Taking AP, or advanced placement, classes is one of the best decisions a student can make in high school. The higher level learning that one receives in these classes prepares him for college and improves his critical thinking. By taking an AP class, one not only improves his mind, but also has the opportunity to earn college credit. Receiving the college credits saves both time and money, each being valuable resources in college. If you are nervous to take an AP class because you think it may pose too big of a challenge, read on for some valuable tips from someone who has survived her share of AP classes.
1. Keep in mind, this is not a regular level class. It might seem like a silly thing to say, but I have seen people act like AP classes were no different than regular classes. Needless to say, not many of them succeeded in their AP classes. You cannot just slide by in an AP class by coming to class and doing nothing more than the bare minimum. AP classes will require more effort, but in the long run, it is by far worth it. Tip: The more you put in, the more you will get out.
2. Ask the teacher for help when you need it. If you have questions, don't understand a topic, or need him to slow down and elaborate, tell him! A teacher's job is to help you; that is what he gets paid for. The teacher will be happy you asked too, because it shows you were paying attention and want to learn more. Trust me, you will not look like an idiot if you ask questions in class; in fact, other students may actually be grateful. You may ask something they needed further clarification on, and were too afraid to ask themselves. I can't tell you the number of times someone helped me ace a reading quiz by getting the answer to it immediately prior.
3. Explore additional resources outside of the classroom. Learning doesn't end when the bell rings. If you want to strive in an AP class, you will need to study after class as well. If you want to delve deeper into a specific topic your teacher has stated is important, try researching it further on the internet. If you're determined to get a five on your exam in May, borrow or buy an AP study book to utilize throughout the year. Tip: If you're not sure what book to buy, ask your teacher. Many teachers have a favorite book that they can recommend to you, i.e. five steps to a five.
4. Don't procrastinate! We've all been known to do it; for some, it's a fatal flaw. Let me be the first to tell you that it will be your ultimate downfall. Most AP classes dish out work fairly quickly, and the longer you put it off for, the more work you will have piling up. Especially when it comes to reading assignments, you need to stay on schedule or you will fall behind and struggle in class as well. Tip: Keep an agenda or planner if you have trouble remembering the what work you have due for which class. It can be overwhelming at times when you have more than one AP class at a time.
5. Do not let one poor grade make you lose hope. The biggest thing to remember for an AP class is to learn from your mistakes. Pay attention when the teacher goes over the test, and correct the questions you missed so you can review them later. You will need to know to information for the AP exam, so correcting yourself along the way can make for an easier time in May when you need to study. Once you discover what you did wrong the first time, you can work harder to achieve the goal you want on the next test. My spirits were crushed after my first test in my first AP class, but I didn't let it deter me from trudging on. Perseverance is key, so make sure to keep your chin up and strengthen your step.
If you follow these steps throughout the course of the year, I can almost guarantee you will survive and even flourish in your AP class(es).