Advanced Placement Classes – Do Students Actually Like Them?


Kaleigh Maloney, Staff Writer

According to a 2021 study conducted by Collegeboard, 34.9%  of students attending public schools in the United States took at least 1 AP exam throughout their high school careers. AP classes are college level courses offered to highschool students. AP is an acronym for “advanced placement.” Hastings High School offers an assortment of AP classes, like AP Bio, AP literature, AP European history, AP art, and many more. 


Senior Anna Thomas says she is taking four AP classes this year: AP environmental science (affectionately abbreviated as APES), AP European history, AP statistics, and AP literature, while another senior Bliss Johnson is taking 2 AP classes this year including AP psychology, and AP literature. Sonya Lasser, a junior, is also taking two, AP calc BC, and AP Environmental science. 


Students can take as many or as few AP classes they would like to, however, they should get an idea of how challenging AP classes can be. Anna Thomas said that AP Statistics is her hardest AP class this year. Meanwhile, Bliss Johnson says her hardest class this year is AP literature because “The novels we read can be hard to understand, although we always have in class discussions about the novels we read which is a big help for assignments and in class work”. Sonya Lasser’s hardest class is AP calc BC she said “ it’s a lot of fairly abstract concepts and a very quick moving class, so I’ve been spending a lot of time outside of class trying to learn it”.  


In comparison to base-level classes, AP material is more challenging. However, both Anna Thomas and Bliss Johnson say that AP classes are not more stressful than other classes. Bliss Johnson says “I would say that by the time you begin to take AP classes you will be prepared to undergo the work and understanding that AP classes entail. While the work may be more challenging it is 100% manageable.”


In contrast Sonya Lasser says her AP classes are more stressful in comparison to a non AP class, but they are very similar to honors classes. 


If you would like to take an AP course, but are not sure which one to take, there are many options at Hastings. Sonya recommends AP microeconomics. She said “I loved math and social science combined.”


Bliss recommends AP psychology. She says “not only is the class informative and interesting, it is also so much fun. It really gives you a new perspective on how and why people act in the ways they do, and the psychological meaning  behind behavior and the influence of genetics in daily life.” 


Anna recommends AP European History. She says “I really enjoy the art history element that is incorporated into the course – we watch a lot of Simon Schama’s interpretations of the art of different historical periods, and it’s really interesting to see how art trends of the time reflect the historical events that are occurring. We also have really interesting discussions – it’s not just taking notes and memorizing dates, there’s a lot of class participation!”