The Truth About AP Classes


Avery Chalk

A view of the CollegeBoard website.

Avery Chalk, Writer

The majority of AP courses are positively brimming with intellectual rigorsubstantial homework loads, and stress to boot. Some of these classes are notorious for yielding extremely high (or low!) College Board exam scores in May. The question is, which of these classes will provide students with a challenging, yet meaningful, class… and which should they try to avoid?

First, some quick stats: of those surveyed, the average number of APs per student was five during the entirety of their high school career. The greatest number of AP classes an individual took was eleven, and the lowest was one. However, these results are subject to change, as some students noted that they intend on taking more in the future.

So, what exactly is the appeal of AP classes? While select individuals regret their decision to take APs, an overwhelming majority believe that the challenge is, “worth it.” College preparation, a learned work ethic, and a profound understanding of the material were all points made regarding APs’ value, but none arose as consistently as one in particular: the GPA boost.

The exams are out of this world expensive and I feel like I could have gotten similar knowledge from a honors class.”

— Anonymous

This information speaks volumes about the kinds of students that AP courses attract. It is evident that College Board caters towards those who are seeking to not only challenge themselves, but receive numerical recognition of these efforts. Doing well in an AP class can provide a weighted boost of approximately one full point per class, which will quickly translate into a much higher Grade Point Average. 

“They will take up a significant amount of time outside of school every day,” notes one student, “but hopefully you’ll be rewarded with college credit and a more impressive college application.” 

AP classes are worth taking, but only if you are actually interested in the subject and have the time to challenge yourself!”

— Anonymous

As for the most well-liked, three classes in specific received substantial praise. AP Environmental Science took the ultimate title, followed closely by AP Government and Politics. AP Enviro was said to be admired due to close ties between the curriculum and the “real world”, a quality said to be increasingly difficult to find in other classes.

Jake Nims, a junior, spoke highly of AP Gov because it has helped him prepare for possible majors and careers. “It has given me so much knowledge on the institutions of American democracy and government,” he says. “It’s very helpful if you want to go into the political science or government field.”

On the other hand, one class in specific was advised against taking. AP English Literature was voted to be the most stressful, simply because of the amount of work.

“It helps you gain a good work ethic, but there’s a lot of reading and writing involved,” said one student. “It’s definitely an adjustment.”

Simply put, AP classes might be worth it if a student is specifically looking for either a deep delve into what can be a somewhat niche topic (like rhetoric) or simply a GPA boost. However, the additional stress and work volume add a layer of difficulty that can be hard to look past.