To AP Or Not to AP

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.


Rehman:

Hello!

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.


Sincerely,

Aaron, and Rehman

P.S. Because learning how airplanes and birds fly is very uplifting.

 

The Exam Flow

Question: Hi I’m in grade 9 and I was wondering how the exams work. My teachers have told me about it but I’m still confused.


Daniel: I can answer that for you!! Exams in high school can seem very confusing at first but once you experience them, they’re not as complicated as you think.

To start off, be in gala uniform (shoes included) to prevent any complexities at the office and with teachers.

BEFORE:
Once you get the school grab the supplies you need like pencils, erasers, water, and so on. Few things to keep in mind:
– Have a clear pencil case or ziploc bag works too. Or it’s simpler to not have one.
– DO NOT BRING YOUR CELLPHONE. If it happens to be in your pocket as you walk in, just give it to them and they’ll return it once you’re done.
– Make sure to have your student ID with you because that is your KEY to getting into that exam room (a.k.a the north gym).
– If you lost it, a learners license or any form of government ID works too. If you really want your student ID, go to the office (preferably a couple of days before) and they’ll print you a paper copy for the price of $5.
– Have a transparent water bottle with no plastic labels so you’re not suspicious for cheating.
– If you’re using a calculator, leave the case/lid in your bag to prevent any complications of removing it later

DURING:
Once you got all your stuff, head to the North Gym which is where everyone will be waiting. At 8:30, that’s when you’re expected to be there and teachers will start letting students in. Have your student ID ready so it’s just an easy walk-in.
– The tests are arranged in alphabetical answer by last name so follow the signs at the front rows to find your seat.
– The exams start at 9:00. Once everyone is settled, the teachers will begin talking about the guidelines and expectations.
– Pay close attention because they’ll soon be going over all that sticker and filling out information work which you probably did for your LA writing final.
– Before you start, they’ll announce the first exit time for those who finish early. – There will be more later at certain intervals, so if you finish after that first exit time, you won’t be stuck for the rest of the exam.
– Depending on the exam you’re writing, you’ll have 75 minutes (Math, LA, Science) or 80 minutes (Social) to finish your test. Students in ESL get additional time.

I’ve attached a link to the exam schedule to help with the times and knowing when they are.

AFTER:
Once you exit the gym, you are welcome to quietly stay in a teacher surpervised classroom or go hang with friends off campus. If you take the bus, buses leave at 12:15.

Hope this clears up the confusion and may you do well in your PATs!!!

Sociology 20 + 30

Question: I took sociology as an elective but I got 50’s in sociology 20 and 30 and I know that that is a pass according to the province but it isn’t for FFCA so does that give me the credits still?


Aaron: Hello! I will be answering your question today! As you already know, the mark that you have received in Sociology is not a pass, in terms of FFCA standards. HOWEVER, the good news is that, with Ms.Geran’s wisdom, anything above 50, in terms of Alberta standards is a PASS. So you will be receiving credits for your course in Sociology. Teachers should not have marks at the 48 or 49 mark, and should be rounded up, but to answer your question, you will be receiving the credits for your course of Sociology. Continue to be encouraged as this is only one of the many courses you have taken this year.

Best wishes,
Aaron

Physics 20

Ahhhhhh! I’m freaking out about physics 20. I love physics but I’m not that good at it. I don’t know what to do. Help me!


Sunvy: Hi there, I totally get your frustration in this matter. To be honest, I love physics too and I really want to excel in it. I am currently not doing as well as I personally want to ,but you see, every one is unique and each person has their own take on what “not that good” is be it: provincially failing a course (getting below 50%), FFCA failing a course (getting below 60%), a number an individual strives to achieve (personally I strive for a 90% in physics because then my mom would take me to the best Pho restaurant in Calgary) or even failing in the the respect of not gaining any experience. I took AP English in grade 10 and I was so close to failing (my report card that year said I got a 60%, however, later it magically bumped up to 64% on my transcript, but that’s besides the point.) If you look at this from a numerical perspective, one may argue that I “didn’t do so well”. True, and I also still think I didn’t do so well but it was a tremendous opportunity that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I gained so many valuable lessons, not just in English, but real life applications as well.

