Something to Think About: Advanced Pressure

As journalists, part of our job is to question everything that is around us. Why is it this way? Why do things that way? What does this mean when...? How do I know this to be true? You get the idea. 

Another part of the job is to present all sides of a story, not just the side that everyone agrees to be Truth. We listen to the dissenting voices and present the evidence to our audience.

This Opinion piece from the NY Times, filmed here in the Bay Area, flies in the face of what we "know to be true" here at HHS. Watch it. Think about it. Leave a comment telling us your thoughts on the Advanced Placement culture. Is it worth it? Do the dissenting voices have a point? If so, what is it? What is your biggest take-away (the think you'll think about) from this story? Read the comments of your classmates as well. They will have something to say.

The video is about five minutes long. Watch it, ponder it, leave a comment on this blog post. This assignment is due no later than end of lunch on Wednesday, January 27, 2010.

66 comments:

Savanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Savanna said...

There is no real point in taking an AP course if the reason is to learn more and remember everything that was taught. However, I take AP courses because it is with high class students who challenge me to do my best so I do not fall behind. I do not take AP courses to pass the test at the end of the year, that is way too stressful and expensive to think about. The reason I have taken AP courses is to have classes with my friends as well as push myself to do my best. AP classes stress me out just as much as any other class does. The students on the video are probably over achievers who stress out about getting a B instead of an A.

Melissa said...

There is no way anyone could remember the information that is taught in an AP class let alone a regular class of the same subject. Most students take AP classes to boost their GPA and to impress colleges, but like it was stated in the video, students should take classes because thy enjoy them not because they want to impress colleges. Then again students who excessively stress about Ap classes work too hard. I'm not saying not to try hard and do the best that you can do, but you shouldn't stress out about AP classes when your only taking them because someone else told you to.

Andrew said...

This video really makes people think because this is something that is happening to us as srudents. To be honest, ap classes give us a chance to see what is going to happen when we go to college. This is just one of those things that if you put the work in now, it will pay off later. Though people think that "its stressful" or "I'm tired of this class," They need to remember that no one forced them to take the class and that is the reason why they are stressful. Though one can try to say "i was pressured into it" or that "I need it to look good in my transcript," this is simply the cost to get into the best college you can get into.

colby said...

People these days don't simply take the AP classes because they enjoy the subject but instead take them to boost their GPA to look presentable to colleges and universities. It has become more of a competition with the amount of AP classes taken rather than which ones are taken due to self interest. There are people taking 5 or 6 AP classes at a time and all it does is kill sleeping time, provide stress, and make everyone a jackass because their so irritable. Even though the society has come to this, it doesn't stop people from continuing the trend and it won't stop so long as competition for college admissions stay as they are now.

lexxa said...

I take an advanced/Pre-AP English class and I wanted to take it because I wanted to challenge myself and once I got in there, I enjoyed it. I've also gone to a school in the Acalanes School District, like in the video when they went to Lafayette. I know AP classes are hard and they do stress students out, and from watching the video I feel in the middle about taking AP courses now, because why take it if eventually it's not going to benefit me in the long run ? I think you should only take the challenging classes if you want to be challenged yourself, rather than letting someone tell you to literally stress yourself out.

Leah said...

As getting into college becomes increasingly difficult, more and more students are pushing themselves to take as many AP classes as possible. AP classes can raise students' GPAs and if they score high on the exam, these classes will be counted for college credit. Regardless of the content of the course, students are in a frenzy to enroll in as many AP classes as possible, though it should not be like this. Students should be able to take classes that they enjoy, and not feel pressured to take other AP classes just to look better to colleges.

Charles said...

AP courses provides a more advance kind of material. If you are a faster learner, AP courses is the way to go. Although it is hard to remember information that has been taught by an AP teacher, it still benefits one mentally. AP courses strengthens student brains by exercising a constant, fast paced kind of education.

Jackie Cuevas said...

I think the video brought up many good points about the AP system. However, it did not really provide me with information I do not already know. Is it worth it? It all depends on the student. It is worth it for the student who wants to challenge him or herself, and who wants to get a jump start on college-level courses. It is not worth it for someone who is incredibly stressed by AP classes but does it only because all the other students are taking them to get ahead. I don't think a student should force him or herself to take AP classes. If he or she wants to get ahead, he or she should take AP classes, but not at the cost of his or her health. One of the interviewees suggested creating an entirely different program, but I do not forsee a great difference by it. It would be only beneficial if the program allowed the students to study thoroughly, rather than rush through all the information.

Cathie said...

AP Classes today are used to impress colleges.
There's like a competition to see how can take the most AP classes, pass them to get the highest GPA.

But do these students who take an overflow of AP and Honors classes even enjoy the material? Will the material even stick?

I took APWH last year to get the "feel" of being in a college course, and to challenge myself.
I'd rather have myself surrounded by students who want to learn rather than students who just want to get high and graduate doing the minimum.

Crystal said...

Ap Classes have now become a new fad. It is normal for people to take a large amount of AP classes. It is EXPECTED of students to take AP classes. Most students take AP classes not because they enjoy the subject, but because it cheats the system by giving that extra point in students gpa. With colleges always advocating and pushing for students who take more AP classes, that concept is imprinted into the mind state of students. Students now are struggling to take as much AP classes as they possibly can. AP classes takes a toll on students - both physically and mentally, yet it is not without results. The reason behind AP testing is to prepare students for college level schooling. Honestly, AP classes do in fact - to some extent - help prepare students for college. While some people may complain about the heavy work load of high school AP classes, imagine college itself. College classes are the real thing - the cold-hearted real deal. College classes are much more difficult then its amateur counterpart. If students are complaining about the impossible work load of high school, then college is truly going to be hell for them.

