Within the competitive environment at Staples, everyone is trying to get the upper hand. One strategy many students use is taking so-called easy classes to boost their GPA.
Students interviewed described the following as trap classes — courses that seem easy but turn out to require a good amount of work.
1. Anatomy and Physiology- For many students, this elective adds more homework to their schedule than any other class. Samantha Sheppard ’16 was shocked when she realized what was expected of her, “I didn’t think it would be easy, but from the start the workload is intense.”
Teacher Michael Lazaroff admits his class is no cakewalk. “You can’t just memorize, you really need to understand how the parts work.” Ultimately, Lazaroff believes all the work pays off, especially with the final project, called a mandala, which he claims an Anatomy and Physiology alum, Alexandra Krubski, brought with her to college.
2. Critical Analysis of Film – Don’t think this is a class where students sit around watching movies. That cannot be further from the truth. Barbara Robbins has taught the class for many years and wanted to clear up some myths. In the class, she said, students study film, learning techniques and strategies; the goal is to give them the tools to analyze a film as a student would a book in another class.
3. Physics A – Students who successfully took Chemistry A and Biology A are often surprised by the difficulty of this course because the skillset necessary to succeed is different. Justin Slosberg ’15 recalled, “Chem and Bio require a lot of memorizing for the most part. Physics is mostly procedurally going through the problem, finding knowns and unknowns, making diagrams.” Physics A teacher Carrie Veiges explained another reason why students may have trouble. “In Physics we teach you background knowledge, we teach you ways in which you approach the problem, but each problem has its own twist and turn.”
4. Exercise Science – This quarter course veers towards a science-like experience, with labs and lengthy tests. Jonathan Maragos ’16, who took Exercise Science earlier this year, was shocked by what he walked into, “I thought it would be another gym class, or at least sort of like health, but then I’m working with high intensity labs and tests that you really have to study hard to succeed on, not at all what I was expecting from a P.E class.” Physical education teacher Cari Moore differentiated Exercise Science from other gym classes as well, explaining, “It is a unique hybrid of classroom structure and activity labs that engage the students in understanding the science behind how our bodies work during exercise.”