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How to Succeed in AP Classes

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How to Succeed in AP Classes

Maddie Pfeifer, Staff Reporter

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With forecasting coming up, the idea of AP classes can seem daunting to many. Considering all of the work and time you have to spend when in these classes, it may seem nearly impossible to succeed.

Last year around this time, I made the decision to forecast for three advanced placement classes—AP English III, AP US History, and AP Calculus AB. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, and, looking back on it now,  I guess my expectations were both proven right and wrong.

Going into AP English, I was told very few walked away with an A. I was told APUSH was a ton of work, and I heard that Calculus was just plain hard. While my workload has definitely increased this year as a result of my AP classes, I have found the work manageable.

These classes have challenged me, but they have pushed me to become better and I have managed to still keep a GPA over a 4.0 and I would like to share some of my own personal tips for those of you currently in AP classes or planning to forecast for them.

  1. Be ready to put in the work

I’m not going to lie—it is a lot of work. You need to be willing to work hard to get good grades. If you have never taken an AP class, you might not be used to the workload or just how hard you have to work and I know it may at first seem like you are totally unprepared. If you have developed good habits as a student though, you can definitely handle it.

  1. Get help when you need it

This is hugely important. In the past, I have never really had to go in for extra help or talk to my teachers after school, but this year I have needed to on multiple occasions. This was extremely hard for me to do seeing as I am always very motivated to figure out how to do my homework on my own, but I have realized that this is a necessity. I advise you to go and talk to your teachers when you need help—they are almost always willing to stay with you and help you understand and this will never hurt.

  1. Take breaks when you need it

This is another thing I have realized is critical when taking AP classes. The constant stress and pressure the classes put on you can seem unbearable at points, but that’s why you need to take breaks. Your mind deserves a rest every once in awhile and it’ll only make you feel better and calmer and more ready to finish your work when you’re ready to start again.

  1. Do things to destress

People say it all the time—exercise relieves stress—because it’s true. Exercise is one way that I deal with my stress and I find it incredibly helpful. Doing a sport, although it is time consuming, can be a great way to distract yourself from your schoolwork for a little while. If you aren’t super active, do something else that destresses you—whether it be taking a shower, listening to music, or drinking tea, just doing something that calms you down is really useful.

  1. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a highly stressed out person as a result of the pressure and expectations I put on myself—and that’s why I’m telling you from experience that this is not a good way to live. Your grades may seem like the most important thing in your life at the moment—and don’t get me wrong, they are important—but you don’t need to freak out about them. If you work hard and do your best, that is all you can really ask for.

***

Making the choice to take an AP class can be a very important and difficult decision, but if you understand what you are getting yourself into, then you can definitely manage the work. My advice is to not be afraid to challenge yourself when forecasting this year, but remember to take breaks and relieve your stress so next year can be the best it can be. My AP classes this year have been a lot of work, but I’m glad I made the decision to challenge myself. I know that in the end, my hard work will pay off for the future and that’s why I’m glad I took three AP classes this year.

Creative Commons photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/scubasteveo/296747958

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About the Writer
Maddie Pfeifer, Editor

Maddie Pfeifer is a senior this year at La Salle. She enjoys soccer and track and is also involved in many clubs at La Salle. She plans on majoring in...

2 Comments

2 Responses to “How to Succeed in AP Classes”

  1. Matthew Williams on March 10th, 2016 10:35 pm

    Being a senior now, and having taken no fewer than 4 AP/honors courses per year since my sophmore year, I cannot emphasize enough how true the advice given in this article is. As Maddie mentions, AP classes tend to have a connotation of being extra hard, extra work, and often more pain than they are worth. Though I am not going to deny that they are hard work, I believe that the right combination of grit and good decision making (such as the decisions outlined above) can make anyone suceed in them. Also to remember is that AP classes include college level content, so getting a lower grade in an AP class than you got in a regular course in the same subject area that you took prior to it does not mean that you are a failure. Especially if you have not taken an AP course yet in your time at LaSalle, colleges will look favorably upon you for challenging yourself with an AP courseload, even if it does equivocate to a lower grade. I would encourage everyone to try to take at least one AP course during his or her time at LaSalle, and follow the advice given above, even if you do not take an AP course.

  2. Mr. De Ieso on March 11th, 2016 7:04 am

    Maddie

    Great insight. I would hope anyone considering an AP class will read your article.

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