Question: Should I be considering taking AP classes? What are they like and what AP classes are offered at this school? What sort of marks do I need to get in order to take AP. And also why is learning shout air resistance such a drag?
Aaron: This was one of the decisions I had to decide when I was in Grade 9, so I’m glad this question was asked.
To start, I’ll answer the questions, “What is AP?” AP, or Advance Placement, is a program that is offered that, in my definition, allows you to learn material that is above your grade level ALONG with your current grade curriculum. A teacher recommendation for AP classes, along with marks of 85% or above are required to ask to be in an AP class. You can receive a more accurate definition and what AP classes are offered at FFCA in this document “http://hsc.ffca-calgary.com/download/71806“, page 7.
A big question that I can start with is, “How passionate are you about said subject?” The absence of passion when taking an AP class will make it harder for you to enjoy the AP class. Increased workload, accelerated curriculum, and a higher level of accountability and responsibility between you and the teacher will be needed. But if you are passionate about said subject, the idea of acquiring knowledge will outweigh these factors.
By taking AP classes, it allows you to prepare for the work ethic that is required of you in future grades. I took Math 10CAP because I enjoyed Math and wanted to learn more about the concept of mathematics. In Math10CAP, one lesson, and sometimes two lessons, were covered each day, so another positive is that if the normal stream is too slow for you, AP can help with increasing the pace. In Math AP, we go through the normal Math10C material, and every so often, there will be “Enrichments”, which would be extra material from Grade 11. During unit exams, you would receive two test packages, where one contains the normal curriculum, and another sheet would have AP questions. AP material does not affect your final Math mark, and is a separate category of marks in total. In Science 10AP, there was only one or two “Enrichments” per unit of Chemistry and Physics, and there was none for the Biology unit, so it is not as intense as Math 10CAP. My friend, Rehman, will provide his experiences in his AP classes as well. Essentially, if you take AP classes for the right reasons, they can become a foundation (hehe, pun intended) for your future in high school. However, do not feel pressured to take AP classes. If you are not comfortable in your skills of a subject, you do not need to take AP. I didn’t take AP for ELA because I was not as confident in my skills, so it is okay to be in the regular -1 stream.
To sum this all up, AP classes are more rigorous and more is expected of you, in terms of work ethic and personal responsibility, and the question of “How passionate are you about said subject?” must be taken into account. I recommend taking AP in Grade 10, since it is a year you can experiment and you have time to see if AP is right for you. But after that, it’s up to you to decide if you want to continue in AP or not.
If you’re considering whether to take AP classes or not, I’d suggest you take a look at the following questions: Are you confident in your ability to learn, as well as ask questions when you don’t understand a concept? Do you enjoy the subject that you’re taking? These questions are simply just guidelines I’ve made, based on my own experience in the Advanced Placement (AP) program. In the end, the final decision is really up to you, and the extent to which you’d like to take AP classes. There are three AP classes you can take in grade 10, which are Science 10AP, Math 10AP, and ELA 10AP. The ELA 10AP class is a mix of all individuals taking LA AP, which includes ELA 10AP, ELA 20AP, and ELA 30AP. To my knowledge, the LA AP course is being taught by Ms. Hunnisett next year, who, if you know her, is exceedingly passionate about literature, and as a result, LA AP requires a large amount of reading on your part, where you’ll have to set time aside every day, usually around 30 minutes, to reading literature. You’re also given a reading list, which consists of 5-6 classical novels, which you are required to finish over the summer, prior to your entering of the AP LA class. The part about AP LA that differentiates it from the regular Language Arts courses is the level of discussion that occurs. By building up on the ideas that were presented by others, the students are able to push their understanding of the discussion topic to the point where they’re able to make connections that were seemingly impossible beforehand.
Math 10C AP was a different story, compared to AP LA. Mr. Nayak taught Math 10C AP in the second semester, although originally Ms. Nicol was supposed to be teaching the course. Math 10C AP is an environment where you’ll thrive if you’re able to understand concepts easily, as well as apply them to your math skills. Mr. Nayak did not assign homework, but instead gave optional “Spiral-Review Sheets”, which contained questions on the material learned in class. Math 10C AP, or any AP class, for that matter, is a class you will enjoy only if you appreciate and are passionate about the subject, such as math in this case, as mentioned by my good friend, Aaron. Math 10C AP is an accelerated course, but it also contains grade 11 material, which would be classified as the AP portion of Math 10C AP. The assessments for grade 11 concepts will not be worth any marks, but will only serve to prepare you for Math20-1, or Math20AP if you’re taking AP again in grade 11. If you ever fall behind in Math10C AP, ask for help. There are also help sessions that are offered, which were during Tuesday and Thursday lunches this year. Ensure that you review your concepts, possibly at least every two weeks to save yourself from forgetting anything. Finally, enjoy the course! It’s an AP course, for a subject that you’re passionate about! Don’t take too much stress from it.
Science 10 AP is by far the most similar to the regular Science 10-1 course, as there are only two AP portions, one which is in the Chemistry unit, the other being in the Physics unit. As far as I know, there is no AP subject for Biology. Science 10 AP is made much easier if you focus on understanding concepts rather than actually memorizing information. Homework is also assigned frequently, usually three or four times per week, and homework checks occur for the assigned homework.
Overall, try to enjoy your AP courses! They’re meant so that you can learn at a pace that you find enjoyable, not so that you can stress over having to deal with the work they bring! When you’re in an AP class, you’re also surrounded by individuals who have a similar mindset, and you can make wonderful friendships, as well as push each other to do better. Another important thing to note is that you can always quit your AP class within the first three weeks of the semester if you don’t like it, meaning that your decision now does not bind you to the course.
Aaron, and Rehman
P.S. Because learning how airplanes and birds fly is very uplifting.