So some things I suggest are: asking Ms. Sebring or your physics teacher for help, get a tutor, make learning fun, do your homework and get lots of sleep. Ms. Sebring is an awesome teacher and honestly, she does her very best and often steps out of her way to help her students. She loves each and every one of her students so much it is ridiculous. One time she even got us “physics socks” in order to motivate us to be successful. She would gladly help you if you are struggling. She honestly appreciates it when you come and find her to work through things that you need help with. One other thing that I would like to suggest is getting a tutor. They would be able to give you one on one help on physics. But I suggest going to Ms. Sebring first. She is literally always around. She stays after school all of the time.

Another thing I did this year to help me get better is that I had a competition with a fellow classmate. We made bets with each other in who would get the better mark before the term started and it looked something like this: Whoever got the lower grade on the report cards would pay the winner some money. This really helped motivate me as I wanted to win some extra cash and not pay someone else my own money. I’m a poor “university student” for Pete’s sake! I’m even in debt to myself. That’s how broke I am. So if you choose to do something like this to help motivate you do your best, I recommend that you bet against a friend or fellow student that you know will be a challenge in beating. Not necessarily the top student in the class, but one that would challenge you to work hard.

Another thing is that my opponent and I encouraged each other and called each other up a night if we were struggling on a problem We did not become mortal enemies at all. Make sure to still care for the person you are competing with.

One thing that I wish I could have done in order to be more successful is to actually do the homework and sleep more. I admit it, I do not do my homework and I really regret it so much. Don’t leave all your homework to do on the last night like I do. I literally feel so stressed out when I do that to myself. Also, make sure you get lots of sleep every night so you are able to concentrate in class, because I find that more often than not, most of the theory questions are super easy only if I had paid more attention during class. If I could take physics 20 and 30 again, I would definitely do the homework every night and get at least 8 hours of sleep. Oh and did I mention that I’m half cat? I need 10 hours to function properly so I should work on getting more sleep. I’m so sorry that this response is so very long, but I honestly want you to be able to do your best and if you have any other questions regarding anything I’ve said, please don’t hesitate to come and talk to me in person.


Ejaaz: A lot of people are generally afraid of physics because they think it involves a lot of math or they’ve heard rumours from seniors. But the best thing to do is go off your preference. If you LOVE physics, and the idea of it then I say go for it. Physics 20 (from what I remember) builds off what you learned in the physics portion of science 10. And from my personal recollection is hella fun.

And speaking to the mark portion, as long as you put in the work, do the homework daily, and read the notes, YOU WILL BE FINE. Physics is all about reading, under standing the concepts, and knowing how to apply the calculations. Just study daily and you should excel. And the teachers you could get (Seibring or Nayak) are awesome! They will work their best to make sure you succeed. If you have any questions they are always open and willing to help.

All in all you need to ask yourself this question, Do I want to go into a field that will involve physics? (Some possible fields are teacher engineer, physicist etc.) That question is vital when choosing courses especially when you make the transition from grade 10-11. If physics is something you love doing and want to pursue, by all means go for it, just make sure you:
1) Put in the work
2) Ask if you are having difficulty
3) HAVE FUN

Overcoming Shyness in High school

So, I’m a really shy person, how can I excel in high school? 


Arshnoor: In order to come out of the shell of shyness, you could take the drama course to open up more with your peers. Not only this, you could also join the empowering minds camp next year, which happens once in a year. After coming back from the camp ( which is about three days), you will feel more confident and being able to fully express your thoughts. I have seen many students who have attended that program become more open and participate in discussions. One thing for sure which I can say is that these skills are going to beneficial in your senior years in the high school!


Julianna: Expanding on what has been mentioned about empowering minds. It is a camp that 3 days long. In this camp you learn how to break out of your shell by doing a series of activities with people you may not necessarily know prior to the camp. In the camp you learn how to get uncomfortable and expand your personal comfort zone. I have been there as a student and I have been back 3 times as an on team volunteer. I can personally say with my own experience (as I used to be painfully shy) that this camp is VERY effective, not only for shy people but also those who are more out there and open! I suggest you look into signing up for this opportunity of a life time!


Iffy: Being a person who has been shy for almost all my life, it has been difficult for me to deal with school. But what I can say is that being shy doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Something that has really helped me open up and feel more confident and comfortable was joining choir. The atmosphere is just so welcoming, and people will welcome you with open arms and help you to feel more comfortable with yourself and with the people around you because it has really impacted my life in such a positive way.

Making friends was something that I really struggled with in high school, but know that your not alone. Many people deal with shyness, but in the end it’s so worth it, to put yourself out their, to show people the kind of person you really are, and even if you don’t have many friends, a small group of close friends is what can really help you be successful in high school.

