn new topics, then share our information with the class.” The class recently completed an activity called a Prime Minister’s Questions,which is “a great way to learn the information about the United Kingdom .A PMQ is Prime Minister’s Questions where the Parliament asks the PM every Wednesday questions and it’s usually done in a way that undermines the Prime Minister-it’s really entertaining.”

One common theme for all your classes, AP and otherwise, is to stay on top of your assignments.

Pranit Manohar (‘19), advises next year’s AP U.S. Government  students to stay up to date on the material, because “He (Mr. Ferrari) rarely gives pop quizzes but when he does it will catch you off guard.”  Manohar adds that “The only scary thing is that if you take it first semester like me you have a large gap before the exam.”

Essentially, the main thing to fear when taking an AP class is undermining your success through fear of the class itself.