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📝: Stacy Vazquez 📅: May 4, 2023 🔗: /14-ap-classes-later
I took 14 AP Classes so you don't have to :winksob:
There are two things that would make fourteen year old Stacy feel like she has unlimited power:
1. Pull an uno reverse card on College Board and grade them.

2. Embrace my Abby Lee Miller arc and make my very own Dance Moms pyramid

Now that I'm in college, one of my greatest goals is to not have peaked in high school. And, this post is giving 1 step forward + 3 steps back, but I think my commentary could be useful to the high schoolers out there struggling to select classes. Plus, this post is a great inauguration to the series of tier lists that I will be posting throughout college; course evaluations will never be enough for me.

I know that every class has a unique purpose and the format of the course and exam is designed to best assess the skills relevant to it. But, for the sake of simplicity and objectivity, I will evaluate these classes using a six-point rubric that I believe encompasses their complexity into a score on 1-5 scale ;)

After a lot of thought and consideration, here is the rubric I came up with:

Thesis (Purpose)
1 pt
0: Lowkey showed up to the test with 0 clue on how to optimize my score, and just prayed for the best (yes I googled the course and exam description) 1: I knew what was expected of me, so I could slay if I wanted to
Contextualization (Relevance)
1 pt
0: Help me this is so boring, I will never use this again, I have no motivation to study for this class 1: This is so interesting, tell me more
Evidence (Content)
2 pts
0: I learned a lot, but none of it was useful for the exam HELP

0: They did not plan how they were gonna teach this in year, I lowkey have no idea what's going on / We did not finish the content by the AP exam SOB
1: Everything I learned was relevant in the exam; I knew what I had to know on test day WEEE

1: This class was well-paced; I was able to group content together to study and target my weaknesses
Reasoning (Well-Taught)
1 pt
0: Give me my salary and benefits because I taught myself most of the stuff
1: Love the teacher (I feel super guilty about giving them rankings); teachers KNOW their stuff
1 pt
0: I did not come out of this class feeling like a changed woman; I did not learn anything outside of exam content -16% >:(
1: This class has inspired me; I feel so knowledgeable; I would take this class again and again, lowkey / it has given me an enlightening perspective on the world as a whole

Now that I have established my grading criteria, I will share my ultimate AP pyramid; drum roll please…

So, here's my commentary for each class:

AP Spanish Literature: 1 / 1 / 2 / 1 / 1
For most people, this class was a hit or miss. For me, it was a complete hit. I knew what was expected of me and the class was structured incredibly well. Despite its focus on literature and analysis, I learned so much about history and literary and artistic movements; a lot of my knowledge crossed over to other classes. The works we studied were actually amazing, some of my favorite pieces of literature come from this class. My teacher loved reading literature, so he provided us with great insight into the literature. I felt that this class helped me discover and connect with literature in my mother tongue.

AP Biology: 1 / 1 / 2 / 1 / 0
Biology is by far the best structured AP class. The course and exam description itself was enough to study and revise the content for the exam. I went into it feeling very prepared, and I knew what I was expected to learn. The class was also very interesting; I even considered pursuing a bio major because of it. Last but not least, my teacher was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. She was so knowledgeable and passionate about the field, knew how to break down concepts, and was the right amount of rigorous. Quite frankly, this class made me a better student.

AP Calculus BC: 1 / 1 / 2 / 1 / 0
Calc BC was one of the classes that I felt very confident in. I came out of the class feeling very comfortable in calculus. Series and parametrics changed my way of thinking about math, which has helped me conceptualize more difficult topics in college. My teacher was fabulous, so I was able to get a lot of practice before the exam, even though it was COVID year. It didn't change my perception of the world, but it got the job done.

AP Art History: 1 / 0 / 1 / 1 / 1
Art History is one of those classes that rely heavily on memorization, so you knew what you had to do but you weren't invested in the class. As a result, the content was super relevant to the exam, but the structure of review, memorization, and go was kind of a flop. My teacher was wonderful though and did the best she could to keep us engaged. I do, however, feel like I came out of the class understanding history and culture a lot more deeply; it gave me a completely new skillset.

AP Macroeconomics: 1 / 1 / 2 / 0 / 0
AP Macro was actually a pretty fun class. I learned something completely new and got to use some of my logic skills. I felt prepared for the exam throughout the class and everything we learned gave me a solid introduction to economics. My teacher was very intelligent, but he wasn't the best at explaining things. So, since this was a completely new subject, I had to do a significant amount of self teaching. The class simplified a lot of econ, so almost everything I learned was not really applicable outside of class.

AP Calculus AB: 1 / 0 / 2 / 1 / 0
I took this class as a prerequisite for Calc BC, so I felt like I got a solid foundation for calculus. I knew how to perform well on the exam, and everything we learned was relevant. I had the same teacher for both classes, so, naturally, the teaching was great. I just found this class a little less interesting since I hadn't really learned any applications of calculus yet.