Louisa said...

Although AP classes are a benefit to students as they really challenge them in their academics and offer a type of learning different from the basic college preparation classes, I must agree with the students in the video - AP classes are awfully stressful. They are detrimental to the well being of students and many students push themselves that far just to earn a score of a 4 or a 5 on the AP test and to boost their GPAs. A 4 or a 5, however, are difficult to achieve for most students. Why don't students take the AP class just for the college experience? AP classes are designed to mirror classes in college. I believe that students should reevaluate why they take AP classes and see if it really is all worth the body-aching stress, sleepless nights, and endless multi-tasking job of focusing ample attention to several challenging subjects at a time.

Stephanie said...

I agree with the video because I empathize with those students. I have 4 AP courses (now 3 because we've switched to econ), 1 honors course, and 2 regular courses. I never - NEVER - sleep before 12 a.m. It has taken a clear toll on both my physical and mental health. Yes, I take AP classes to challenge myself and to learn more than I would in a regular course, but what's the use if there's no time to go in depth - if there's no time to explore the raw and beautiful concepts of chemistry, literature, government? Sometimes I don't even understand why there's an AP system. I mean, if we're going to have college-level courses in high school, we might as well call high school college.

- SNy

Courtney Mariano said...

It has been an increasing trend for students to try and take as many AP courses as possible in order to boost their GPAs and impress colleges. Although I believe the AP classes are needed in order to motivate students to challenge themselves in high school, I wish people would think about why they chose to take certain classes. Is it because they have a real interest in the learning the material or is it to keep up with other students? I wish I could say that all students take AP classes because they have a real interest in the subject, but of course this is not true for most cases. The competitive nature of students to get ahead and attend the most prestigious colleges forces students to take as many AP courses as they can. This causes some to simply remember the material and not actually absorb it.

Patrick Li said...

In my opinion, AP classes are only to increase your GPA. Who the heck is going to remember all the information that is given in the class? Look at Mr. Hickok's class, there are over 1000 years of freaken history and it is almost impossible to memorize it all in the time given. AP classes are only to raise the GPA. If someone wants to raise their GPA, take the easier AP classes, not the extremely hard ones where someone doesn't remember anything.

Darlena said...

I completely agree with this video. Students taking AP Classes just for the weighted GPA should consider what they're actually gaining (or losing) from them. The I take certain classes because they're what I'm interested in. One exception being APUSH, I only took it because people have told me that regular US is not worth it and that I mind as well take AP. Anyway, students should realize that an impressive GPA is not the only thing colleges are looking for.

Donovan said...

Im sorry, but I think AP classes are stupid. Although I am in a lot of them, I only do it for the GPA. I dont really feel challenged in any of them. I believe that students in regular classes do more work and learn more than AP students. I have not retained any information from my AP classes. Everyone says that they take AP classes to challenege themselves, but are the classes really challenging...naw..it's just all busy work. People often judge me for taking AP classes but why not? I get an extra point on my gpa, do projects, and only at the expense of a little extra work, I'll take that any day. The hardest part of AP courses for me, is the summer assignment and thats only because I'm just to lazy in the summer. So yea, this is just my opinion

athena said...

It is the student's choice to take an AP class. Most aren't able to take the pressure because they only look at the benefits when taking an AP class into consideration. These students do talk about the admission process and how it is also important for college but it was their choice. Colleges don't disregard what classes a student takes but since the competition has increased and the number of students taking AP classes has increased as well, colleges are starting to overlook passing AP scores and not eliminating the class when the student does get to college. I don't think this is fair . Sure you'll have more students taking the test and maybe passing but that is the original reason for AP so a student can take a college level class in high school so they will not have to take it in college. A lot of it does depend on the school as well. If a school is academically competitive, there is a lot of pressure from your school and peers to do well, but in the end it is still the student's choice.

Stacy Chan said...

I strongly believe high school students should take Advanced Placement courses because of their interest in learning more about the particular subjects.

But so what? Our academic culture lays on the notion that the more people challenge themselves, the stronger applicants they are in terms of being admitted to top colleges.

Until the academic culture and the expectations of students shift, expect to see more students inundating themselves with extensive assignments, tests and projects.

Indep_Elim_Y said...

AP classes reall are stressful. Being an AP student,it has taken its toll on me. However,"no pain, no gain." I suggest one should take AP classes only if they feel they can tackle it. I have two different sides. One side is that as a teenager, I want to be able to enjoy my youthfulness. I don't want to spend my entire day doing work. at the same time, I want to work hard as to go to college to g ive me a better chance to become successful in life. AP classes are just to prepare students for those who wish to go to college. having three brothers in college, each has said that AP classes help, except college classes make AP classes look like a cinch. that scares me, but it motivates me to take 'em, so I can get a little practice in before I go off to a college. I may dislike the workload AP classes have, but I'm sure that, in the end, it'll be all worth it. Even if I don't get into college, at least I would have a basis of some knowledge.

Joyce said...

I found this video commentary to be outstanding. In my opinion, it is 100% accurate. The teacher said,
"I'm sacrificing quality of content for quantity of content." which is true. I do feel that many students see AP courses as a badge of honor. I also believe students who collect these "badges" should realize that impressing a college or whoever should mean sacrificing your health.

Joyce said...

