The Three Sciences

Question: Is taking all 3 sciences hard?

Spencer: Taking all 3 sciences isn’t too difficult, though having extra core courses may take some extra organization to do well in all 3. I found that juggling all 3 wasn’t too difficult, and I enjoyed what the three courses offered, though it can be a bit overwhelming towards the end with the later exams, but if you work around those times in your schedule, it isn’t too bad.


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 ““, 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.


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.

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

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.

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!!!

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.

Stress and Exams

I’m stressing about exams and I’m wondering what I can do to destress and do well on them?

Sunvy: The most important thing to do for yourself is to get enough sleep the night before your exam, or even consecutively two or three days before (at least 7-9 hours). This will help prepare your mind, and you will have enough energy to be able to concentrate throughout your exam. Have you looked back to a previous exam you wrote and realized you made a lot of silly mistakes? You can eliminate these errors and get a higher percentage on this test by getting enough sleep.

Julianna: Also, it is important to eat healthy and to make sure that your sugar intake is at a minimum to prevent a sugar-related crash. And drink lots of water to make sure your brain and body are well-hydrated.

Ejaaz: Eat a proper breakfast and do something relaxing the night before. Most of the time you won’t be able to retain what you crammed from studying really late at night. If you don’t know it by late at night the day before your exam, you won’t know it. So start studying earlier so you aren’t cramming the night before. Also, make sure to use the washroom before you take your test. Or as otherwise, Mrs. Hunniset would say, “Make sure you poop in the morning!”

Ash: Exercise works wonders. As does maintaining a schedule for studying. Taking 5-15 minute breaks between work periods no longer than an hour. Make sure you take away all distractions when you are studying as well. You wont be productive when you are multi-tasking,so make sure to put that phone/ iPod away!

Sunvy: In closing, I’d like to say to make sure you have fun while taking your exam! When I personally take exams, I make sure I used the washroom. I go even when I feel like I don’t need to because, you never know when “nervous pee” will get to you. I think of final exams, quizzes and tests as practice worksheets, so I don’t get too stressed while I take my test. I go through the test to see what the test is all about, and then I write it. If there is a question that I am not 100% sure of, I put a question mark beside it, and if I don’t know the answer at all to a question or if I am spending too long on it, I circle it and move on. I come back to the circled ones after I have gone through the whole test. If I have time, I take a little nap and then I do the test all over again. When you take a break and come back to the test, you have a refreshed mind and a new perspective. You might even find some errors when you look at it again. Make sure you sleep well, eat well, care for yourself and make sure to have fun in your exams!