Getting through the first quarter of AP classes


The first quarter of junior year is a long and windy road. There is the struggle of balancing standardized test preparation with the heavier school workload, the stress of thinking about college and, of course, the lethal AP classes that many students aren’t used to.

The thing about AP classes is that teachers will warn you, guidance counselors will warn you and even other students will warn you, but it still won’t register how drastically disparate AP classes are from Honors and A classes until you actually partake in one.

After completing the first quarter of taking two AP classes: AP Government and Politics and AP Language and Composition, I can say that I have never been expected to think outside of the box more, make more knowledgeable connections, read texts in a more in-depth way and be able to handle a challenge.

There is no better sensation than feeling prepared as the teacher distributes your first AP Government and Politics test around the room. You’re ready to dive into the material you think you understand, until you skim the first page of the test and realize you’re screwed. It’s not your usual test of memorizing and then forgetting. It is complete understanding and being able to make difficult connections.

Getting through the first test of your AP experience is a tough one. But once you bomb the first test, you now know how to study well for the next one. The same goes for everything in life. You have to know how to fail in order to succeed.

In my past experience, I would usually just skim and find the main, significant details of the text. This method needs to be left at the front step before entering into the house of AP classes. If you want to do well, you must learn to read in a way that you haven’t previously encountered.

If I could collect a survey of students not enrolled in AP classes, who look up words they don’t know as they are read, it would be a very, very small percentage. I, for one, never did that. If you think you can get away with ignoring words you don’t know as you read, you’re wrong. If you think you can get away with not analyzing each sentence and really dissecting each paragraph, you’re wrong. From my experience taking AP Language and Composition this quarter, I have learned the hard way that committing those academic crimes is extremely illegal.

Oh, and one more thing: do your homework. I’m serious. Sometimes they don’t check it because they believe that if you’re taking an AP course you are independent enough and motivated enough to do what you’re supposed to be doing. But if you want to succeed, practice makes perfect and the assignments given to you are always preparation for the following test.

After my first quarter partaking in AP classes, I can conclude that I have never felt more challenged… and I sort of like it?