AP Class Hacks

AP Class Hacks

Rachel Bell, Messenger Reporter

September 22, 2016

Taking AP classes can be the best or the worst decision of your entire high school career. They can be beneficial to you by getting college credit and a taste of what college is like. They can also be terrible for you, if you don’t play your cards right. They’re literally college-level classes, so they’re hard. They can ruin your GPA if you don’t try. I’m writing to tell both AP veterans and those new to the program how to survive an AP class.


First and foremost, read. This can’t be understated. Read, read, read. So many students only read a small part of the book, or don’t read at all. The textbooks are large, lengthy, and frankly, dry. That being said, it’s super important to understanding the material. AP teachers expect you to read, and then they’ll lecture the next day. If you haven’t done your job, you’ll be lost. This is the most important part of surviving an AP class.


Second, take notes. If something sticks out or seems important, keep a notebook to write it down. You don’t have to write everything your teacher says during his or her lecture, but anything they emphasize is fair game. Your hand may end up hurting, but you’re more likely to remember anything you write down for the test. Important or interesting facts in the reading are the key to note taking, and note taking is the key to remembering.


Next, go to your teacher for help if you need it. That’s what they’re there for. Your teachers want to help, no matter what your perception of them is. On the first day of school, your AP teacher will most likely say, straight-up, “This class is difficult.” They know what their class is, and they want you to succeed. Don’t be intimidated or afraid to speak up if you don’t understand something. They won’t be upset.


If studying and talking to the teacher isn’t cutting it, there’s no shame in going to a tutor. I’ve had to do that a couple times, and it really helps. Availability of tutors depends on the class in particular that you’re taking. Our after school program is really helpful for most, but not all, classes. If our tutoring program doesn’t offer help in your particular class, you may have to take upon yourself to find extra help. It may take a while, but persevere. It’ll be worth it.


Lastly, when your teacher begins talking about the AP Exam at the end of the year, listen. This is arguably the most important part of the entire class, and why most people take AP classes. This exam is usually about $90, and if you pass it, you get college credit, and will save you and your parents thousands of dollars. The exam is scored from 1 to 5, and you need a 3 to pass. There’s multiple choice, short answers, and long essays. Your teacher will guide you through preparations as the exam gets closer. Bookstores also sell practice exam books.


AP classes can make or ruin your high school experience. You have to be attentive and driven to make it through them. I’ve taken five AP classes thus far, so use my personal experience to help yourself in the future. Good luck, and may you not have to pay so much for college.