By Sherry Fung’15 and Amy Feng’15
Fear takes over in May for one week because the Advanced Placement exams will have arrived. Most teachers, assistant principals, and guidance counselors tell students the number of APs they should take depends on the college, what you want to be or how much you can handle.
According to The Washington Post, AP Courses: How many do colleges want?, students should take, as freshmen, zero APs, as sophomores up to one, as juniors up to three and as seniors up to four.
Colleges look at the availability of the APs you can take in your school. If your school has more APs available for you to take than another student in another school, then you are expected to take more APs.
Midwood has a total of 17 AP courses.
“Physics is one of those courses that often separates students in college,” said Dr. Stephen Riemersma, AP Physics C teacher. “It is a very depending course.”
Physics C is a single period AP; you can only take it if you have completed regents level physics. Physics B is a double period class, where a student must take both the physics regents and AP Physics B exam. Another AP in science, which is a single period course, is AP Environmental Science.
“It will help with college readiness and credit,” said Mr. Lawrence Kolotkin, AP Environmental Science teacher. They’re able to experience college work at a high school level and able to get credit for their college in the future.”
Mr. Cameron Jahn, one of the two AP Chemistry teachers, stated, “If you like chemistry, it will be a great class for you, but if you don’t like chemistry, it is going to be difficult.”
“AP Biology is like regents biology on steroids,” said Ms. Ross.
English, there is only AP English Literature and Composition for seniors, taught by Mr. Peter Vilbig, offered.
Alex Ryshina’14, who has taken AP U.S. History, AP Government and Economics and AP English, said, “I would say AP English is the hardest AP I’ve taken. I’ve learned there are multiple ways to interpret writing and there is so much meaning to words that we may have never noticed before.”
Mr. Vilbig said, “By the time they›re done, they›re literally reading and writing at a different level, at college level. And of course that›s great because when they get into college, college won›t be quite a shock as it can be for some kids.”
In terms of foreign language, the school offers AP Spanish Language and Culture for those who have finished the LOTE, Languages Other Than English. It is taught by Dr. Rafael Rodriguez, who has taught the course for three years running.
“It’s difficult. Many of my students are English dominant,” said Dr. Rodriguez. “I try to develop their skills, writing and speaking abilities, in which they›re not too competent, and help them express themselves in that context.”
our school provides three of the four APs; the school has AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics and AP Calculus AB. The school does not give the students the opportunity to take AP Computer Science A.
“If you’re in med-sci or planning to major in math and science, you most likely go with BC Calculus,” said Ms. Patrica Lazo, assistant principal of mathematics. “However, BC Calculus is only offered to those that have been through the honor track the whole way through.”
. John Caldwell, AP Statistics teacher, said, “Statistics is one of the most practical courses, not just in math courses.”
Any student who has completed the final semester of Algebra 2/Trigonometry is eligible to take AP Statistics. The course typically consists of half juniors and half seniors.
Copeland, AP Calculus AB teacher, said, “We do not have time to review much, so you’ll be expected to just know and use math topics you›ve learned before, such as factoring. It is a yearlong commitment, one period first semester, double period second semester.”
In history and social science, Midwood has AP United States History, AP European History, AP World History, AP United States Government and Politics, AP Economics-Microeconomics, AP Psychology and AP Human Geography.
While juniors mainly take AP U.S. History, sophomores can take AP European History with Mr. John S. White.
While taking AP Euro, Sana Ilyas’16 said, “I don›t think the content will benefit me, but the study habits I have developed definitely will.”
“They need to know it is not easy,” said Mr. White. “The problem in high school is there is a push for APs, but most students when they are 15 aren’t ready for AP style classroom work.”
There is also AP World History, which is a two year course. Freshmen are placed into AP World History based on their middle school history grades and continue on until sophomore year.
“We read scholarly articles, primary source documents, analyze historical interpretations of events and conflictAnticipation
Builds as AP Examinations Draw Closer
ing historical interpretations and primary documents,” said Ms. Margaret Murphy, AP World teacher. “There is a lot of high level content that is associated with it. It is not just taking notes.”
AP Government and Economics is taught by Mr. Bret Cohen. The first semester will be AP Government and then the next semester will be AP Economics.
“The AP class isn’t hard as long as you are willing to put some effort in,” said Mr. Cohen. “It’s all a question on what the student wants to do; it is mostly common sense.”
Psychology is another single period AP class available to juniors and seniors in subject of social science.
“It is one of the easier courses, if a student is about to keep up and study on their own,” said Ms. Gloria Aklipi, AP Psychology teacher. “There is a lot of memorization and terms to remember, but when it comes to the concept they understand it well because they can apply it to their daily lives.”
AP classes give you a 1.1 curve on your average. For example, if you get a 90 in an AP class, you multiply that by 1.1 and it becomes a 99. That is your weighted grade in the class, so when you calculate your overall average for that quarter you will use the 99 not the 90, even though, it will appear a 90 on your transcript. If the AP, you are taking is a double period class, it is counted as two grades.
“Colleges don’t see your exam grades until after you’re admitted; at that point you’re either getting the credit or not,” said Ms. Lorrie Director, a college counselor in room A115. “AP exams are not a factor in admission to colleges. The course grade affects your grade point average, the exam doesn’t. All the exam does is give college credits.”
“It’s not bad to take no APs, just keep in mind that the colleges like to see a student that challenges him or herself,’ said Ms. Director.
Taking AP courses can save you money if the college you choose accepts your grade on the AP exam; however, depending on the college you might still have to retake the class even if you receive a five. Just because you have taken AP English and received a passing grade on the exam does not mean you are free from taking English in college.
Colleges like Columbia University in the City of New York require a five on the AP exam in Biology, English, U.S. History, European History, Spanish and Statistics to get three advanced credits for college. Harvard University gives no credits for advance standings in Human Geography and Government and Politics. Harvard, for the most part, only accepts a five on some of the AP exams to receive one full credit or half a credit, depending on the course. In Stony Brook of New York at Stony Brook, you will receive two credits at least for getting a three on an AP exam. Every college has their views on AP classes; it is advised by guidance counselors to check out the colleges websites to see what can be of best use to you.
“You shouldn’t constantly pass up going to the movies with your friends because you are so overwhelmed with work from your APs,” said Ms. Director. “You need time to be a teenager and enjoy life”
By Sherry Fung’15 and Amy Feng’15