A Senior’s Transition Away From AP Classes


Adele Hoinacki, Contributing Writer

As Poly Prep moves into the 2022-2023 school year, we have left Advanced Placement courses behind us. Although AP classes provide students with a rigorous style of learning and the potential opportunity to receive college credit, advanced classes have taken their place due to the diversity of their curriculum and assessment styles. As Dean Doug Wong told the Polygon last year, “The majority of colleges don’t accept AP grades as college credit — students cannot really ‘graduate early’ — so AP vs. Advanced courses serves to indicate students’ deep academic interests and show them taking challenging classes.”

This past year, I took four AP classes out of Poly’s numerous offerings. This year, however, I am enrolled in advanced humanities classes instead. Looking back on junior year, I remember the hours of homework I received from each of my AP classes, studying for multiple choice tests, and cramming during the two-week AP testing period. Although I did enjoy each classes’ subject matter, my appreciation for my courses was overshadowed by the overwhelming feeling of their respective workload and expectations. 

The most notable comparison I can make between AP and Advanced classes has been in English.

I feel like as a class we are exploring our subject matter truly in depth, with a variety of assignments. ”

Last year I took AP English Language and this semester I am taking Advanced Law and Literature. While taking AP English Language, I did not feel like the class was geared towards improving my writing, reading, or analytical skills, but rather it was focused on preparing for the AP exam. Numerous in-class essays, multiple choice practice tests, and textbook reading consumed class time. I wanted to read books as a class, have group discussions, and explore our curriculum further, but this was not possible due to the demands and restraints of the AP curriculum. In my Advanced Law and Literature class, however, I feel like as a class we are exploring our subject matter truly in depth, with a variety of assignments and in-class work. This is due to the fact that the curriculum has no intrinsic limit as it is at the discretion of the teacher, not the College Board. 

This exact sentiment was expressed to me by one of my AP teachers this past year as she consistently apologized to our class for not being able to cover a unit or concept in full as we did not have enough time due to the breadth of AP curriculum. Additionally, all of my teachers shared that they did not like multiple choice testing within the classroom as it limited the display of a student’s understanding, as well as the fact that they desired more freedom in their curriculum. 

Advanced classes remedy these exact drawbacks of Advanced Placement Classes. Teachers now have autonomy in the classroom regarding assessments and subject matter. Consequently, students are able to learn more throughout their time in these courses as they are geared towards academic exploration, rather than testing preparation. I can confidently say that I’ve enjoyed my advanced classes much more than the AP classes I took because of this.