To AP or not to AP?

By Alexa Baer

Alexa Baer

Each year, it seems like more and more students are taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes but should some students really be in those classes?
AP classes are not right for everyone. They are undoubtedly harder than honors or college prep classes and don’t always help your transcript. Plus, in order to earn college credits, you need to get at least a three (for some universities you need a four) on the test at the end of the year.
In high school, I took AP classes. I learned only to take AP classes in subjects where I felt I wouldn’t have been challenged at the honors level, not because of what classes my friends were taking.
My junior year, I decided to take AP Physics. I should have been in a less-advanced class, but my friends were in the AP class and I wanted to be in class with them. I did not do well in AP Physics.
At the end of the year when it came time to sign up for the test, I didn’t feel confident enough to take the test. Instead of wasting my time in a class that was too hard, I should have been in the less-advanced class from the beginning.
When I was in AP Calculus my senior year, I switched down to a lower level. Taking regular Calculus did not mean I was dumb and it didn’t prevent me from getting into my dream college. It allowed me to take a math class my senior year and actually learn the material instead of trying to play catch-up or fall behind because I didn’t understand.
Some AP classes weren’t right for me and that’s OK. The best thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to be honest with yourself and others about what you can and can’t handle.

Alexa Baer is a senior at Elon University and a Times-News intern. She can be reached at

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