The Advanced Placement (AP) program is a crucial part of North Atlanta’s curriculum. AP courses are college level classes that challenge students to work and think at a higher level. Every year North students partake in rigorous AP courses across a broad range of subjects. To mark the end of each AP course, students must complete an exam which can count towards college credit. This year’s modified 4-by-4 schedule, where students take 4 classes every day for one semester, has had a significant impact on North Atlanta’s Advanced Placement Program.
In past years, AP classes, for the most part, have been year-long courses. This allows for the curriculum to be stretched evenly throughout the year leading right up to the AP exam. Students spend a countless number of hours studying, reviewing, and preparing for their AP exams. AP courses and exams are tough, and it’s important that students are properly prepared when it comes time to take the exam.
For students who are taking multiple AP classes this year, the 4-by-4 schedule has made assigning those courses evenly throughout their schedule a difficult task. Some students have ended up with all of their Advanced Placement courses in one semester. This has resulted in many students struggling to juggle multiple AP classes that have been piled into one semester rather than split between the first and second semesters. “It’s definitely been difficult having both of my AP courses this semester,” said sophomore Duskin Balch, “The workload can be pretty overwhelming and it can be very stressful.”
Another prominent issue that students are facing is for those who are taking an AP class during the first semester of the year. With the new 4-by-4 schedule, for students who take an AP course during the first semester, there is an entire semester separating when they take the class and when they take the official exam. These students are now faced with the difficult task of staying on top of the content during the semester-long period, where they are not actively taking the class, leading up to the exam. This might lead to students having difficulty properly preparing for the exam, as they have to recall all of the information that they learned in the past semester that is no longer fresh in their minds. “It definitely makes me nervous to have an entire semester separating when I’m taking my AP class and when I’m taking my exam,” said freshman Guy Latham, “I feel like I might struggle to remember all of the things I learned when it comes time to take the test.”
Advanced Placement classes are difficult, and this year’s adapted schedule has potential to make things a tad more stressful for North’s AP students. It’s a new challenge, but definitely one that the Dubs can conquer.