I found this video commentary to be outstanding. In my opinion, it is 100% accurate. The teacher said,
"I'm sacrificing quality of content for quantity of content." which is true. I do feel that many students see AP courses as a badge of honor. I also believe students who collect these "badges" should realize that impressing a college or whoever should mean sacrificing your health.

simaran said...

As a student taking ap classes, I have myself sometimes come across this issue. AP classes are there to increase your knowledge, but along with it, they increase stress. Students do not need to take in extra stress, especially because most have other problems they face. Students should take ap classes to help them gain more understanding, but they should take their health into account also. It is not good to over stress when it comes to AP classes. And if they only want to take the ap classes to boost their GPA, then they really shouldn't be taking the course. And just because someone takes 4 or 5 ap classes does not necessarily mean that person will get accepted to the college they desire to attend. Colleges look at everything when it comes to choosing who to let enroll, so the students who only take to the class because of GPA are wasting their time.

Kimmy said...

Student these days tend to take AP classes not for the challenge, but for the boost of a high GPA. They also take it because colleges have a tendency to look at how many AP classes students are taking and how many are offered at their school. The video provided obvious information, but also made new points. It is up to a student to depend on whether or not AP classes are worth it. If it makes a person have lack of sleep, or become unhealthy, it is completely unnecessary to take that course. Students are very aware of the fact that getting into college is getting more difficult, but if taking an AP course means having one hour of sleep everyday, students should drop that course.

ChristianArn said...

"I don't need to take 5 AP classes. I'm gonna take AP English because I really enjoy literature and that's the real reason why I'm taking it, not because I want to boost my GPA," Jay Chugh, the Acalanes High School AP Biology instructor, wisely stated. The AP programs were not created to boost GPAs, but to quench students' thirst for knowledge. A student should not be taking AP classes if they do not possess the passion for the subject. The only students that are "stressed out" are the ones who enroll in an AP class just to get the extra GPA point. Although AP classes do not go into detail, a student is able to recieve as much information as the instructor is capable of teaching. AP classes were meant for students who are dedicated and serious about academics, not for a pretty little star on their transcripts.

Haley K. said...

After falling asleep on my laptop at 10 o'clock trying to study APUSH one night, I thought to myself, why am I even taking this class? Again and again, I ask myself WHY? If my passion is to pursue a career in the culinary industry, why am I even taking all these Honor and AP courses? First off, I do it for the extra GPA point. That's definately a bonus. Second of all, I take AP classes because the majority of my friends reside in those classrooms. After being in regular classes in 7th grade I felt it was my responsibility to work at my full potential, and I just wasn't doing that in regular courses. Finally, I take certain APs for the actual course. Although most classes neglect to pique my interest, there are a selected few that I genuily like. Nonetheless, there is an unglamorous side. Content is not thoroughly covered, hand cramps are constant, and sleep sometimes seems nonexistent. It's an unfortunate situation, but students must realize it is their decision to join classes such as these.

Carla said...

My first thought on the video was: "Finally, teachers and college admission officers admitting that the AP course has gone off track." I do get tired of hearing the same story over and over again, which is "I'm going to take more AP courses than you, so that I have a better chance in getting admitted to my dream college!" This is not the point. AP courses were initially set up so that it may prepare high school students for real world college work. It was meant to challenge the students into tackling college level coursework and overcoming it with dilligence and effort. It wasn't meant to be a game of who had more and who had less. As stated in the video, the only real reason students take on these difficult courses is for the GPA boost. In fact, from a personal point of view, from all the AP classes that I have taken, I don't think I can remember a single topic with detailed information and facts. It's hard to retain such information, and it's unfair that this is what colleges indoctrinate high school students with. Personally, I only take AP classes that I enjoy. It's simply not rational to kill yourself with 5 AP classes for a .5 or .6 higher GPA. It is senseless to sacrifice all your free time over courses that a majority of AP students dislike. The AP madness has got to stop.

Terilyn said...

I keep finding myself wondering why we're spending 4 years of our precious adolescent lives just to prepare for another 4 years of life. It doesn't make sense. AP classes are supposed to prepare students for college classes, right? If students are planning on going to college anyways, what's the point of taking college-level courses if we're eventually going to get there anyway? What about high school classes? Every time I think this, however, I feel like a complete hypocrite. I am, after all, one of those people. I'm taking 4 AP classes this year. Why? The first reason, I guess, has to do with setting up a challenge for myself. I wanted to take the hardest classes offered because I simply wanted to see if I could do it. While that might not be the greatest mindset, it sure is better than my second reason: a boosted GPA. But do I want to learn, too? Yes of course. I actually wish we had a no-grading system. That way, school would truly be learning-oriented; oh, how wonderful that would be! Learning for the sake of learning. However, that's not going to happen anytime soon, so I'm trying to work with what I've got- which is this grades and GPA nonsense. I also feel as if regular classes would bore me. In the end though, I have decided that I am definitely reconsidering all of this when we choose classes for next year. This video didn't have anything to do with that decision, but made me confirm this decision to myself a bit. Like some people already said, this video didn't really tell me anything new.

Jennifer D said...

Students either take AP courses because they want to boost their GPA and increase their chances of getting into a college, or because everyone else seems to be taking those courses too. With these courses, it will be taught as a college class; at a faster pace than normal courses. Moving at a faster pace to finish the work and get an A in the course is pointless if all the material is forgotten in the end. It's definitely not worth it--from losing hours of sleep and stressing about the subject.

Unless the student has the motivation and determination to take an AP class, they shouldn't try it if they don't think they'll manage. But it is definitely a great opportunity to see how college is, and the challenge.

