AP vs Honors

AP vs Honors

To AP or not to AP? That is the question.

Advanced Placement classes are universally known as rigorous and challenging courses that only a select few will choose to endure. Some feel as if they have to take these classes in order to prove to others or themselves that they are capable of such complex thinking. But what gives AP classes this reputation?

What makes them so difficult? Are they worth the effort, or is it better to stay in an honors level class?

It seems obvious that AP classes come with an intense workload, but it may be worse than expected. When asked to comment on the average amount of time spent on homework in AP English, Kim Kowalick, a junior at Pentucket, said, “It’s a lot of hours…it’s too many hours.”

Other students said the same thing, that AP classes hold hours of work per day. Olivia Hamilton, a senior at Pentucket, said that during her junior year she spent at least five hours a day on homework while only taking two AP classes.

Students were also asked to comment on the difference between honors and AP level classes. Pentucket junior Sara Kershaw said, “At one point in the year [honors classes] had written one essay when we had already done four.” Students also said that honors level classes have much less work, as well as a much lower stress level. Olivia Hamilton believes that AP students must spend more time on homework than honors students because the work in AP is much more intense. She also says, “I learned more in AP English than I did in English the two years before it combined.”

However, when asked if students get more out of AP classes than honors classes, the students who were asked said yes. Kim Kowalick said that she recommends AP if you are really invested in the class, and are willing to deal with the stress and set aside lots of time. Sara Kershaw also recommends taking AP classes but says, “Don’t take it if you feel like you have to, cause you’ll suffer through it.” Olivia Hamilton says that taking an AP class helps you to get more out of what you are learning than an honors class.

When asked if they regret taking AP classes most students said no, it is worth the effort. These students said they were willing to take on the workload because they enjoyed the subject and wanted to take the class. However, Kim Kowalick said, “I regret taking AP English, 100%.” Students say that it is only worth taking an AP if you really want to take it.

From a teacher’s perspective, a student should only take an AP class if he/she is ready for it, if they are not ready to invest in the time and effort than honors is the right choice for the student. Mr. Goguen says, “There are deeper concepts in AP, you need to have a better understanding not of the subject, but of how the skills you have are used.” He believes that in AP you have to challenge yourself intellectually.

When it comes to AP versus honors, the decision depends on the student, their learning style and dedication to the subject and class. Therefore, the decision to take AP relies on the student and how willing he/she is to put time and effort into the class.

To AP or not to AP? That is no longer the question.