AP Courses: Worth the Challenge?

Nell Peterson, a senior at U-32, is preparing to take an “Advanced Placement” exam in May, and she feels that she needs to take these courses to prepare her for college level classes. This begs the question: what can a student get out of AP courses, and are they worth the challenge?

Lisa Laplante, head of U-32 Student Services, said, “There are many AP courses offered at U-32, including AP Biology, AP Calculus,  AP Stats, AP U.S. History,  American Writers, and British & World Authors.”

Kate McCann is the AP Statistics teacher at U-32. “When I arrived at U-32, we offered a one-semester statistics course and the department was considering moving toward a full year AP course,” McCann said.

“Over 2,600 colleges worldwide grant credit for AP scores. I believe it provides an opportunity for students to show colleges that they are serious about education, save money on college tuition, and see their hard work pay off.”

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Kate McCann

Ben Heintz has been the AP U.S. History teacher at U-32 for two years; before that he taught the regular course for ten years. “Something that is great about AP is it really challenges students, it pushes them to improve their skills.”

“The downside of AP U.S. History is that it tries to cover everything, and when you try to do everything in an AP class, you end up not doing justice to anything,” he said.

Joe Sanguinetti, a Senior at U-32, said “I would rather not take an AP course because I feel like AP courses rush through things, and with classes that are non-AP classes you can ask the teacher to slow down or go over things another day.” With an AP course that is fast paced some students would not be successful and would not perform well on the test.

Maddie Smart, a Senior at U-32, who is taking six  AP exams in May said, “I am taking these so that I won’t have to take a final exam at the end of the year.” She said “In terms of preparation, we have study sessions so that’s probably all I will do.”  She also said, “Taking these tests won’t really benefit you in the future because when you get to college you will probably have to take the class again because they teach it differently.”

Cecil Pashe, a student at U-32 taking British & World Authors, said, “I specifically chose British & World Authors as an English course because it is more based around reading than it is writing. I won’t lie, it’s been difficult at times. The class is never not active, whether it is with a new book or an important project.”

He also said, “Even though it has been challenging, I would take the course again, I enjoy the commitment of the students around me in that workspace.”