Banpreet said...

Students these day are taking AP classes in order to make their way to college more easier and to boost their GPA. However, as stated in the video one should take AP classes for the enjoyment of further knowledge on the subject and not impress a college. Taking AP classes reduces sleeping time, work time and adds on stress at a younga age. Students should not stress about theses classes but relax and try their best. Im not saying that one should completely give up but one should do enough to get a good grade and not stress bout it. :)

Michael said...

Sure, teachers and counselors, even deans of college admissions suggest taking AP classes to waiver "unnecessary" classes in college. But what's the point if you won't remember what you've learned? Take, for example, AP US History. I got through the course, took the AP exam, got a 4, and immediately reformatted my brain of all things US history. Goodbye John Brown, Henry Kissinger, and Sitting Bull. So with a 4, I may be able to waiver history credits in college, but I won't know anything. Wait.. I'm NOT interested in history, and I have no intentions of pursuing history in college. Then why take the course?

For some, it's to stay away from those indolent classmates that scrape a C in regular classes. For others, it's merely a challenge-- doing average just isn't good enough. The rest of us? We want those perfect grades-- the perfect GPA-- to fabricate our college applications. Unfortunately, most of us fall under this category.

However, suggesting a remedy for this is almost ludicrous. If it will get them into college, students will twist all possible efforts to satisfy requirements. But getting rid of the AP system is just as ludicrous. What we need is a system that doesn't provoke highly competitive kids into risking their health to look even more competitive. It appears, after reconsidering that last statement, that we are going to have to ponder this problem just a tad bit longer.

Teresa-Mae said...

AP classes are worth it, but only to an extent: they provide rigor that apparently mirrors that of actual college courses. The actual exams, however, are not worth it. Transforming from a program that was supposed to help students to "jumpstart on college courses" to a program that now fails to offer what it promises renders it clear that the AP Program is simply a money-hungry enterprise that feeds on the stress (and money) of students. The dissenting voices do have a point and that is that the AP program essentially serves no benefit, and only causes stress and pressure that inhibits student performance. The biggest take-away for me was the suggestion that the AP program should be eliminated with the establishment of a course to prepare students for the college level experience.

Stephanie said...

Taking Advanced Placement courses comes with Advanced Pressure.

Why? Because AP courses are designed to challenge a particular topic of studies and expand a student's learning experience. AP courses are demanding, rigorous, and require time and self-drive. All these factors pay off through transcripts, grade point averages, and ultimately, choice of college. AP courses have become part of modern day culture. Students take these courses for various reasons, but all students take on this challenge in order to prepare for their future.

Chris Mendoza said...

The Advance Placement program only succeeds if there is a leading teacher, great curriculum, but ultimately, a prepared student up to the challenge. The current system initiated as a fine opportunity that prepares high school students for college, and i applaud this attempt because schools and teachers should help their students in anyway to fit the college academic lifestyle. However, in agreement with the individuals in the Op-ed video, AP classes are being emphasized too much as the only route to college, and this in turn puts additional stress on a student. The best way a student to learn is if they genuinely want to learn, and that is how i try to view my classes so that mentally i am healthy instead of being beaten down by the fact that i have "too much homework" or rumors that i cant succeed in life if i don't complete the AP class. Life is a learning experience, a process, and is not an experience to learn in quick periods. My biggest take-away is the negative health effects, because school is supposed to a positive atmosphere, not a living hell.

Giselle said...

I agree with everything the video is saying about AP courses. Students begin to stack up on these classes only to boost their GPAs and have a more legit chance of getting into the college of their choice. The AP classes that I’ve taken have mostly been about quantity instead of quality, and I too often found myself staying up late and stressing over tests and assignments. However, regardless of the negative impacts AP courses can have, they are still nonetheless what colleges look for when accepting students. Therefore, I say do what you got to do to get where you want to get. Examine yourself and your goals. If sacrificing your health is really ultimately necessary for you to reach your fullest potential, then go for it. However, it’s always important to realize that there's only one life a person can live, and if your head is always in the books you'll never be able to see the beauty of the world.

Chris Habash said...

That high school kids can fully absorb and understand up to 6 subject matters, let alone college-level ones, is utterly ridiculous. I thought that AP classes were meant for those who really loved that subject matter and wanted to challenge themselves. But, with the taut academic competition, who can really blame high school kids for taking advantage of the AP system and abusing it? If it's there and it can enhance one's resume, why not take advantage of it? But, undeniably, it is impossible for AP students to retain all that information, no matter how intelligent or ambitious they are. If what the video has shown is what the AP system is doing to poor, insomniac students, it should definitely be abolished, and I'm not just saying that. It would be the best thing for EVERYONE

Wai Hin said...

Actually, I think taking AP classes is not a bad thing, because it helps students to learn more thing and I think AP classes is like a simulated job. In the video, there is a student said, she had taken a lot of AP classes, that made her couldn’t sleep well, so she drop it. But think deeply, when she is old enough to work, work until 12 o’clock is a quite a normal thing. She can’t say that she wants to quit her job because she doesn’t have enough time to sleep? I think that is not a good reason for her. Besides, I think AP classes are the classes that can let students know which subjects they aren't good at, because it is so easy for students to get A in some classes, taking AP classes can let student know which subjects they are weak at. They can learn from it and finally they will improved.

Joseph said...

