By Emma Purce
Q: I’m not sure how many AP classes I should take. How do I know what’s best for me?
A: This is a question most, if not all, students at MPH find themselves asking. Advanced Placement classes are an integral part of the MPH community, and often define academic life here. Most students take at least one AP class throughout their time in Upper School, and oftentimes students will take multiple.
While I may not know who you are, what kind of student you are or how you deal with stress and pressure, I do know the atmosphere at MPH, and because of that you should take every. Single. AP. Possible. If you’re a freshman, start off easy with AP Biology the same year you take AP Chemistry. Don’t forget to include an extra AP, maybe one not directly offered by MPH, such as Psychology. By junior year I would expect you to have moved on to AP Physics and AP Calculus AB. Obviously, this means that your senior year will be brimming with AP classes, including the next level of calculus and every language offered by MPH, and any others that you can independently study in your nonexistent free time. By the time you graduate, you’ll be well prepared for your moving onto college.
If you’re looking over potential AP classes with your parents and Advisor and don’t see any that you think you’ll find interesting and do well in, you’re wrong. If you haven’t found an AP to take then you haven’t looked hard enough. There are almost 40 AP courses offered by The College Board, so there are obviously enough classes for you to take one in each block of every year, as well as independently study the rest.
Of course, in reality, not all people are “AP people.” Not all students learn best with the pressure of a large test in May. If you understand that you don’t learn best in this type of stressful and advanced learning environment, don’t force yourself to load up on AP classes. If you’re contemplating taking an AP class but aren’t sure if you’ll do well, be sure to talk to your parents, teachers and Advisor. Reflect on how you’ve been doing in your current classes, and if you think you would succeed in the advanced setting of the AP class. You are by no means required to take an AP course, so don’t force yourself into taking a class you aren’t sure about.