As springtime arrives, the students at Cosby High School fill out their class request forms and meet with their counselors to decide their classes for the next year. However, many students are often puzzled about what to expect as they come back in the fall.
Often, colleges want students to take AP classes, but students want to have a balanced workload to avoid stress. Discovering this balance comes with picking the right classes. Guidance counselors will help advise what to do and based on the student, help pick the best fitting classes, but given that, they also give little information on the true difficulty of them as they are not in the classroom.
Some of the hardest AP classes are part of the science department. AP Physics is considered the hardest class at Cosby because of the course load and the topic in general. Trevor Bedsaul, a senior at Cosby, took this class last year as a junior and says, “AP Physics is the hardest AP I’ve had to take because of the amount of dedication it takes, even for people who love math and science. Expect to stay after school and watch lots of videos on your own time to learn all of the confusing material.” So, for students looking to add an AP science class to their schedule, AP Physics has proven very difficult, even for physics enthusiasts.
Another AP science class option is AP Chemistry. Blake Brown, another senior at Cosby, says, “AP Chemistry is a very fun and enjoyable class. However, the content is very difficult if you don’t put in the time and effort. It requires a lot of work and attention.” Many students in AP Chemistry feel that teachers like Mr. Lester, make this a very fun class filled with experiments, fun lectures, and practical science. However, if an individual is not willing to put in the effort to understand the difficult curriculum, this may not be the class for them.
AP Biology is a third AP science option and has not received as much criticism as the others. Alexa Patel who took this class last year as a junior says, “It isn’t that hard because Dr. P is amazing and perfect.” So clearly with the help of Dr. P, it can be a very enjoyable class.
Another AP science that hasn’t proven to be very difficult is AP Environmental Science. This class can be taken as a freshman, so the workload is not as demanding as the others. Students give these four AP science classes very different reviews, but in all, they are taught by an incredible science department with teachers who are willing to help students whenever they need it.
Math has proven to be one of the more difficult subjects for students to grasp in general, so when it comes to scheduling math classes, it can be difficult to pick the right one. There are three main courses that students need clarification to determine just how difficult they are: AP Statistics and the difference between AP Calc AB and AP Calc BC.
AP Statistics is an elective math class that can also be taken in place of another math course. It involves analyzing data and determining the probability of things occurring. Teachers say that this is a much better class to take as a junior because of “senioritis,” and the fact that since it is an elective AP class it will only add to the “disease.” So if someone is looking to take AP Stat, it would be wise to take it as a junior and not a senior, and it would also look better for colleges.
When finishing Trig, the decision comes to either take High School Calculus, AP Calc AB, or AP Calc BC.
Interview with Kate:
The difference between AB and BC; AP Calc BC is often more made up of students who have already taken AB or for students looking to expand their mathematical mind and jump from Trig to BC. Teachers, like Mrs. Mierchuk, often only recommend students to BC if they have maintained an A the entire year in Trig and received an A on every test. Hopping from Trig to BC can be a very difficult transition, and should only be done if the time and effort to succeed are present. Mrs. Mierchuk is the only teacher for BC, and is amazing at making sure her students do not get too stressed or overwhelmed by offering tutorials every Thursday to get extra help.
Now, the differences between AB and BC are few, but hugely distinct. AB covers a certain amount of curriculum, while BC covers that same information, plus much more. It is more fast paced and goes deeper into the problems than AB does. When deciding between the two, having a love for math and the willpower to stay motivated are two keys to success in BC, but the traditional step is to go from Trig to AB. Either way, it is an AP class that could earn college credit and look good on college applications, so both are great options.
Although math and science are generally considered the hardest subjects to receive college credit in, there are also certain individual classes that students find hard here at Cosby. AP Euro is a history elective taken by a select few history lovers. Kate Serrao, senior at Cosby, is taking this class currently and says, “AP Euro is a really hard class, but I took it because I love Mr. Abbott. It’s a lot of work and takes up a lot of time, especially because it’s technically an elective. If you like Mr. Abbott you will (most likely) enjoy the class.” Another class people have found difficult is Human Anatomy, which is often taken by Health Science Specialty Science students. Amanda Weeks, who is looking to become a nurse, says, “Anatomy is a fun class, but it requires a lot of work. If you are not interested in the subject or are just taking the class to get more college credits, anatomy is not the class for you.”
English classes have often been very easy for freshmen and sophomores, but when students begin their Junior and Senior years, the teachers are preparing their pupils for the immense amount of reading and writing they will be doing in college, so that is when APs are offered, and things can become very challenging. As a senior, you can either take College Composition or AP Literature. College Composition is a John Tyler class, so college credit is being earned while taking it, and in AP Lit, college credit is earned if the AP exam is passed, but the classes themselves are in preparation for college the whole year. Deciding which one to take, however, can be difficult. Amanda Weeks, currently taking College Comp said, “College Comp is a difficult class that requires a lot of reading from textbooks outside of class in order to keep up inside the class.” AP Lit also requires a lot of reading and a lot of essays, in-class, and at home. The workload is very demanding and requires full attention. AP Lit tends to be ranked as one of the most demanding classes when it comes to workload.
As a final note, colleges look for a well rounded student who has challenged themselves by taking AP classes, but also taking classes that they were interested in. They especially look for AP math and AP English classes because they prepare the student best for college.