AP Psychology: 0 / 1 / 1 / 1 / 0
Quite frankly, on exam day, I had very little clue what I was doing. I went through the class and learned the material, but I never really understood how it would be assessed. It seemed like they would throw random vocab words at you and ask you to explain them in context, which is hard to prepare for. A lot of the content was interesting though; explaining human behavior encourages a lot of reflection and thought. This class was mostly memorization, so the content was relevant. I just wish they relied less on definitions and more on encouraging thinking and hypothesizing.

AP United States History: 0 / 1 / 1 / 1 / 0
It's the way that the second DBQ I wrote in my life was the exam DBQ. APUSH is one of the hardest AP classes, and I felt it was really hard to prepare for it. I felt like I had to change my thinking to “what would College Board think” and develop a lot of exam strategies. This resulted in the class feeling like an SAT part 2. The class did give me a lot of new insight on US History. It is way too packed, though; we did not finish the course content by exam day. My teacher was pretty good, and she made the class as engaging as it could be.

AP Physics I: 0 / 0 / 2 / 1 / 0
This class was so SKULL. I did a lot of exam practice using past exams, but when I would use AP Classroom, a lot of the questions were in a completely different style. The exam ended up mirroring AP Classroom SOB. They also got rid of two units about a month before the exam and made most of the exam on collisions. So, if you didn't master collisions, it was incredibly difficult. Overall, I just felt unprepared for the test. AP Physics I is a lot of memorization, so the content was relevant to the course but not to real life. I wish I had learned calculus-based physics instead. It was helpful when it came to conceptualizing physics in college, but I felt as experienced as someone that was brand new to physics.

AP Spanish Language and Culture: 1 / 0 / 1 / 1 / 0
I went into the AP Spanish exam feeling like I had a template in my head for every response. So, I felt prepared. However, the rest of the class felt super random. A lot of the content we learned about social media, beauty standards, and environmentalism never appeared on the exam, though it was well structured. My teacher was a good amount of rigorous; she gave us feedback such that we could improve and target a good score on the exam.

AP Statistics: 1 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0
I will always say that AP stats was a bunch of fake math; a lot of the formulas and concepts we learned felt arbitrary, and I did significantly more writing than math. Stats highkey felt like the humanities of math. I knew what I had to know, but I could not make myself interested in it. I did appreciate the structure of the class though; by the end of it, I was able to connect all the concepts and answer FRQs. I hate giving this class a 0 in teaching because my teacher is one of the kindest people, but I feel like no one can teach this class. It's far too boring and oversimplified to be able to properly teach it.

AP United States Government: 0 / 1 / 1 / 0 / 0
This class was by far the more relevant AP class I took. However, it was a weird combination of vocabulary-based and argument-based, such that I had a mega quizlet but also needed to know how to write. The content we learned was relevant but a lot of it was repetitive so the course structure was a little unclear. However, since a lot of what was discussed was relevant, the class was near intuitive.

AP English Literature: 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0
Ranking English classes last is giving major STEM energy, but, objectively, these classes felt so random. I went into the exam not really knowing what to do. All of the AP Dailys just echoed the course rubric, so it was quite difficult to prepare for the exam; you didn't know what to expect. The stories we read and essays I wrote in class did give me a little preparation, so I would say the content was as relevant as it could've been. Needless to say, my teacher tried her best, and I appreciate her, but this course is far too unpredictable for her to have done better.

AP English Language: 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0
Last and least, AP English Language anI have 0 memories of this class. We finished the course content in one semester and then read Gatsby for the rest of the year. This class was the ultimate unpredictable AP course. It felt like we just learned some key buzz words and hoped for the best. My teacher did try her best to help us digest the rubric and learn the required skills. It was just very difficult to apply without extra practice.

Soooo, thank you for coming to my venting session. Though I didn't get much credit for the AP classes I took in high school, I still don't truly regret taking any of them. I felt like they each taught me something new, whether it was “how to market a bad essay” or “practice makes permanent.” I learned how to adapt, memorize, and survive.

Moral of the story: AP builds character ;)

Disclaimer: The following post reflects solely my personal experience in high school and is not intended to be a universal evaluation of the classes mentioned. The opinions expressed are based on my own preferences and learning style. I do not intend to criticize or belittle the hard work and dedication of any of my teachers, as I acknowledge their efforts to provide quality education. Rather, my intention is to share my perspective on the classes I took and how they impacted my academic journey. I encourage readers to keep in mind that their own experiences may differ and to approach this post with an open mind.
Post Info
📝: Stacy Vazquez
📅: May 4, 2023
🔗: /14-ap-classes-later
🏷️: Favorites High School Tier Lists
Thanks for reading!