Insider Edition: Are Advanced Placement Courses Really Worth It?

Insider Edition: Are Advanced Placement Courses Really Worth It?

Zoe Long, Co-Editor-In-Chief

As a senior about to leave high school, I can confidently say I have considered and/or taken most of the classes that Winthrop High School has to offer. There is such a large range of teachers and classes at our school that cover all interests. As people enter their sophomore, junior, and senior years, there is the looming thought of Advanced Placement classes. If you do not know what an Advanced Placement course is, it is the highest ranking level class we offer at Winthrop High. It is above CP, Honors, and Advanced and is paced quicker than any other class. A portion of learning the material is put into your hands and the students take a lot of responsibility to keep up with the workload and deeper, extended curriculum. At the end of the school year there is an  “AP Exam” that covers everything you have learned that year. It does not count towards your overall grade in the class. However, if you pass the exam, certain colleges will take your score as college credit and you could skip out on a class during your college education, which could save you a lot of money and time.  It sounds intimidating, and some of these classes definitely are. However, I have taken seven of these types of courses throughout my entire high school career and I can confidently say that some of them were my favorite courses I have ever had . Certain people take 0, others take 4, and some take up to 9. Your decision to take these classes is purely yours. However, sometimes it can be hard to pick and choose which ones to take, when to take them, and if you want to take them at all. That being said, I am going to honestly review and tell you about the Advanced Placement classes I have taken during my four years, as well as talk to people who have taken/are taking the ones I have not. Your education is important and influential. It is important to choose the right classes and opportunities while you are here. So without further ado, here are all about the Advanced Placement courses WHS has to offer:

Advanced Placement Courses I HAVE taken: 

  1. AP Biology  – Offered to 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students – This class was a wonderful introduction to the word of Advanced Placement classes, as I took it in my sophomore year. I definitely suggest taking it in your sophomore year because you have just taken biology the year prior. I took this class mostly over Zoom, so I am sure there have been some changes made to the class now that it is in person and two years have passed. I remember the tests being fairly hard, and certain assignments and projects being time consuming, however if you are committed to learning the material and communicate effectively with Mr. Davis about any concerns or confusion, your grade will not suffer. He is a very effective and passionate teacher. 
  2. AP Environmental Science  – Offered to 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students – I would recommend this class to people who are interested in going into something that has to do with science, the environment, politics, or anything along those lines. The material digs very deep into each aspect of the environment and you cover a lot very quickly. It is a lot to store in your head, which is why I believe it is a class for people who are passionate about the subject. However, learning about climate change and taking care of our world in school was incredibly eye-opening and fascinating. 
  3. AP US History – Offered to 11th and 12th grade students – This class is a commitment, but it is also one of my favorite classes I have taken in all my four years of high school. This is also a class that covers a lot of material very quickly. However, the teaching methods and style were what made it so fun and engaging for me. The teacher, Mr. Leonardo, is so wise and friendly. He integrates debates, games, discussions, interactives, and numerous other activities to help his students learn but also be excited about it. I also enjoyed learning much more deeply about certain topics throughout history that had only been grazed over in previous history classes. You learn a lot of detail in this class and it is very enlightening. 
  4. AP Language and Composition –  Offered to 11th grade students – I recommend this class to everyone. I have never been a huge fan of English. However, this course puts a refreshing spin on the subject matter and makes it a lot more immersive, in my opinion. You get to speak about your opinions, analyze more current material, and strengthen your essay writing skills. The curriculum was so lovely and I can say I enjoyed everything we read or spoke about. Mr. Parsons is so energetic and engaging. 
  5. AP Statistics – Offered to 11th and 12th grade students – This is probably my favorite math class I have ever taken, as well as the one with the most real world applications. I have taken skills from this class and been able to apply them in other classes. It is a perfect option for an AP math class if you are not particularly confident or fond of mathematics. I have had Mr. Davis for the past two years and I love his teaching style. He is very soft spoken and goes through the material very steadily, but also very passionately. I always enjoy seeing teachers that enjoy what they are doing, and he is definitely one of those teachers. 
  6. AP Psychology – Offered to 11th and 12th grade students – I might be biased because psychology is the field that I want to go into and study, but I think this class is so incredible. Learning is already so exciting, but being able to learn about yourself and the way you move through the world is even more fascinating. I have been able to learn so much about myself and the people around me through this class. I also believe that Mr. Dixon is an amazing teacher. He is so funny and his teacher style is unlike any other. I am constantly interested in what he has to say and how in depth we are going to go with each new topic. I recommend this class without hesitation. 
  7. AP Literature and Composition – Offered to 12th grade students  – This class has been a bit scrambled this year as our teacher has been on maternity leave for the first half of the year, and our long-term sub, Miss Feiguine, didn’t join us until a few weeks after Mrs. Indelicato had left. Miss Feiguine has done a wonderful job at teaching us the material and the setup of the upcoming AP Lit exam. I cannot speak on Mrs. Indelicato’s teaching style in this class specifically, but I did have her sophomore year and she was incredible. This class is a lot more analytical than AP Language or any other English class I have taken, but it has already taught me so much. I have become much better at analyzing poetry and short stories, which is overall very rewarding. 
  8. AP Workshop – Offered to anyone taking three or more Advanced Placement courses  – Although most of the faculty are going to disagree with what I am about to say: Taking three APs is absolutely worth the free period. Having this working period during both my junior and senior year has been INCREDIBLY helpful with helping with my complete college applications and regular everyday assignments. It also gives me an opportunity to look over assignments and ask teachers questions, WHILE STILL IN SCHOOL. Also, it is just calming. High school is very chaotic, and having some time to yourself in our beautiful library is more influential than one would think. Obviously, if you feel you are too busy and not equipped to take three Advanced Placement courses, DO NOT DO IT just for a “free period”. However, if you are on the fence and believe you can take on three of these level classes, just know that the AP Workshop is an incredibly nice perk. 