There are some AP courses that are worth taking and some that are not. The classes that are worth taking are AP courses that others have enjoyed from past experience. Other than taking the class for entertainment, it is for that wonderful GPA boost. The courses that are just plain difficult and students gain nothing from are just unnecessary to take, but as a typical Asian, I take these classes pretty much for fun. The voices from the video do have a point, but i think they are just being unproductive with homework when they say they stay up til 3 a.m. These courses do not take anything from me, I don't think classes can steal from people.

Julia Maniquiz! said...

Although the AP system may be flawed, it still serves a great purpose: it demonstrates to colleges which students are willing to push themselves to succeed. In this way, it makes perfect sense that AP courses have become a requirement on the transcripts of college-bound students. AP courses enable students to get a taste of what their future academic careers will be like. At an early age, individuals can accumulate time management skills. AP classes are not mandatory, and so it is up to the students to challenge themselves. This teaches personal responsibility and forces adolescents to begin pondering college life and future responsibilities. As addressed in the video, however, AP classes should not be taken for how they look on one's transcript. A line must be drawn between rigorous and insane. One should partake only in classes which interest him, not in courses meant to boost his GPA. While students' motives are not always clear and pure, the AP system still provides high school students with a positive service.

Tracy said...

Due to way the system stands and the mindset that many students have today, I don't think AP classes are worth the headache and stress students have to bear. Although the AP program was established with good intentions, it has (inevitably) blown out of proportion. Today, the pressure put on students to build up strong high school transcripts contributes to the sense that high school is no longer preparation for college, but for the application process. The problem is, everyone is different and while some students may be taking a course because of their interest in the subject and desire to be challenged, others may only enroll for the sake of building up their college applications. However, I don't believe AP courses are at fault in this issue. The college application process is what has driven the AP program into controversy and left students struggling to power through as many AP courses as they can, scrambling just for that bonus GPA point and a list they can write in their resumes or college applications. The application system belief that taking as many AP classes as possible is indicative of "taking advantage of all of the opportunities available at a student's high school" is what has "corrupted" the AP program. Meanwhile, the students in these classes barely learn. As they rush through the coursework in preparation for the AP test, most students will not retain more than half of the information forced into their brains. So are AP classes really the kind of preparation for college that the hype leads most others to believe? I, for one, highly doubt it. It is true that students become conditioned to working long hours (something that they may be subjected to in college and in the working world), but all the late nights can take a toll on students who shouldn't be expected to barely sleep so that they can get into college. In several scientific studies, it has been shown that lack of sleep and excessive amount of stress that students must endure in high school can take heavy tolls on their health. It is as if college apps and AP classes are forcing students to run every day and train for a marathon, and then stress chops off their legs just before the signal to start. If a student is made physically unable to work in the future, there's no point. The college application process needs some serious reevaluation to find some other safe, reliable way to rank the academic excellence of its applicants, because AP classes just aren't cutting it.

alec said...

Life has its obstacles and everyday we will be tested. We will be tested to our capabilities, our desires and even through such complicated situations and endeavors.
Well, after discussing this topic of high school Advanced Placement culture to my parents and whether or not it was worth being enveloped in this atmosphere, they scrutinized the ideal junior high school response I gave to them: What is the point of taking AP classes if you won't remember the material in college?
Quickly, my dad, being a reader of the latest college acceptance news, said some colleges will not give students the full college credits for an AP course taken in high school if the student did not get at least a 4 or 5 on the AP test. He keeps instilling in my head and heart that the reason behind this 'cut-off-point' is it separates who has balance and who does not; therefore, as well, who can live up to a ideal college level mentality expectation versus who lacks ambition to become successful.
Yet, according to Jay Chugh, the AP Bio teacher in the video, says he feels he is "doing a disservice to students because [he is] sacrificing "quality" of content for "quantity" of content. Definitely, I admire his consensus, for it is a big issue here in high schools (in particular Hercules High) because one cannot simply agree a high school years worth of AP Biology is equivalent to a college years worth of biology. The difference here is quality versus quantity.
However, AP Bio serves to strengthen ones use of time management, test taking and learning skills, and approach to learning difficult concepts.
Yet, it will be a dishonor to students who want to achieve beyond the crucible if, like Chugh said, the Advanced Placement system is taken out of high schools.
As understandable, Advanced Placement culture in high schools is a controversial topic of students abilities to grasp such an endeavor and I'm glad that we AP students are not the only ones out there who understand the rigors of this system. However, the mental asset instilled in me is that in order to distinguish oneself from the norm, one has to accept the competitive environment we live in and make the necessary adjustments to be the best in one's desired field. I'm not saying racking up more AP classes than one's peers is necessary to be the best or the most distinguished. I'm saying that only AP courses suitable and necessary to one's intended career should be considered if success in that field is wanted.

Chloe said...

It is hard to distinguish between whether we, the students, are abusing the AP system, or if the AP system is abusing us.

In reality, it's both; we push the system, and the system pushes us back (and vice versa). And yet, we refuse to abandon the late nights and stress crashes that are our AP courses, for several reasons: A) As young, ambitious students, we are both motivated and determined to challenge ourselves. B) GPA boost. C) To be in the same classes as our friends. D) Ultimately, we knew what we had bargained for going into the class, and somewhere in the not so distant past, there was a purely educational incentive for enrolling - to explore what we love.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these reasons for joining AP courses - on the one condition that the student can handle the course as well as themselves. When deteriorating health, for example, becomes an issue and there are very real and threatening repercussions, it is not worth it.

In terms of the video, it is somewhat of a relief to know the teachers and etc. understand exactly what it seems, for the most part, our parents do not (that is, we are slowly but surely killing ourselves to enhance our transcripts/resumes).

