A Wildcat’s guide to AP classes
May 10, 2021
For students who opt for a challenge in their schedule, each year the question of which AP classes to take looms. Which are going to be too difficult? Which will bombard you with work? And which will be worth the extra stress and effort? Seniors Maddy and Mikayla have been around the block of AP classes and are here to advise which of the advanced classes offered at Wilsonville are worth it and which you should avoid at all costs.
Hi, I’m Maddy! I am a class of 2021 senior and by the end of this year I’ll have completed nine AP classes, beginning freshman year. I have had mostly positive experiences, but there are definitely some things I would take back if I could. Keep reading for my opinions on the AP classes in my repertoire.
AP Human Geography
Although this class was taught by Guay (if you know, you know) when I took it as a freshman, and nowadays the experience would be much different, I would definitely still recommend this class. The material is very approachable and easy to understand, and it was a great introduction to AP classes for a freshman. But, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a relatively easy AP class and exam!
Admittedly, I am completely biased in my review for APUSH because I love history and Ms. Hamer was definitely one of my favorite teachers ever. I loved APUSH, but I won’t lie: it’s a ton of work. If you’re up for a challenge, I would recommend the class because I still use a lot of the skills I learned like writing, multiple choice testing, and note-taking, but there is no shame in opting out of this very challenging and work-heavy class.
AP English 11
Great class! It is super easy, workload wise, but will definitely make you a better writer. A lot of juniors take this because it is fairly approachable for anyone. It is a writing class, so you only read one book at the very end of the year and spend a lot of time doing timed writes (they aren’t as bad as you think). Even if you don’t like English very much, still take this class!
AP Environmental Science
Well this is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the material is a lot of common sense and easy to understand stuff. Plus, you get to go on fun field trips and nature walks! However, be prepared to not do well on in-class tests or the AP exam. It’s still a pretty easy A, but you just have to be okay not acing every test and possibly not doing well on the exam because it is structured weirdly and requires a lot of specificity. Overall, I’d recommend this class because it is an easy AP and very fun when you’re with friends!
AP Calculus AB/BC
Usually juniors will take calculus AB (first year calculus), and then some of them will choose to continue to BC (an extension/second year calculus) for their senior year, depending on how they did in AB. These are certainly challenging and you’ll need to dedicate some time for homework and studying. That said, in my experience, once you get the hang of it, it’s just another math class. I would recommend it because it has made me a much better student, and don’t shy away from it because it seems intimidating, as long as you’re willing to put in the work!
This is not as hard a class as I was expecting. The material is challenging, but Schauer set up the class so that it is pretty approachable. It’s a good class to challenge yourself so I’d recommend it, especially if Schauer is still teaching it!
Take this class! It does not matter what math class you are in; stats is a great AP math class if you don’t take calculus, and if you are in it, stats is totally different, so it works great taking both. It is honestly pretty easy, in my opinion, and stats is applicable to just about anything.
AP English 12
I may be biased because I never took AP chem or AP physics… but I think AP lit has to be about the hardest AP class ever. Where the junior class is for writing, AP lit is for reading. I love reading, and this class still kicked my butt. It is really hard and the analysis you have to do on extremely difficult poetry and prose is advanced. To be honest, I’d recommend this class to very few people. But, I have to admit that I learned more in this class than probably any other. I enjoyed a lot of it, even though it was so hard practically every day. I won’t go around endorsing this class, but do what you will with that information.
Maddy DuQuette is a senior at Wilsonville High School and this is her first year as a part of WBN. She has played soccer and tennis throughout her time...
Hi, I am Mikayla and throughout high school I have taken 8 AP classes. Most courses were a positive experience, but teachers and classmates definitely had a big sway in making or breaking it. Trying to take away bias, here is my perspective of the AP classes I have experienced!
To cover all the material, the class had to go at a fast pace while also completing labs. The material was difficult because it was a combination of memorization of equations and compounds while also needing to apply concepts to problems. Despite being challenging, you learn a lot and working in the lab was fun.
Most of the learning required reading the textbook, which was boring and time-taking. If you are good at memorizing facts and dates, you will do great! Otherwise you will need to put in a little more work to get the same outcome.
You have no preconceived knowledge, and everything you learn is new. Once you get over that hurdle, and practice the problems that are most challenging to you, you will do great! At least in my experience, staying up to date is the most important, especially since the material builds up and can use several concepts within one problem.
Compared to chemistry, biology is much easier. You are able to learn the material in multiple ways and allow for a better understanding. Some units were definitely easier to learn than others because some we have learned in previous classes, but I highly recommend taking this course!
Although it is classified as a science course, the class acts more like a history course. You work on reviewing famous psychologists, experiments, and techniques through lectures and discussions. Some units were definitely more interesting than others and definitely had different opinions of the class depending on what unit we were studying.
AP English 11
Once you learned the terms and concepts, the biggest challenge was getting the practice in order to detect them in literature. With more practice of writing essays and annotating the essays, the better you got. Everyone should take this class mainly because by the end, your writing improved significantly.
AP Human Geography
The information needed was easy to learn and parts could be considered common sense. Additionally, it’s a great class to take for your first AP because it isn’t too overwhelming and the test is shorter compared to others.