Summer School Troubles

Question: Why is summer school so opposed at this school?


Hey, this is Ashley. I’ll be taking your question today, and I’ll start off with my own.

Why do you want to go into summer school?

If your answer is to:
a) Learn the contents of a course beforehand in order to do better in the course in school
b) Take a necessary course due to a full schedule

Then I would say to go for it. Have that chat with Geran. Be successful!

However if your reason is so that you can get a SPARE, you are going to be disappointed. As quoted by Mr. Pichard, “FFCA High School is designed for in-class explicit instruction. Students have a higher rate of success when they take classes here, and develop excellent work habits and character by being in classes all day.” Even if you take summer school (like I did), you are still required to take a full load of courses (4 courses each semester) in the school year. Additionally, if you can’t change your schedule once you get back, you’re going to have to keep your courses, even the one you took over the summer.

So to answer your question, honestly, FFCA is just looking out for us and they want the best for us in terms of education. When I took summer school, it was to take Science 30, as I was pretty sure at that time that I was going to go into Psychology and that Science 30 would be my mark booster to get in. I had taken all 3 sciences at the 20 level, and hence I thought I was thoroughly prepared for the course. Lo and behold, I was apparently overly prepared for the course and due to my love for science, I finished with a 95. Not everyone is like me, though. Summer school is tough (you get a week’s worth of knowledge and homework every day!) and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are diligent and you have a good reason for being there. No need to waste your money if all you’re going to do is mess around.

All in all, just make sure you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, just as you would anything in your life. Do things that will contribute to your success, and make it worthwhile. You have a limited time in high school, after all. Make it count while you still can.

Troubles Before University

Question: if you failed every single math, english, and chemistry course from grade 9-12 what can i do in post secondary. Also where is room ENA 101 in the u of c building


Thank you for your inquiry. This was a tough question for us to answer (as you can tell, as this was posted later than the 9:00 deadline).
So, we are assuming you are either:

  1. In grade 9 we would like to say: don’t give up. You still have 3 good years ahead of you to work on your academics, and improve on your grades, or
  2. If you are in grade 12 you still have a lot of options. You could upgrade your courses, or learn a trade.

Ashley (in response to #2): Sorry, but I’m going to be your reality check for the day. I noticed that you asked for an Engineering room specifically, and if you think that you’re failing the core classes you need to be accepted into University, much less Engineering, I do not think that you should rush your decision. You’re still in high school, so you still have the option of upgrading and summer school. If you really believe that you are doing poorly, then you need to speak with Ms. Geran ASAP about what your plans are for the upcoming years. It depends on your definition of failing, however, if it is by the definition of provincial failure, then you may not only be in danger of not only making it to university, but passing high school, especially if you are failing English. Take the time, upgrade your marks if you must, and make sure your skills are adequate. That, or choose another path, such as a trade, as said above, where you may or may not need certain classes.


Sunvy (in response to Ashley’s definition of failure): Well, you see, every one is unique and each person has their own definitions of different terms. One of the most controversial terms used in school is “failing”. Different people have different takes on this term be it: provincially failing a course (below 50%), FFCA failing a course (below 60%), a number an individual assigns one’s self (for me personally anything below an 90% in physics) or even failing in the the respect of not gaining any experience. I took AP english in grade 10 and I was so close to failing (my report card that year said I got a 60%, however, later it magically bumped up to 64% on my transcript, but that’s besides the point.) If you look at this from a numerical perspective, one may argue that I “failed the course”, however, I perceived it as a golden opportunity that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I gained so many valuable lessons, not just in English, but real life applications as well. So, one thing that I would like to ask you to do is: evaluate your own definition of the term “failing” and not just look at it from a numerical perspective, but from the priceless experiences and life lessons you get out of it as well.


Ejaaz: For those in grade 9-11 facing this problem, many people who get under a certain grade will get recommended for a -2 course (mostly math and ELA). What most people don’t understand is how much -2 will help you.

Personally, as student who has taken ELA-2, grades 10 through 11, I can honestly say it has been a blessing in disguise. I went into it feeling very pessimistic and against the whole idea, but I came out of it with greater abilities than when I started. I feel as if my writing progressed significantly, and I would not be where I am today in terms of my writing.