Bottom line: If you do not find overwhelming pleasure and satisfaction in learning and self-achievement (and this is not the kind of achievement only seen on a flimsy report card), then AP is not for you, nor can you mold it to be.

Rachelle said...

After watching the opinion video about advance placements courses in high school, it really related to how i use to think before as i was a freshman thinking about all the AP classes. I was thinking to myself that i had to take all these AP classes and pass the test so i can finish up college faster and not have to deal with it later on in college. Takeing Ap classes is also a plus because of the extra GPA boost it gives students just to make students more presentable to colleges on their transcript then those taking regular classes. Now some college doesn't even accept AP test scores. What is the point of having AP classes anymore? The classes are suppose to be hard and it is true that many students stay up until 2am or even 4am trying to finish up their studies and only go through school with a couple of hours of sleep. This isn't healthy to the students body at all. I believe students that are motivated to do well and enjoy them should take AP classes, not ones who simply believe its something to make them look good or believe they have to do it.

Samson Tong said...

Advanced placement courses were designed in order to give information quick. These courses operate at intense speeds that not everyone could keep up with. Many honors students at school take these classes and struggle. The only reason for taking them is to increase their GPA or to impress colleges with the number of AP classes taken. Very few people take these courses for fun or just for the sake of knowledge.

sarina said...

I think it's not worth the stress and long nights to take AP classes. Although it definetly helps a students application to get into UCs, the health of the students is hindered and they are not able to go through the subjects thoroughly. The mentions some student who actually got so stressed the she recieved huge migraines and got cramps all over her body. Her example emphasises the fact that it really isn't worth going through so much just to push your status up by means of applications.

Katherine said...

AP classes should be taken for you to challenge yourself. If someone takes an AP class to push up thier GPA, that is not a good reason. Ap classes should be taken to challenge yourself and to see how far you can push yourself to work in a certain class. I took my first AP class to see if I could challenge myself in history and then afterward, I decided that I wasn't ready for that strong of a class. I made a conscious decision based on something I tried, not something that could boost my grade up.

Beilul said...

The video did nothing more than state the obvious. Of course students taking difficult, college level courses in high school would be overworked, and as a result stressed out. So now the question remains, is taking multiple AP classes worth it?

Well, that depends. First of all, it is not only AP classes that are contributing to this culture, it is also IB programs, dual credit programs, etc. The problem itself is embedded in our culture of high achievers. As a country we love to rank, and we love to be the best. This is obvious in our obsession with any Forbes lists, and the notorious US News college rankings. This materialistic outlook has, inevitably, been passed down to today's generation of college bound students.

The video, however, failed to mention the wide array of problems that come with this AP culture. Though they do mention health issues, there are even more serious problems associated with our AP culture, such as cheating as an alternative to doing school work, and depression that stems from the stress of taking such difficult, time consuming courses.

So is it worth it? That is up to the student.

Jenna said...

There are several good points in this video that I really agree with. A question that has crossed my mind several times is "Should I take easier classess and do really good, or keep taking advanced classes and struggle to get mediocre grades?" Its tough, becuase there is this pressure to be and advanced placement student, yet the course teaches you so much less its almost not worth it. Not to say that you don't learn anything in an AP course, but the man in the video said it very well: there's just so much material its pretty much impossible to really learn and remember well within 2 semesters. I still take AP courses and Honors classes but really is just for the name, just so I can put on my transcripts that I took AP courses.

Sabrina said...

This video is very true because lastnight I did not go to bed until around one. My bedtime is around 12am-5am. 12am if I get lucky. And what is the reason for taking four AP classes? I want to have a higher GPA because I have such tough competition. I do not just want to be in the top ten, I NEED to be because it gets e closer to attaining acceptance into the college of my choice. But are the sleepless nights, stress and lack of a high school social life worth it? Ap classes can also harm one's health or stunt one's growth. Maybe they are more harmful than helpful because the material is given is such large quantities and in a short time, I do not see how students absorb it all. Also, on top of Ap classes, colleges want students to be well-rounded by participating in extracurriculars such as sports and clubs. Students do not have the time and energy to do this as well if Ap class homework takes up all their time and energy. It is a hate and love relationship between Ap classes and students.

Wendy said...

AP classes allow student to boost up their GPA and look good in their application. After watching this video, I really started to think deeply about AP courses. They are really time consuming and stressful. As mentioned in the video and personal experience, AP classes really demand quantity, where quality is being neglected. In this case, students do not gain much knowledge, but more stress in return. Moreover, most AP courses only prepare students for the AP test, they don't care whether the student learn anything nor the student cares what they learn. This is proven by a teacher in the video. A student said that she will never have to speak French after she took the French AP test. It is not worth it if taking AP courses provide one stress and affect one's health while student learn less than taking regular classes. In the video, a student, who dropped an AP course due to health problem, points out that it is not worth it if taking AP courses affects one's health. Without health, what more can they do instead of reclining and resting in bed? In this situation, still thinking about college? Forget it.

Yueming! said...

I do agree with all of the things stated in the video. By taking AP classes, students are practically signing up for more homework and greater challenges. These courses not only demand more time, but also more brain-power. And with AP this and AP that, a student would need to learn how to become a robot -- either sacrificing the "normal activities" teens are involved in or losing sleep. I think it is safe to say that many of us have not only witnessed the toll of AP classes on friends, but have also experienced it themselves. So why take APs? Is it just because we want to boost our GPAs so we can draw the colleges' attention?

