Thursday, May 28, 2015

My Guide to AP Classes

I'm sure many of you are scheduling your classes for next year and while counselors can be very helpful, sometimes they don't give you the real perspective of the class that you are looking for. This post will consist of the classes I took freshman-junior year. I will update this post in July when AP scores for this year come in. Once I complete my senior year, I will also update this post.

AP Human Geography:
-Year Taken: Freshman Year(2012-2013)
-Score: 4
-This was my first AP class, and I think it fills that role perfectly. The teacher can use this class to easily explain what is expected of an AP course. Also, looking back at this class, it taught me things that would be helpful in classes of all disciplines later on. The content can really be applied to life and the world around you. This makes it easy to understand. You can take this class any year of high school and you will be able to relate it to your life and things you are learning in other classes. I think this is a great class to take, because the subject area mimics a real college course. It's not a general science or math class, it is something specific and interesting.
-Study Books: I used the Barron's study book and flashcards. I really liked the flashcards the best to help review the important concepts.
AP World History:
-Year Taken: Sophomore Year(2013-2014)
-Score: 5
-This class made me fall in love with history. It is a very challenging course, because you have to know the entire history of the world. You also are faced with three different types of essays you must learn and understand. You have to know a lot. I think this class is all about putting in the work and loving the subject. If you put in the work by reading the book and studying hard then you will find success. If you love learning about history than you will find success. But you must have a passion to be able to exceed in this course. Overall I found this class very rewarding at the end of the year, with my great understanding of the world and why things happened the way that they did.
-Study Book: Princeton Review
AP Biology:
-Year Taken: Sophomore Year(2013-2014)
-Score: 3
-This class was not at all in the area of my interest, but I took it and really liked the class. I felt like it was so much information crammed in a short period of time and like the class should be condensed. It was a lot of memorizing terms and diagrams and less about learning. I loved my teacher, because she really had a passion for the subject, but she had a baby and was out for part of the year causing us to miss out on quite a few labs. I felt like I really was hurt by missing these labs and didn't understand the huge role they would have on the exam. I would suggest if this happens to you, where your teacher doesn't have you do the labs, make sure that you review them on your own. I would take this class if you have a passion for or interest in biology or science. If science isn't your strong point, stay away.
-Study Book: Cliffs Notes. Loved it.
AP U.S. History:
-Year Taken: Junior Year(2014-2015)
-Score: Unknown
-This class was challenging for me, but I loved it. It is a very popular AP class at my school, and I don't really understand why. It is very difficult class, one that I would not recommend as your first AP class. The information is not hard to learn, but the style of multiple choice will take you some time to understand. It is definitely a class that if you are willing to put in the work you can succeed in. Make sure to practice essays throughout the year. My teacher never gave us much practice on them, and I didn't feel as comfortable as I would have liked on the test. I think this is a great class to take, because you will learn a lot about our country and what we must do to change the future.
-Study Book: AMSCO and Princeton Review. Even though my teacher recommended AMSCO, I loved the Princeton Review so much more; it was so much more helpful.
-Year Taken: Junior Year(2014-2015)
-Score: Unknown
-Some people refer to AP Psychology as the easy AP class. The AP test is much shorter than other classes and the multiple choice plays a larger role than the essays. While I took this class my junior year; I think it would make a great first AP class. It reminded me a lot of AP Human Geography. This class is a lot of memorization of terms and stages. You don't have to make deep connections; you just have to know what things mean and how to apply them. This makes it a lot easier than a class like APUSH where you constantly have to connect different events from all different time periods. I would recommend taking this class for anyone.
-Study Book: Barrons
AP English Language and Composition:
-Year Taken: Junior Year(2014-2015)
-Score: Unknown
-I don't think AP Lang is a hard class. It requires you to do a lot of practice. You have to practice multiple choice over and over again in order to be successful and you have to write essays upon essays to get a high score. I think this is a class where hard work pays off. I found that the work we had to do in class did not really prepare me for the AP exam. I got a study book and did practice questions and essays and that was the most help. I have only heard of this class being offered to juniors, and I think that is good. I would not recommend taking this class before then, because you need to have outside events to pull into your essays and I just don't think you would have enough understanding to do it freshman or sophomore year.
-Study Book: Cliffs Notes
AP Physics 1:
-Year Taken: Junior Year(2014-2015)
-Score: Unknown
-This is definitely a class with a learning curve. I spent all 1st semester approaching this class the wrong way, I was trying to solve problems not understand the connections. This class is not focused on math, it is focused on manipulation of variables and making connections. My teacher taught us the math and then just expected us to understand the connections. That did not click for me, but I got a study book and it helped a lot. Even though the Princeton review book I got had a lot of excess information, it still was very helpful. I'm sure they will put out better books, but since this year was the first year there were not good study materials. This class requires a lot of passion and hard work. If you love science, you should take this class, but if you don't I would just shy away.
-Study Book: Princeton Review. Had excess information that is not covered on the test, but a lot of good recources. Will probably have a better version next year.
AP Classes I'm taking my senior year: AP European History, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP Calculus BC, AP English Literature and Composition, AP United States Government and Politics, AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics. Once I complete these courses I will add them to this post. If you have taken any of the classes I am taking next year please let me know how they are!

These are my opinions on AP classes I have taken. I completely understand if some of you don't agree, as everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Feel free to email or comment if you have questions about any of the classes I have taken I would love to answer!

Thanks for Reading, 

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