Honors Taken Before APs Encourages Success

By Lucy Retterer, Staff Writer

At Trinity Hall, students are taught to challenge themselves, and as they advance into another year, a wider variety of rigorous courses is available. A new policy, however, has recently changed what courses students can and cannot take. Students must now take the honors level science class before proceeding into the AP level. While some may oppose this because it limits the available classes they still can take, this rule is actually for the better.

AP classes are the top level of their particular topic and are extremely difficult, often entailing large amounts of work, dedication and effort to manage. Senior Gill Thorp has taken seven AP classes in her years at Trinity Hall along with her other curricula. “AP classes have been by far been the most difficult ones I have taken at Trinity,” she said.

AP science classes especially expect students to have at least some basic level of knowledge on the subject, so the “beginners’ lessons” and “simpler ideas” may be skipped. Also, AP classes move at a faster pace than other classes due to the AP exam. Even if an AP teacher wanted to cover these foundational concepts, there would not be enough time to cover all of the other topics necessary for the exam in May.

Senior Hannah Reynolds took AP Biology and AP Chemistry without taking the honors level classes in those subjects and felt that it made the AP class more difficult for her. “I had to continually meet with teachers throughout the year to review not only new concepts but also ideas that were taught in the honors class that would be necessary to know for the AP test,” she said.

Although students at Trinity Hall begin work for their AP classes over the summer, that extra time still might not be enough to cover all of the ground missed from not taking the honors level science class. Being comfortable with a topic and learning more about it are entirely different from trying to learn the basics and advanced material at the same time. Without the baseline information, students will find it difficult to comprehend the more complex subjects of AP science courses, and, as Thorp mentioned, AP classes are difficult to begin with.

Students should be thankful for the new rule that prevents skipping the honors science class to take it at the AP level. Students at Trinity Hall are already under stress to achieve to the best of their abilities, and going directly into an AP science class without primary knowledge on the subject will make it more difficult for them to maintain high grades. The new rule ensures that students are prepared for these classes and will be able to perform to the best of their abilities. While a student’s end result in an AP class depends on the amount of effort applied, if a student goes into an AP course with a strong work ethic, a growth mindset and especially the honors level class under her belt, she will be on the path to success.

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