This is what the investigation does not cover. Aside from the obvious that AP classes are appealing on transcripts for college application, no one in the video stated why AP classes are beneficial. Firstly, an AP class is meant to be taught at a college level and gives students an insight and prepares them for college courses. Secondly, being in an AP class means being around students who have the similar ambitions -- students who want to go to college and are willing to make the extra effort to achieve that goal. Instead of being placed in regular high school classes, these students can benefit from a more stimulating environment by interacting with peers who share the same desires of going further than secondary education.

What I find most interesting is that the video stated that more and more colleges are no longer offering credit for AP courses. Why not? What is the point of taking AP courses if students can't get the credit? What would then separate Honors from APs?

Also, the interviewed AP Biology teacher stated that he simply does not have enough time to cover the materials in one year. Rather than sifting through the information for the purpose of actually teaching students, he is forced by the system to speed through and pray that his students will retain some of the knowledge. Hypothetically speaking, say that a student does retain a lot of facts, enough that this person managed to get a 5 on the AP test after a few days of hardcore review. This student, however, does not remember why certain things came to behave in that way and cannot explain or back up any of the facts she knows. What good does it do for the student to know a bunch of facts if they don't really understand them?

Now the question is, is it more beneficial for students to take intro level courses in college, rather than being exempt? If students will ultimately gain more from taking these subjects in college because of the vast amount of knowledge that needs to be covered within a fairly short frame of time, isn't it better to just not take APs? There is no point of staying up late at night, getting stressed out, and sacrificing "better" things on a daily basis if it doesn't really benefit a person in the long run.

rachel said...

AP courses do have their ups and downs. They do offer students a challenge and a taste of what classes will be like in college. But taking too many probably isnt the smartest idea. Its stressful and could be overwhelming. I'm only a freshman and I dont go to sleep until like 1 A.M. I'm not considering taking many AP courses (unlike some people who take as many as possible) because I do value my sleep, and need at least an hour before getting to school. People who really want to do well in school will most likely survive the years while taking four/five AP classes.

katie said...

AP classes are used to impress colleges and for the academic advances. But most students do take AP classes to boost up their grade and to impress colleges, it's used as an priority in colleges because they tried harder academic courses. Though everyone doesn't learn everything in an AP class it does give perks in colleges. All students who take these classes can not remember everything but they should take them because they enjoy it.

Ch'Kia said...

Most students take AP classes to boost their GPA and to impress colleges I don't really know anyone who takes AP classes because their intersted in in the class itself. If you have more then two AP classes your going to be stressed out, but the world is so competitive and so many students want to go to college students feel as though they should take advanced placement classes to increase their chances of going to a college of their choice.

Renee said...

It is remarkable that people start to consider and evaluate the true purpose of the AP course system. Adolescent is the suitable time to develop one's potential to the fullest. However, the dark side of the AP system is just intolerable. However, I believe that it is not necessary to remove the AP system, since it is one of the few woekable ways to select top students. It is believed that actions have to be taken immediately to solve the problem. Furthermore, approprite adjustments and improvements should be considered so as to allow students to know but not to scan the information. Work hard when you are young, so you will not regret in the future.

Aundrea_Giacomelli said...

AP classes are for students that want to challenge themselves. Whether they want to take them or not is up to them, but majority of students take the classes to get recognized by top-notch colleges. AP classes help prepare students for college, and the system should not be removed. Students like to challenge themselves and avoid being placed in the average classes with the less-focused students. In the long run AP classes benefit personal work ethic. These classes certainly pay off.

Brittany said...

All students have the CHOICE to sign up for Advanced Placement classes. These courses are called advanced for a reason, meaning the material and class structure will be extremely more difficult than regular placement classes. Students should not complain about the stress and pressure, because they know from the beginning that that is exactly what they signed up for. AP classes are not to be taken lightly. Many students take the class just to boost their GPA or to show they are performing above and beyond in school, thus not fully comprehending the huge workload. Students need to take AP classes seriously, get their priorities straight and know their capabilities. Since AP classes do benefit some students, the system should not be taken away. The main point is students should not sign up for more than they can handle.

Stefan said...

Every year getting into college becomes a more, and more competitive process. Although it's not quite the case yet, some day soon, it may be 100% required to take AP classes to get into more prestigious colleges. It would be idealistic to say students took AP classes ONLY for their own enjoyment of subjects they enjoy.

Fiona said...

Although the AP system contains many flaws, it is still an essential part of students' academic lives. It is a great way for students to make themselves stand out from other students and show that they are the ones who will truly push themselves to succeed. AP classes allow students to experience what college is like, so they would not be entirely intimidated when they actually reach college. Just as how they say it's important to "teach children how to read early," it's also important to "challenge students early." By taking challenge early, students would be able to develop time management skills and prepare for a greater amount of work in the future. It helps students to think about their future opportunities and responsibilities. However, AP classes should not taken only for the purpose of raising grade point averages. A student should only take an AP course if the subject truly interests them or if they believe the class will absolutely challenge them. Nevertheless, AP classes are still an essential part of academic life.

Myron said...

The underlying reason for most people to take an AP class is to get the GPA boost, whether they admit it or not. However, some students do benefit from genuinely and sincerely taking classes that interest them. There are various arguments for and against such classes, and in general, the system is just not right the way it is currently.

