Monday, May 14, 2012

"Take AP"

At Kennedy High School we are pressured all year long to “Take AP.” It is basically our principal’s motto that she lives by. AP stands for Advanced Placement; it is basically a college level course given in high school. At the end of the year you take a final exam that determines whether or not you will get college credit hours. You have to pass the test with a grade of 3, 4, or 5 (out of 5) if you want the credit.  There are some people that take one AP class, and there are some that take up to six. AP classes at our school venture from really easy, to very hard; it is all in the teacher. I have been taking AP classes since freshman year. None of my AP classes have been so hard that I drown in class work, but they have been very stressful.

At our school, we have a variety of AP classes that are offered. We have AP foreign language classes, math classes, science classes, social studies classes, as well as language arts AP classes. This makes it quite easy to take multiple AP classes all at once. I have taken an AP social studies class every year, and one AP language arts class. They are hard, but they are also tedious.

How well you do in AP is basically all on the quality of your teacher. You would think that the teacher must be good if they are going to be teaching AP. This is not always the case though. I have had some AP teachers that really do not teach you at all, and you are left to learn the information all on your own. This is extremely frustrating to me because I believe that if you expect me to know the information, I expect the teacher to teach it to me. I will do a lot of work on my own to better understand the information; essentially, it needs to be at least semi-taught to me first.

The whole year, each student is working to learn the information for the final exam in May. The final exam contains multiple choice questions, a document-based essay question, as well as two free response questions. The exams tests your knowledge of the information covered all year. For me, it is very hard to remember specific details we learned in the fall, and test over them in the spring. A lot of reviewing is involved before the final exam takes place. This review is started many weeks in advance; most of the time it is personal review with some in-class review.

I enjoy taking AP for two reasons: The first reason: it raises my GPA to a five point scale, rather than a four point scale; the second reason: it challenges me and gives me an opportunity to experience college material before I actually get to college. AP classes are nice in high school, and I am very lucky to get to have the chance to take them because not all high schools offer AP. I know that when I get to college I will do better and be more prepared based on the preparation I had in high school. However, the score I get on the exam is all about what was taught to me and how it was taught to me through my personal studies and the teacher.

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