The Stress of AP Students

Nicole Bowlan, Editor

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Every year, excelling students tend to flock to AP classes without taking into consideration the amount of effort, time, and productivity these classes actually take. Many students take these classes solely for the intention of having a weighted GPA, although most have good reasoning behind why they want to be involved in these classes, such as college preparation.

“A college-level class can provide a greater challenge and increased mental stimulation,” Neil Kokemuller, an education writer, stated in an online article. “Succeeding in dual-credit courses can show students that they have the intelligence and study habits to do well in college.”

Many students begin to wonder if taking AP classes is actually worth it. The stress of having a huge assignment looming over your head and the time these classes take away from other activities in students’ lives begins to take a negative toll. Regardless if they are excellent students, and they make exceptional grades, the stress of these classes can sometimes wear them out. Practicing good stress reducing techniques can help.

“These strategies will help them in high school to be successful academically and emotionally, but really throughout their lives,” said Shaunessy-Dedrick, a lead researcher for a multiyear study instigating student’s stress. “When they successfully navigate difficult high school settings, they can go on and be successful in high-demand settings…they’ll have more skills to cope with those situations.”

Taking the time to make sure projects and assignments are completed on time and of good quality can sometimes add extra stress on AP students than it would for students enrolled in regular classes. In AP classes, it is expected from teachers that these assignments are done well and efficiently. This is different than regular classes because they usually take things that are done fairly well, but not so meticulous. AP teachers are always available for help, but it is up to the student to reach out.

“There’s an assumption since these kids are doing so well in school, they don’t need a whole lot of extra support,” Shaunessy-Dedrick stated. “There’s misunderstanding of what the needs of these kids are.”

If an enrolling student is heavily involved with sports and extracurricular activities, AP seems to be more challenging because there is less time available to study or work on assignments. Even if the student just has a job, the late-night work schedule and the tedium of AP classes can become immensely stressful and exhausting. An AP student needs to have time management skills in order to be successful and excel in these classes.

“Time management allows students to take control of their lives rather than follow the flow of others,” Lowfelder stated in an online article. “It helps them accomplish more, make better decisions, and work more efficiently.”

Whether you plan to take an AP class for the weighted GPA, standing out in college forms, earning college credit, or just for the challenge of pushing yourself, be sure to look into them before turning in your enrollment form. AP isn’t for everyone, and it is okay if you do not want to pile on extra stress onto your academic plate.