AP CLASS GUIDE: Student Opinions on Science and Math Courses
Enrolling in AP courses is highly encouraged. By taking AP classes, a student can immerse themselves in challenging material that not only allows the student to become better at critical thinking and time management, but also reap in the benefits of earning college credits. By enlisting in AP courses, students demonstrate to college admission counselors that they are taking courses to better prepare them for college. By passing the AP exam with a three or above (the test is on a five point scale) students can earn college credit which can save them thousands of dollars, and potentially they can graduate from college earlier.
“Enrolling in AP classes prepares students for college rigor. Keep in mind that the classes include college level work—which can be challenging. Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t start out with an ‘A,’” says counselor Nella Landau. Landau emphasizes that students should not be tempted to switch out only because they didn’t have an ‘A’ on their first progress report. AP classes are a challenge that should be met with optimism and willingness to work hard. Here at Clairemont High, there are eleven AP classes.
Here is an AP Guide for Science and Math courses. It is comprised of tips and reviews by students who are currently enrolled in the course.
AP Biology is one of the most challenging AP courses taught on campus. Jason Kammerer’s AP Bio class had a high pass rate on last year’s AP exam.
Junior P.S. shares:
Describe your experience: AP Biology is a worthwhile class. My experience with it has challenged my thinking and has taught me the importance science has in everyday life.
Workload: Homework is not demanded daily; however, it is helpful to read the textbook. Tests are given every two to three chapters.
Tips: The best tip I could give to future AP Bio students is to remember the basics and the process of systems.
Senior C.C. shares:
Describe your experience: AP Bio is a lab and lecture based class. You are expected to put in the equivalent amount of time outside of class that you are given in class. So, expect an hour of homework each day. It is important to remember that this AP class is focused strictly on the AP exam and all work in the class is geared toward passing that exam.
Tips: Study past material as well as current material; you are expected to remember something that was lectured on months ago. This class is doable if you are dedicated to receiving college level education.”
AP ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE is one of the most popular AP classes on campus, and is mostly taken by seniors. AP Environmental is celebrated as one of the easiest AP exams administered. This course is taught by Mr. Meyers.
Senior J.G. shares:
Describe your experience: Environmental science is one of the most unique AP classes at our school because it involves an encompassing curriculum and you need a broad knowledge base to understand all of it. I’ve taken almost every AP class, and it definitely stands out from the rest because you don’t need to know many in depth details and facts—it deals more with general truths about how our planet works. It is also one of the few classes which you can apply to almost everything around you.
Workload: The workload is ridiculously easy, yet it somewhat exemplifies a real college class because you don’t have unreasonable homework/busy work every night, but rather your grade is based strictly off your test. It’s one of the easiest AP classes in our school, but if you want to continue to learn and be well versed in this subject you need motivation to study on your own and look further into the stuff Meyers covers in class. But it is one of those classes that any kid can get an A in and understand; there aren’t any extremely hard concepts to grasp.
Tips: If you want to pass the AP test and get college credit then you need to care enough to put work in yourself and do extra studying on your own.
Senior Jason Mos loves APES and says, “Meyers has awesome stories!”
Workload: There really isn’t much when it comes to homework, but it’s a lot of independent studying. The tests are quite challenging if you do not study, so it is very hard to just wing it.
Tips: Don’t talk when Meyers is talking or he will blow steam and get grumpy. Also, just study even if it seems like you know the material, trust me, you probably don’t.
AP Stats is taught by “jokester” Eric Kangas. Students are amused by his humor and squirm at the intensity of his tests.
Senior K.N. offers thorough advice about her experience taking the class:
Workload: We have one assignment per section, and each chapter has roughly five sections, give or take. We also have a chapter review for each chapter. Quizzes are every two to three sections, and every chapter has one chapter test, which has two parts, and thus takes two days to administer.
Tips: ASK QUESTIONS IN CLASS! I can’t emphasize this enough. Asking questions goes a long way, but make sure you’re paying attention, and that you’re not asking questions that someone has already asked. Also, review along the way; it’ll be a great help when it comes to the end of the year for the AP exam, and your final.
Also, don’t procrastinate on your homework. It’s not due the day after it’s assigned, but at the end of the chapter. Even if you think you can put it off, don’t put it off for too long, or else you’re going to have tons of fun doing it when it’s actually due.
Experience: Pretty straightforward and to the point. The lessons follow power points which mirror the textbook. Be prepared to answer questions during lessons to demonstrate your understanding.
Junior T.W. opted to take AP stats his junior year as part of his plan to take every AP course (with the exception of Spanish and Art) before graduating. He shares:
Workload: Homework is given frequently (every day or every other day) and usually consists of a few questions or an outline (pretty easy because you just need to copy certain words and make two examples). Tests are given every week or two, and usually aren’t too bad.
Tips: Ask questions if you feel confused and be sure not to blow off the work. It adds up if you don’t do the homework. AP Stats is honestly the easiest math class I have ever taken. I generally dislike math and this class is good for people better suited to logic and analysis rather than a bunch of numbers. As long as you keep up everything is fine.
AP CALCULUS is taught by Kevin Regardie. Regardie has the second highest AP Calculus pass rate in the entire district. This class is fast paced and benefits seniors immensely, for it prepares them for taking Calculus during their freshman year in college, and may perhaps save them from having to take it during college if they pass the AP exam.
Senior G.Z. shares:
Describe your experience: This class was really hard to adjust to at first, but it gets better. My background in PreCalc only carried me so far in the beginning of Calc, but once you get the hang of it, it is pretty simple. The class basically consists of derivatives and integrals which are pretty easy to understand.
Workload: A typical day includes a warm up—which he usually goes over—and homework questions—which usually answers all of the weird word problems that consist of half the homework and are usually the hardest. If we finish with a good amount of time left, he will begin the next chapter and assign homework which isn’t due until the chapter test (about every two to three weeks). There are about six sections per chapter, so two quizzes per chapter and a chapter test. The quizzes are really easy if you pay attention in class and do SOME of the homework; however, the tests are a little more challenging, but still do-able.
Tips: Keep in mind that he teaches from a power point. I would recommend going over the examples in the book if the homework makes no sense and ask questions about the problems in class. After all, that is what you spend most of the year doing in class. Also, don’t get behind on the homework. I usually save it for the weekend if I can’t do it during the week, but make an effort to finish it then because putting it off until the next week will just pile on. Also, when saving the homework, copy down the problems he does in class because it cuts down on what you have to do at home.
Senior S.W. shares:
Describe your experience: Regardie’s class is pretty routine. Chapter lectures, followed by a few quizzes and homework, then review and a chapter test.
Workload: He gives you homework after every chapter lecture. Quizzes are given two or three sections in a chapter. Tests are also weighted as 75% of your grade…so don’t fail those.
Tips: Always participate! Homework isn’t due until test day, so take advantage of that. Pay attention, he might call on you and it’s pretty embarrassing when you don’t know the answer, trust me.