The Warrior Weekly asked Mrs. Waters of the Math Department what advice she would give to a sophomore or junior looking to take an AP class. Here’s what she had to say:
Think carefully about your whole schedule. What other courses will you be taking? How involved are you in extracurriculars? Will you have a job? Do you have extensive responsibilities at home? It is really hard to be successful in a demanding class if you can’t dedicate the time to it that it requires. There are only so many hours in a day, and trying to do homework in the wee hours of the night (when you should be sleeping) is counterproductive. If you are a rising senior, be aware of the large amount of time that you might need to dedicate to the college application process. Many students underestimate how much this process will impact their schedule.
Do you even like the subject matter? Don’t take an AP class just because you think it looks good on your transcript. College admissions personnel can see through this, and it will be hard to make the time to really work on a class (especially when the subject matters gets hard) if you don’t even like what you are studying.
Pay attention to the recommendations made by your teacher, and be very careful about overriding that recommendation. Teachers within the same department talk to each other all the time regarding expectations and work load for each class, so they try very hard to make well-informed recommendations. In subject areas where the concepts/skills are cumulative, as they often are in math, if you have not done well in the prerequisite course, you will likely have a very hard time being successful in an AP.
Reporting by Dylan Zhang