AP Classes- Worth the Five?

There is a bit of a thrill that comes with signing up for an Advanced Placement (AP) class.

If you’ve felt it, you crave it. You take every AP you can. You challenge your friends to do the same (or maybe they challenged you first). I’m one of those people. Halfway through my junior year, I’ve begun to ask questions of the AP system. The curriculum is college level.

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The teachers are college graduates, if not college professors themselves. The work load is huge, the class work is tough, and the hours spent studying are countless. That said, is this really a college life simulation? I am- as most AP students are- an enthusiastic recipient of a challenge. AP classes are meant to be the highest level of high school education made available to students in public schools. You take the Testing Oath- a promise every single student makes, whether you realize it or not, to take the AP exam.

You pay the fee, next. Eighty seven dollars. By this point, your parents are ecstatic. They think you’re the most brilliant person alive, and you are surely intelligent, if you’re taking this class, so they aren’t wrong. The question is, are you up for the long haul? AP Classes almost notoriously begin with the teacher’s personal variation of this: “I am not here to ensure that you pass the AP exam. I am here to nurture your brains and pour as much of the knowledge from mine to yours as possible in the time we have.

” Every teacher, no joke. By the second semester, or sometimes even sooner, the words begin to change. They become “the AP exam will ask,” rather than “I’d like you to know.” They become “The AP exam assumes you know,” rather than “I think your knowledge of this will help you better understand our next topic.” All of a sudden, it’s a race to exam day.

Nothing matters, not to teachers or students, except for getting a five stamped on a piece of paper and mailed to your house in July. Is college like this? As a high school junior, I can’t know. I can know that I don’t wish to endure a class taught with the one and only goal of making it to the end and slam-dunking that test score. I’d rather absorb the knowledge. AP classes are a great challenge- mostly of your mental stability and work ethic- but they don’t teach the information for the long run, or as my AP-hating AP Chemistry teacher says: “Teach for life.” How ironic.