The stigma that AP and honors courses are absolute treacherous waters exists, causing students to steer clear of them completely. In my past four years at Salisbury, I’ve taken all types of courses: regular classes, honors, and AP. Each courses contains their own pros and cons.
Regular courses- I’ve been in a variety of regular courses in every subject my freshman to junior year. One thing apparent in regular classes was I never tried as hard as my honors and AP classes. I personally believe this was due to lack of stress and too much comfortability with the ease of the course. Over the years, I’ve also noticed regular classes usually stick to compulsory teachings. Basically, this means there is not much room for any abstract thoughts, debates, or opinions.
Honors courses- Taking honors courses your freshman to sophomore year usually leads you on track to take an AP (advanced placement) course. Honors classes definitely opened my mind to free-thinking and created a more outspoken version of myself. Also, the school realizes there are extra responsibilities and work to honors courses, giving them a weight of 1.05. For example, if you get an 85 in an honors classes, it is calculated into your NGA as an 89. The weight is necessary because the tests in honors classes are a more difficult version the regular class students get. Honors courses also affect your summer, so expect tons of summer work! I remember my 10th grade Honors English summer work was to read 3 books and dialectal journal all of them, filling up more than one standard notebook.
AP courses- The most stressful out of the three are AP (advanced placement) courses. AP is much like honors, but still some differences are apparent. All of the AP courses mimic college courses, which allows you the possibility to receive college credits. AP courses teach to prepare you for the AP exam, an about 3 hour optional exam taken in May that allows you to receive college credits if you pass. It is okay if you do not want to take the AP exam, honestly majority of the class does not. My AP United States History class had more than 20 students, and only 7 ended up taking the actual exam. Another benefit to AP courses are they offer 1.1 weight, meaning if you get an 85 you will actually receive a 94 to your NGA. The downside of AP courses in my opinion is if you have a test in that class, say goodbye to your weekend because extensive studying is required. I also do not recommend taking more than two AP courses at once, because I am taking three as of now and it really does consume most of my school year.
In my opinion, taking honors and AP courses are beneficial. Especially if you are thinking about colleges, because they often look at strength of schedule. Zach Peace, an 11th grader at Salisbury who has taken a variety of regular, honors, and AP classes, conveyed in regular classes the students are expected to do things, so the teachers know the students have a basic understanding. In Honors and AP, students are expected to know things so not as many checkpoints are required. Nathan Rolls who as well took all regular, honors, and AP classes feels that in regular classes students do not have to worry as much about work throughout the week.