The increase in students taking AP classes and tests sparks the question of whether or not they are worth the time devotion, as well as if they truly prepare students for college level courses.
Burlingame High School offers around 17 AP classes each year, but other schools may offer more or less.
“I took AP classes because I wanted to challenge myself and explore my favorite subjects in greater depth,” said BHS junior Chelsea Lo. Evidently, college credit compels most students to take AP classes and tests, but the classes themselves do not necessarily provide an environment similar to that of a college course.
“College classes are way more intense, they involve the same concepts [as high school courses], but go more in depth” said college freshman and BHS alum Colette Weese.
“Depending on the amount of people in your classes in college, it can be very different from high school because there is often less one-on-one attention from teachers” said college sophomore and BHS alum Elizabeth Daskalakis.
Despite the differences between high school and college courses, taking AP classes in high school can help students prepare for college by providing more advanced knowledge of certain topics. “I double major in biology and English. If I hadn’t taken classes like AP chemistry and AP calculus, I would’ve been very lost” said Weese. Evidently, AP classes teach information that regular classes might not address.
The high school and college perspective of AP classes is more similar than some may believe.
“[AP classes] are academically challenging courses that give you a taste of what college might be like. The level of difficulty may change between high school and college, but the experience of taking a college level course at a younger age is worth it” said BHS sophomore Gianna Ngai, who is currently taking AP European History. Both high school students and graduates agree that exposing yourself to more rigorous classes early on is a great way to prepare for the future.
“I am a history major, and AP history classes in high school helped me with reading and writing essays,” said Daskalakis, “AP classes motivated me to put in more effort, knowing they expect more from you.” While they may not exactly mimic a college environment, AP courses can significantly benefit high school students in preparing for college, both in terms of academics and level of responsibility.
Ultimately, if a student feels as though they have the time, and AP courses intrigue them, it may be in their best interest to sign up for one.
“I definitely think that if a student wants to take an AP class, and feels like they can manage it, they should because it ends up saving time and money, if you do well on the AP test,” advised Daskalakis.