Ashley: In conclusion, our three main takeaways are:

  • Talk to Geran.
  • Reevaluate your definition of failure;
  • And based on your definition, choose the course stream/future best suited for you

Side note:
This may help you find rooms within the University:

Interactive room finder: This is a link to an interactive room finder at U of C. Basically, it is a map of the buildings, in which you can search for a specific room and it will show you where it is, and which building it is in. Furthermore, you can book a campus tour of the university where they will also show you where every building is and what is taught there.

http://ucmapspro.ucalgary.ca/RoomFinder/

 

Leadership 25 and 35

Question: I was wondering what kind of things you learn in leadership 25 and 35 and what the course is like.


Arshnoor: The leadership program offered at our school during grade 11, prepares us to learn the different ways to function well as a team. Not only this, through numerous presentations, it builds public speaking skills, along maintaining proper communication in a team. Additionally, the students get a chance to do the aptitude tests, which signify which careers you will be successful in. That test acts as a way to open up the students’ minds to the many different career paths.

In grade 12, students have the opportunity to apply the concepts which he or she learned in grade 11. As well, in that year, students learn to take the charge on themselves, be independent, and act as team leaders. In the end of the course, students do a legacy project, either for the school or a selected grade. Throughout the process, students learn to how to create a win-win situation within his or her team.


Iffy: Well, you probably hear people saying how boring and useless leadership class is, but it is something that has really helped me with boosting my confidence, and contributing my ideas in class. The things we learn in leadership 25 are very game based which allows people to take on a leadership role and be able to guide people to what they need to do. Their are presentations that are also tied into leadership 25, talking about and learning from people who you consider to be good leaders.. In leadership, you always need to go back to the PALM model: trust, communication and collaboration, roles and responsibilities, focused action, accountability, and finally, results. If you don’t have one of these pieces, than you and your team won’t be successful, so anything you do has to fit with all of these pieces so that everyone is successful. There are also aptitude tests that you take to see what you’re good at and what kind of career you’d be successful in, and it will determine where your passions lie. It doesn’t fully determine what you will go into, but the base of where your passions lie, and sometimes people’s passions and likes shift, so this is not something that will officially determine what you should go into.

Leadership 35 is quite different from leadership 25. In leadership 35, you will still be doing activities, but you will also be put into groups that will be leading the class for 3 days, with your chair, co-chair, secretary, and co-secretary. The main focus of leadership 35 is focusing on your legacy projects, such as this one, which will either impact a certain grade/grades that you decide to choose, if that’s the route you take, or something that will have an impact on the whole school.

All in all, we are a character school, and being able to have a class that focuses on building character, and confidence will be beneficial for when you leave high school, and will make you a very successful leader.

Art in Grade 10 or Not

Question: I was wondering what the art elective was like. I took it in grade 9 but not sure if I wanna take it in grade 10? Is it worth it?


Good question.

I took art throughout high school, and its been a great experience because every year you get to learn new techniques, and try out different art forms. It also helps you to improve in your artistic abilities.

I guess it depends on three questions: Are you passionate about art, did you enjoy art 9, and are you planning on doing something in the arts after high school?

I believe that it is definitely worth it to take art 10, because you get to experience new art each and every year, and you get to try things that you have not tried before. Art 9 is getting into the basics of art , but when you go into art 10, you get to go way beyond the basics, and into something that is truly unique and magical.

So if you said yes to all three questions, than yes, it is so worth it. It will definitely open your eyes to the many new perspectives and ideas on the different art forms, and using different tools and techniques to make you and your art successful. Hopefully that helped to answer your question.

Sincerely,

Iffy.

An Effective Legacy Project

Question: How do you see this being an effective legacy project?


Your question might not have met our criteria, but I’m a nice person. I’ll make an exception, partially because I’m a good person, and partially because I am intensely invested in this project.

When considering legacy projects, we wanted something that could influence the entire school.  This idea was something that I’d been working on since last year. The idea behind this was that we, as grade 12’s, have had so many experiences, and the one thing that we can give back to FFCA that would leave an impact, are our stories. Who better to answer questions like “What are classes like?” and “What’s it like being a part of a school sports team?” and such and so forth, than students who have had these experiences?

As for how effective it will be as a legacy to carry out, we have already arranged for students to take on the website for the following years. It will be a multi-grade group, which will allow for different students to share their experiences. When we leave, the plan is to add in another website, “Ask an Alumni” so that we can continue to spread our influence and stories.

Thanks for your question,
Ashley