Success in Pre-AP/AP Classes


Natasha Biswas, Reporter

AP classes are some of the most challenging classes you can take in high school. They usually contain a heavy workload and require a lot of studying outside of class. Though these classes may be difficult at time they can be very rewarding.


 Adam Farris, an AP biology teacher, believes that students should come into class with a curious mindset. For him “when a student is excited, interested, doesn’t know something but wants to” it’s easier for him to teach them.


Most AP classes require completion of a prerequisite class, but students also have the option of taking the prerequisite class while they take their AP class.


Although Farris says he doesn’t believe this option is for everyone, it is possible.


“It very challenging, but some of my best students were in that position, so I’m not totally against it,” Farris said.


Though Farris believes that it can be difficult taking a prerequisite while taking the AP class the best way to do well is to have good studying habits.


His main advice for his students is to “study with a friend who wants to get the same things out of the class as you do and do lots and lots of practice questions”.

Also in the science field, Geoffrey Hart, an AP Physics teacher, believes that students should come into class “aware that there is a stigma that physics is a hard class, when all that’s needed to succeed is to have conceptual mindset and an appreciation and desire to learn what is seen in real life”.


A conceptual mind set is necessary for success in any physics class, but unlike skills for different subjects it’s more difficult to hone the mind to see a certain way.


Despite these challenges, Hart presents a solution.

“Ask yourself various questions because the good thing about physics is that it’s observable,” Hart said.


Hart’s general advice for taking an AP class is to “not overwhelm yourself and make sure that you’re taking a class that you’re interested in it rather than taking it because it’s an AP class”.


Though the science classes are often difficult, challenging courses can go beyond the field of science. Some of the more difficult classes offered at Clements include Pre-AP/AP English classes.


Glenys McMennamy is an English III teacher and she says she expects all of her students to be “open to new ideas and skills”.


English can be a difficult class to master as it can be subjective. McMennamy says that the best way to study for a class is to “practice the kinds of skills that are done in class.”


As mentioned before English can be a difficult subject because it is difficult to your mark progress. It is still possible to improve however by “seeing models of insightful work from other students or some of the essays that are read in class and also asking yourself questions about the content you are discussing”.


Students often take a Pre-AP class to prepare for the rigorous curriculum of an AP course, but

before delving into a Pre-AP class, Macie Harper, a Pre-AP English teacher says that a “student needs to be aware that the class is demanding and is going to take a lot of their time and attention and will take a lot of effort on their part”.


Most people take a Pre-AP class with the desire to continue taking advanced classes of that subject, but how would one know whether or not they are prepared for that AP class?


Harper says, “firstly the student should be honest with themselves and ask themselves if they are willing to put in the work and should look at how they did in previous English classes”.


There are students who want to challenge themselves and go from a regular class to a AP/Pre-AP class. Harper says that “people who want to move to a Pre-AP class need to be ready to make that adjustment and put in the extra work to catch up to the other kids who have skills that they are unfamiliar with”.


Harpers main advice is that “practice makes perfect and a good way to improve is by looking at areas that they may be weak in”.

The Pre-AP/AP math courses that are offered here can be very rigorous and demanding.They can even be considered to be one of the more challenging courses as each year builds off of the knowledge from the previous years.

Amber Muscarello is a Pre-AP Algebra 1 teacher who looks for students that come into class with a “willingness to learn and willingness to work with others”.


As Algebra 1 Pre-AP is the foundation of all high school math classes it can be difficult to succeed in higher level math classes before fully completing the first year of Algebra 1.


According to Muscarello it is very difficult to take Algebra 1 while also taking a higher-level math because “in Geometry you have prior knowledge of Algebra concepts to understand what’s going on and if you haven’t learned that yet then you’re going to have a tough time”.


Since each year is a continuation of the material from the year before students often wonder if their math foundation is strong enough to support them in higher level math classes.


Muscarello says that “students that are ready are willing to do all the work and seek help when they come across something they don’t quite understand.”


Each Pre-AP/AP class, regardless of the subject, is challenging in it’s own way. The easiest way to succeed is to take an AP class in a subject that students find are already passionate about and are genuinely interested in learning more in.