Advanced Placement Courses I HAVE NOT taken: 

  1. AP Chemistry – Offered to 11th and 12th grade students – Delia Parco – “ I would take AP Chemistry if you are interested in chemistry or going into the medical field. It is a very challenging course, but it is also rewarding due to  all the information that you learn. Mr. Lambert does a good job at fully explaining topics and concepts. The labs are very fun and immersive. Mr. Lambert definitely helps to prepare well for our upcoming AP exam. Beware that it is hard to succeed in the class because there is no scaling and you really need to know the material to succeed on tests and exams.”
  2. AP Calculus – Offered to 12th grade students –  Libby Carney – “AP Calculus has a lot of Khan Academy. It is very time consuming and I would truthfully not recommend it, unless you are really passionate about math or learning more material for college. If you are not willing to put in the effort, do not take it. Many people are most likely going to be required to take Calculus in college, so taking it now will save a lot of time and money in college, assuming you pass the exam. The teacher, Mr Beck, is very willing to help students after school and help your grade if you are trying very hard in the class.” 
  3. AP Physics – Offered to 12th grade students  – Jenny Delehanty  – “AP Physics is a very challenging course, but it will definitely prepare science based students for the types of classes they will attend in college. Personally, I have had to put a ton of effort into working towards an A in the class, and it is one of the hardest sciences to understand in my opinion. I definitely think that if you are not willing to put in the extra work and time, this is not the class for you.” 
  4. AP Computer Science – Offered to 11th and 12th grade students  – Hanna Essaouabi – “AP Computer Science is a very rewarding course, but it is an independent study which means you will have to really understand the material to do well. Mr. Beck is always there to help you, but it is an individual-driven class and it is your responsibility to understand the course curriculum. It is self-paced, which means Mr. Beck gives no penalty for late work, but speaking from personal experience do not put off the vast majority of your assignments towards the end of the quarter. You are given benchmarks to meet each quarter and if you fail to make them they will affect your grade. I highly recommend taking Honors Computer Science before to get a feel for CODEHS. I also recommend the class if you have some previous coding experience. If you are interested in Computer Science, Bioinformatics, Engineering, and Tech, I would recommend this course but honors and cp computer science will expose you to more code languages than AP.” 


I sincerely apologize if I missed or forgot any of the Advanced Placement courses we have to offer at Winthrop High. I hope this article helped some freshman, sophomores, and juniors decide whether or not to take advanced placement courses, and if so which ones to take. More information on each of these courses can be found on our school website, or by inquiring with a teacher or staff member. Thank you for reading, and remember to enrich yourself and fill these four years based on how you want to learn and grow!