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Should I take an AP class next year? AP Mixer addresses student concerns

Math teacher Mr. Rosenblum addresses a group of students who came to the AP Mixer to learn more about what to expect from an AP class. Photo by Eden Rodriguez

Students who were wondering whether or not to take an AP class next year were provided an opportunity to get their questions answered at an AP Mixer on Feb. 24 at lunch in the library. “AP” stands for Advance Placement. AP classes are especially rigorous because they are designed to prepare students for the AP tests in the spring, which can earn them college credits in advance. Some colleges limit the number of AP credits which can be applied to their degree programs, but having completed AP courses looks very good on a student’s college application.

Students currently taking AP classes as well as the teachers of those classes answered questions and gave advice about how to be successful in an AP class and informed students about all their AP choices.

Many students attended and busily talked to their fellow students and the AP instructors. Note cards indicated which AP class each person was currently taking, or have already taken, or are teaching so students could easily find a source of information to match their interests. Students then formed groups and waited to get their answers as well as a chance to individually talk, one on one. Some people came in looking noticeably stressed, but left seeming more at ease. Before she left, when asked if all if she got enough information about what she was getting into, Laylah Rogers said, “Pretty much I feel like I have a better idea of what classes I may take. I'm glad they had this.”

Large number of students want to take as many AP classes as they can as those classes boost their Grade Point Averages (GPAs) and can earn them college credits for transfer if they score high enough on the AP test. Anna Garica-Dagato said she was interested in AP Language and Composition, AP Literature and Composition, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, and AP Computer Science Principles. Her reasoning for wanting to take so many AP classes is that she wants to gain college credits in advance and wants to get into a good college. She said that her worries about such a rigorous class load were “ stressful it's going to be, especially during my junior year when you have to take SATs and other tests.” In addition to those AP classes previously mentioned, Atascadero High also offers AP United States History, AP Studio Art 2-D Design, AP Physics, AP European History, AP Government and Politics, AP Human Geography, AP Statistics, AP Spanish Language and Culture, and AP Psychology.

Being able to handle all the work of an AP class was a common worry expressed by students, along with the difficulty of the classes. Arava Trabinkis, who is also planning to take many AP classes, worried about the demands of AP coursework, and wondered if it would be a smart choice. When asked about their biggest fear about taking an AP class, both Trabinkski and Gracie Vance agreed: “I'm scared of the tests.” Trabinkis added, “The letters ‘AP’ themselves kinda sounds scary.”

Ms. Prochello, who teaches AP Language and Composition, said, “As long as you are willing to focus and persevere, you will get a lot out of AP Lang.The most important thing is learning to think critically and at a college level.” She added, “You will be debating with your friends and family like a pro.”

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