Are AP Classes Right For You?


Maggie Rowton

Xan Copper (11) collects data for a lab experiment in Mrs. Barrow’s 7th hour AP Physics class.

Maggie Rowton

With three weeks of school finished already, most students have gotten a feel for what their classes are like. Those taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes may have noticed that the workload is significantly harder than what they receive in honors or traditional classes. AP classes have many benefits for some students, however, these courses are not for everyone. If you’re wondering if you should sign up for AP classes next year, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are you trying to boost your GPA? Unlike traditional and honors classes, which are graded on a 4.0 scale, AP classes are weighted and graded on a 5.0 scale. A traditional A is equivalent to a 4.0, but an A in an AP class factors into your GPA as a 5.0. If you receive a B, 3.0, your grade will be weighted and become a 4.0.
  2. Do you want to start preparing for college? AP classes introduce you to college-level coursework while you’re still in high school. If you pass the AP exam at the end of the school year with a score of 3 or higher, some colleges will grant credit for that course.
  3. Is there a class where you can study what you love? Paducah Tilghman has tons of AP classes to choose from, so you have the opportunity to take AP classes that suit your strengths. If you love foreign languages, you could take AP French or AP Spanish. If you excel in history, you could take AP US History or AP World History. If arts and humanities is your strength, you could take AP Art or AP Music Theory.
  4. How much stress can you handle? AP classes require lots of work outside of school, so you’ll have to have good time management skills. This may be particularly difficult if you’re involved in lots of extracurricular activities and sports.  Sophomore, Erica Wurth, is currently taking a double block class, that includes AP World History and Pre-AP Literature. She is also a current member of the varsity girls soccer team, choir, interact club, pep club, FBLA, beta club, and student council. This is her second year taking AP classes and she says “I think if you manage your time correctly and work at getting your homework done, then they’re very manageable.”

Ultimately, if you’re trying to decide whether or not you should take AP classes, think about what your goals are and if you think AP classes would benefit you. You should never feel pressured to take AP classes if you think you’re not ready. If you sign up and then decide you’re not up for it, you can always talk to your guidance counselor and request a schedule change.