AP Dos and Don’ts: Advice from a Stressed Senior

Makenzie Henton, Editor-in-Chief

To all of those who are approaching their lives in AP classes or have just started them, let me tell you: It. Is. Hard. Many students in the past have struggled continuously to be successful in these advanced courses, and the pressure of passing an exam with a grade of a three or higher weighs on you until the minute you walk out of the exam room the day of the test. Teachers have watched their students frantically try to get their APUSH I.D.s done, or complete AP Chem WebAssign, an event often ending in a stress-induced sleep coma (for the three hours of the night they didn’t use up completing assignments). My goal for you, though? Not to have that happen. Let me introduce to you: AP Dos and Don’ts, from yours truly, an overloaded high school senior.

For the juniors at CHS- There are not enough history memes to compensate for the amount of reading you will need to do. And by need, I mean NEED to do. Reading the chapters is an essential part of the course. Both Mrs. Clark and I will tell you, it can be the difference between a 2 and a 3 on the exam, a failing grade to passing. In addition, please, PLEASE watch review videos. JoczProductions were my go-to before every chapter test, and the summarized information was the perfect ending to my studying in my car at 7:45 before school started.

To my fellow seniors- Just like Mr. Clark has his pet peeves about everything, I have a pet peeve about AP Calc. But don’t tell him that. If math is not your friend, you will most likely struggle a bit in his class, but I know that you can and will succeed. Take that, Advanced Geometry. Mr. Clark likes to think that “An AP student should be willing to take ownership of their learning, and work independently outside of class and not just rely on classroom instruction.” This advice is completely accurate: the outside work helps tremendously. Thankfully for you, Mr. Clark changes his tests. Buy a senior’s old tests and notes: I swear by it, seeing those old examples and old notes can help you find additional ways to solve derivatives and find limits. Also, Mr. Clark will always tell you to ask questions. They help tremendously. Any one-on-one time you can get with a teacher can drive test material into your head even further than you would expect and could lead to a better understanding of the subject.

Whether you take just one or all three of the AP options here at CHS, I would just like to wish you luck. Mrs. Gibbs, the instructor of the (arguably) hardest AP course, will thankfully always have some fun little chemistry song or meme to get you through the day. The “Electromagnetic Spectrum Song” will be forever stuck inside of your head, if “Chemists Know” wasn’t already. Also, print off the notes. Mrs. Gibbs talks fast because of how much she loves chemistry, so my advice to you would be to spend more time listening and less time writing. For the class, I have learned that a 70% on a test is a golden pathway to 100% in the course, and possibly a 4 or a 5 on the exam. Thank you, grade curves, and thank you, Mrs. Gibbs, for giving us accurate tests that prepare us for the realization that a bad feeling about a test may not lead to a bad score.

Ms. Hempen’s advice regarding her course would be to “Do take it. Don’t not take it.” As you approach AP English, I can promise you that Ms. Hempen will be seen in your English class at least three times to urge you to take the leap into AP. I can also promise that you will be writing a lot of papers. Don’t wait until the last minute. Getting up at 3:30 a.m. to finish a handwritten essay is NOT worth it, and if you’re questioning it do not hesitate to ask me. In addition, get the most out of the novels that you can and reread your old school novels. Those connections will come in extremely handy during the exam, as there is even an entire question based off of a novel of literary merit, and you will want to do one that is not popularly read.

Just because the class is known to be advanced placement does not mean that it is too hard for you to succeed in. Please take the chance and get some college credits taken care of now rather than later. Your college life (and wallet) will thank you later. Don’t forget, though, when you need help, your teachers will always be available to make you better understand the current topic. It may be a college-level course, but you have been blessed with high school teachers.