Appreciating AP

Ben Ryan, Staff

To many, AP classes are one of the most intimidating things a high school has to offer. They are the hardest courses Bethel High school has to offer, but are also some of the most rewarding. Many students, especially lower classmen, don’t fully understand what an AP class is or why it is beneficial to take. If you are looking for some more information on the opportunities these classes offer, look no further.

Since 1955, College Board (the people behind the SATs) have offered Advanced Placement classes to high school students. The classes themselves are two semesters long and if you pass an official standardized exam in the spring, you get college credit for that class.

In the US, 90% of four-year colleges and colleges in over 60 countries accept this credit. Some high schools even offer enough AP classes to count towards a full year of college, effectively allowing you to start the college experience as a sophomore. Bethel has 14 AP courses, many exclusive to seniors, while a handful such as US history, can be taken as a junior.

There is no doubt that these classes are difficult. “AP classes can be more difficult at BHS than college entry classes,” says Mr. Ciparelli, who teaches AP European history. “There is still a benefit in taking the classes in: one, in understanding the content; and two, in dealing with the work load. The AP test is an added bonus.”

According to Ms Lerz, who teaches the new AP Language and Composition class, the difficulty is “Good for the brain. Any kind of mental stimulation is healthy, and a more challenging class will hold the students attention more. Pass or fail, it’s still beneficial.”

Ms. Bly, who teaches AP Chemistry thinks that AP classes are worth taking, “Not for the knowledge gained, but for the skills acquired. A lot of times students move on and don’t understand what is to be expected with college classes. You are struggling all year long in an AP class and you do poorly on the exam, fine! It will help you when you leave high school!”

She gave an example of one of her students who got low grades all year long, took the exam and got a 1 (the lowest score out of 5), went on to the Honors College at WestConn, got into Honors Chem and got an A. “That is the purpose of these classes, to prepare you when you leave high school,” Bly explained.

Nicola Gallagher, a senior also known as Clipboard Girl or that crazy woman who advertises Mirage every morning, agrees that AP classes are definitely worth taking for the challenge. “They make students study and work to the best of their ability.” She expressed that this is vital for moving on to college. ”The fact that you can get college credit for all your hard work is a plus, but that should not be the reason to take the course.” If you are passionate about a subject, taking AP classes can be a very rewarding investment.