The benefit from taking AP classes is the extra point it gives students in their GPA. Students are always competing to get into good colleges after they graduate from high school. In such a down economy, every little point counts. Students think that they have a better chance of being accepted into big name schools with more classes listed on their transcripts. Although, colleges are obligated to consider other factors such as extracurricular activities, peer pressure often portrays challenging classes as the most important way to impress colleges. Likewise, many AP courses offered by CollegeBoard are simply too in-depth for a full time high school students to master in such a short amount of time. And a good deal of AP tests can arguably be passed simply by memorizing the answers to frequently asked questions and their variations. For instance, the AP Calculus test only asks so many questions.

Despite such flaws of the AP program, many students still choose to take such courses, understanding their flaws. For instance, some courses, if taught well, are merely thinking-intensive by not work-intensive. Although it is useless for a student to memorize a list of historical facts for an AP history exam, students do get experience with thinking critically and analyzing such events in history while reading. Not all students will be benefiting, since only a few students are able to have the self-motivation required for classes that are basically self-taught. However, the logistical requirements of taking such challenging classes gives students a taste of how adult life away from school is like. These long term benefits may not be seen in high school, but will be scene in the future.

Whatever the reason students are taking AP classes, the system is flawed in that the material isn't being taught because students are interested in the material, but because students want the credit.

Breaunna said...

Personally, I hate AP and honor classes. The only reason I take them is to increase my GPA and to please my parents. If it was up to me, I wouldn't be taking honors physics, AP Calculus, or AP Lit. I hate each of these subjects! I don't remember half of the things we even cover in class. I just cram for the tests so I can pass them and pass the class.
I think this is how a lot of AP/Honor students feel. It's all about the grade. We all want to have the best grades so we have the best chances of getting into the best schools.
It's sad that we've all become so wrapped-up in grades that learning isn't fun anymore, that going to school has become a chore, that the word "class" is able to make students cringe.
There's something wrong with a system that causes more stress and unhappiness than productive learning.

emily said...

Taking an AP class to challenge yourself is a good way to know what the courses will be like in college. Like others say, it does make your GPA look good and impresses colleges. You do learn more..but it doesn't really stick to your head. So its sort of a waste of time. Some say that regular courses are boring so they take AP courses.

Dchia23 said...

In my opinion AP classes are only beneficial if the teacher teaching the class is well educated in the subject. This year I am taking many AP classes and honor classes, but I learn much more in one of my AP classes than the other because of the teacher. In the AP class I learn more in is the one I don't do as much work in because the teachers different style of teaching just helps student absorb the information better. This compared to my other AP class is much more efficient, seeing as how in this class work is thrown on top of us constantly and we learn much less. But going into the year I understood that taking this class was only for the GPA because I knew that if I took regular history i would've learned much more. Proving the point of the video thatStudents taking AP Classes just for the weighted GPA should consider what they're actually gaining (or losing) from them.

Giselle said...

I forgot! x]

As an AP student, I fully agree that students should only take the courses they want to take - if they're interested in the material or decide to challenge themselves in the material.

As a possible college candidate, it is sad to think that I have to take as many AP courses as I did.

I know that I don't like science, yet I took APBio. I passed the exam, but it's not like I know the material now. And in the long run, when I'm in college, I know I won't be going down that route anyway. So what was the point of taking the class and spending $80-something?

I wish colleges looked at students more closely, but frankly they don't have the time. It's sad that AP classes are turning into "normal" classes that students take to get into a competitive college.

Now that I'm a senior, I won't have to deal with AP classes after this year. But I think I do understand that I need to focus on the quality of my education, rather than the quantity.

FLORAINE KYLA said...

As we begin the third quarter, I still find myself having to assure myself that taking three AP classes is going to be worth it. But I can't help but be irritated that someone, taking honors classes/taking less classes than me has almost an identical, if not higher, GPA than I do. In my own household, no one understands the concept of AP, honors, and regular classes. I find it funny that the need and the pressure to take these AP classes is put on by both ourselves and our counselors. But one think I wish is that counselors, and even maybe AP teachers/students, would tell/warn students who finally get the opportunity to take an AP class how hard it really is--from the sleepless nights, the high levels of stress, the need to sacrifice extra curricular activities and even doing homework for other class, to expenses that come with taking the AP class. Then that is when students and their parents can consider whether taking an AP class suits the student. Yes, an AP class looks good on a college application, especially when we're competing to sell ourselves against other students across the nation. And yes, an AP class prepares us for work load of college and possibly could save us money if we can pass the AP test with an acceptable grade that the class also counts for college credit.. but one really has to question, is it really worth it to take an AP class for any other reason other than enjoying and wanting to improve in that particular subject?

Sheralynn said...

After my sophomore experience with AP world, I was left disgruntled, bitter and resentful. The end of year's choice sheet for my junior year classes gave me my chance: I confidently did NOT sign myself up for APUSH. I consulted juniors and all of them told me APUSH was a waste of time. I did, however, add AP lang. I prioritized my classes and english won. I was content with my choice and confident that I would learn more in regular history than in an AP class, for I could not recall anything from AP world besides that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assissinated by Gavrilo Princip and it sparked WWI. The all-nighters and waking up with my face on that big stupid AP world book wasn't worth it. I am very content with my class schedule for junior year, taking one AP class in a subject I enjoy and an honors class in a subject I am interested in pursuing. I have learned my lesson in taking on more than I can handle. I would rather learn more and earn a higher grade in a regular class that I enjoy being in and am not stressed out about than taking an AP class and going to sleep stressed out with too much on my mind. I devote myself to my classes on the levels of their importance to me, personally. If I had APUSH I would be wasting time on a subject I have no interest in.

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