The fourth quarter has officially begun, so it’s time to start thinking about scheduling. For those on a more advanced track, there are a ton of options in terms of dual credit and AP which may seem intimidating. I’ve taken my fair share of AP classes, so, out of the goodness of my heart, I have compiled this guide to help any students wondering what classes they should or shouldn’t take:
AP Euro: This was the first AP class I ever took, and I felt like it was the best initiation into AP I could have had. I mostly enjoyed the class, and the workload was never too awful. I would highly recommend this class to any decent student. There is quite a bit of studying involved, especially if you want to do well on the exam, so be prepared for that. Otherwise, the class is pretty easygoing. European history is quite interesting, so I’d say it is definitely one of the more enjoyable AP classes.
AP Calculus: If you have completed Pre-calculus, you have the option to take AP Calculus. To find out if you should take it or not, ask yourself this simple question: Do you hate yourself? If your answer is yes, then by all means take calculus. Otherwise, steer clear. In all seriousness, this is the most difficult math class offered at OHS, and I struggled the entire way. I never even signed up for the exam because I knew I’d be lucky to get a 2. I only recommend taking it if you are excellent at math. You have to have a complex understanding of numbers, functions, and all the flavors of algebra to keep up to pace in Calculus, especially at the AP level. Other than the unit circle and maybe a few trig identities, Pre-cal doesn’t really prepare you for the monster that is Calculus. You’ve been warned.
APUSH: AP Us History, aka APUSH, aka APUSH me off a cliff, is usually taken after AP Euro. I’d recommend doing so, as things you do in APUSH kind of built on concepts from Euro . However, it really isn’t that bad and I didn’t have much issue with it at all, so any good student will probably do fine as long as you do your homework and pay attention. There is a lot to remember, and sitting through the class-long lectures can be a daunting task. But Mr. Schwartz is a legend, and the class prepares you for college pretty well. Plus, many people find US History to be fairly interesting, so weigh that in your consideration.
AP Lang: I was in AP Lang for 20 minutes before I switched out because of scheduling reasons, so I don’t have too much personal experience to describe. However, I’ve heard more positives than negatives about AP Lang, and nobody seems to think it’s too terribly difficult besides the hefty workload. If you like arguments and stuff, this may be the class for you.
AP Lit: If you’re a book person, I would highly recommend AP Lit. You’ll read some great literature, and discuss it frequently. I can also promise that this class will improve your writing skills quite a bit, as there is a lot of in-depth writing required. This class is definitely one of the best classes I’ve taken, and I feel like it has genuinely made me a better thinker and prepared me for college. Fair warning, the exam is a killer, and if you hate reading you’ll hate this class. Otherwise, I’d recommend it any day.
AP Environmental Science: I have never taken this class, nor would I ever want to. It seems that everyone I know who takes it is eternally working on packets roughly the thickness of a standard Bible. I have been told that the class encompasses seemingly nearly every aspect of science, including physics, biology, and chemistry (And also law, apparently?) If you want to be a field scientist or work in environmental science, it would probably be worth your while to take this class for the exposure if nothing else. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem all that enjoyable. The exam has a pretty high pass rate though, so maybe that’s reason enough to give it a shot.
AP Chemistry: I have taken two years of chemistry, one at the honors level with the infamous Daddy Mac, and the other at the dual credit college level. I aced both years, because the truth is, high school chemistry is not that difficult. That is, unless, you take AP Chem. There are a lot of facts, rules, patterns, and equations you have to shove into your head and master before the end of the year. I’ve known several brainiacs who just could not get a high score on the exam, which is widely regarded as stupidly difficult. If it’s any consolation, none of the equations in chemistry are particularly impossible to do. I think what makes chemistry hard for many is just the sheer amount of rules and content, which is enough to scare me away from AP Chem. But if you want to be a doctor, chemist, or something that will require a lot of chem knowledge, you may be thankful you took this class when you get to college.
AP Physics: Dylan Mather (10) tried to encourage me to take AP Physics. I promptly responded “no,” and you probably should too. Unless you want to work for NASA or something. Then go ahead, I guess.
AP Bio: For some reason I struggled with Honors Biology a little bit, so I never tried my hand at AP Bio. A lot of people breezed through their freshman bio class, though, so I can understand the appeal. This class is a more approachable AP science class, so if you like science it may be worth a shot. Don’t interpret that as me calling it easy, because it definitely isn’t. There’s an insane amount of facts and processes you’ll have to learn, as well as hours of homework. But for any aspiring doctors or biologists, or someone just looking for a potential GPA boost, AP Bio could be a good choice.
AP Stats: I don’t take stats, but most AP students in my grade do. I know they analyze a lot of charts and such, and most people say it’s fairly easy. I take a class across from stats, and occasionally I’ll hear loud yelling or cheers. I don’t really know what all goes on in there, but it sounds like a good time.
AP Gov: I’ll be real, I don’t know anything about AP Gov other than that it exists. I’m signing up to take it next year, so I guess I’ll find out.
AP Psychology: This is one of, if not the most, accessible AP classes at OHS. I’ve known people across varying academic levels who enjoy AP Psych , and I’m signing up to take it next year because it sounds pretty interesting. Of course, it’s still an AP class, so there is still work to do, but the pass rate for the exam is high and I’ve heard pretty much nothing but positives. You could say I’m Psyched for AP Psych…Ok, I’ll show myself out.
AP Human Geography: Although this is referred to as AP Hug, it isn’t a warm and cuddly class. However, don’t be too worried. It is widely regarded as one of the easier AP courses, and it is for this reason that it is traditionally taken as a freshman class. In fact, nobody reading this is likely considering AP hug, as I don’t think 8th graders are invested in the Digital Devil. However, if you want an extra credit or GPA boost without too much struggle, maybe you could give AP Hug a try.
AP Studio Art: I can barely draw stick figures, so I would never even consider AP Studio art. However, for those who are not artistically challenged, it would be a great way to practice and improve your craft. It would also expose you to new methods and ideas in art, making you more well-rounded and expanding your abilities. I’m a D-Walker fan, and I trust that he makes it a good class. Furthermore, scoring well on the AP submission gets you some college clout. So for those who consider themselves good artists, AP Studio Art may be worth the challenge.
AP Computer Science: The newest AP Class to OHS, AP Computer Science serves as an introduction to programming and more complicated computer principles. I would never take it because that sounds remarkably boring to me, but when advanced AI takes over half of the workforce I’ll probably regret that decision. In all seriousness, for those who are interested in computer stuff, it would be wise to take advantage of the opportunity to have some exposure before college.