AP Testing: How to Come Out Alive From Your AP Classes

Throughout high school there is a plethora of classes available for students, all ranging in difficulty and some determined students take their chances in the really hard classes like the infamous Advanced Placement classes, or AP for short.

Black River Falls High School has offered several AP classes over the years; U.S. History (APUSH), Biology (AP Bio), Spanish, English, Psychology (AP Psych), Chemistry (AP Chem) and Calculus (AP Calc). BRFHS has also equipped us with the teachers to teach AP classes, including Paul Rykken, James Klos, Marc Rukavina, Karl Wallin, Anthony Boerger, Donna Wojciechowski and Tim Young.

AP classes put students to the test, trying to see if they can handle the stress and work associated with higher level classes like those experienced in college.

“They are definitely more challenging classes,” said senior Sierra Johnson. “They require a lot more time, homework, projects, etc.” Johnson has already completed multiple AP classes, including Calculus, Psychology and English.

Senior Dustin Dittner has also completed AP classes, including U.S. History, English and Psychology.

“They can be hard. Some subjects like History and Psychology make you do a lot of work. You spend a lot of time reading, studying or memorizing names or dates,” said Dittner.

But seniors aren’t the only ones taking AP classes. Some juniors and even a few sophomores take AP classes every year.

Junior Betsy Torkelson remarks that AP classes “are good classes, you just have to study more.”

Every student who plans on taking an AP class should know that more effort is expected in AP classes. They can be harder and more trying. So if that is the case, what is the reward for the extra effort? Why would someone purposely put themselves in a situation like that?

“Students should take AP classes,” said Dittner. “If you do well on the National Exam, you get college credit. You also learn how college level classes work and what to expect.”

Johnson agrees, stating that taking AP classes are “definitly worth it.” And she would know, since Johnson has virtually completed a semester in college so far.

Getting a head start on college credit isn’t the only reward. Many readings, notes and study habits can be taken from AP classrooms and be put to use in future college classes. According to Dittner, “some techniques the teachers teach you, you just can’t forget.”

AP classes can have huge benefits for now and the future, but the work can be very challenging. Between quizzes and tests, note taking and just knowing the information, there has to be an easier way to pass the class and get the grade. Luckily, students who have completed the class are willing to give a few tips on AP classes. Dittner had this tidbit to give:

“Be prepared to memorize a lot of information and do a lot of reading and writing. Make sure you study too. And definitely prepare well for the tests.”

Johnson also had some good advice to give to future AP students.

“Have a giant notebook! Write notes you can actually read and study them.”