by Jordan Katzeff
Elite colleges all over the country look for students with GPAs above 4.0, but how can a student attain that GPA?
Honors and AP courses both offer college-level course work and a letter-grade GPA boost, but they have a few key differences.
AP English teacher William Cautero explains what exactly an AP class is.
“AP means Advanced Placement and has a passing score of 3 or a bit higher, in some cases 4 or 5,” said Cautero. “Students earn college credit which advances them when they enter college.”
While Honors courses don’t prepare students for an AP exam, Honors Spanish teacher Marlene Miranda sees several benefits.
One might ask how taking an Honors class is helpful to a student.
“Well, it’s helpful because it’s more advanced and faster paced than regular classes and it helps prepare you for an AP class,” said Miranda. “Taking an Honors class is like an AP class because it helps boost your GPA and colleges take into consideration that it’s different from other classes.”
According to Cautero, AP classes have enough difficulty to challenge students.
“An AP class has the potential to challenge students because of the increased breadth and depth of the class,” said Cautero. “AP English requires a great deal of analysis, writing skill and close reading.”
AP Spanish teacher Mallorie Wilkerson believes it is important to take an AP class in high school.
“Taking an AP class is good for anyone who wants to get into a 4-year college,” said Wilkerson. “These classes tend to be more college-like; you don’t receive many points for homework and you have to study on your own and be motivated enough to want to succeed. AP has the tendency to demand that the student uses higher thinking skills.”
Teachers had mixed opinions about which class is harder.
Miranda believes that the AP courses are harder than the Honors courses.
“It’s hard to say which is harder, but I would say that the AP classes are harder because there’s more pressure and an exam,” said Miranda.
Cautero, however, believes that both of the classes are equally difficult.
“Honors and AP are both challenging classes and are offered at different grade levels,” said Cautero. “Some of the texts are a bit more challenging at the AP level.”
Sophomores this year are given the option to take AP and Honors classes, such as AP Human Geography and AP European History. Sophomore Kimberly Johnson says she signed up for Honors Algebra 2/Trigonometry because she wanted a challenge.
“Last year I took Geometry and I thought it was pretty easy, so I wanted to challenge myself,” said Johnson. “This class is harder than Geometry because it moves at a much faster pace.”
Sophomore Seth Blume also took an advanced class to challenge himself.
“The reason I signed up for AP Human was because I was curious about the topic, but I really wanted to challenge myself,” said Blume. “It’s a hard class. There’s tons of homework and you really need to stay on top of things. If you fall behind, you’ll be eating their dust.”
In May the AP exam will be given, which is a three-hour test about the year’s studies. While AP classes will have been explicitly training students for that exam, Honors classes will continue training students to take an AP class in the future.