2 years ago
Harvard prospective students

Should I Take 3 APs in 10th grade?


I'm currently in 9th grade (c/o 2025) and I'm unsure if I'm ready to take AP classes next year. I've never taken an AP class before and I'm not sure if it will be too hard for me. I'm planning on taking AP Seminar, AP World History, and AP Biology. I haven't taken a high school biology class yet but I planning on taking it over the summer this year to help prepare for AP Biology. Do you think that's a good idea? Or should I just take regular biology in 10th grade? The classes that I'm taking right now are English 1 honors, Algebra 2 honors, Spanish 1, P.E., Physical Science honors, and Art History and Criticism honors.

I know that top colleges are looking for advanced classes in my application, so I want to take some hard classes to increase my chances of getting into a good college. I just don't want to fail or get a bad grade in those AP classes because they're too hard. Also how hard do you think those 3 classes are? (1-10, 1 being the easiest and 10 being the hardest)

Thank you :)

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3 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

Hi @sophia.rn! I have actually taken all three of those AP classes so I think I can provide a well-rounded answer. I am currently a sophomore, and I took AP Bio and APWH last year, and AP Seminar this year (along with other AP classes). I personally found AP Bio not too difficult, but my interests lie heavily in the STEM field, especially those that overlap with biology, so to me the information made a lot of sense and I didn't struggle with it too much. For my school, there is summer work assigned for AP Bio, so I would suggest looking at the curriculum at least some, but I personally don't think that it was necessary to take an introductory biology course. The workload wasn't too strenuous and I found it relatively easy to manage and the information wasn't overwhelming. APWH on the other hand was much more difficult, even though I got the same score on the two exams. The workload was much, much more because of the sheer amount of information you needed to know and the connections you needed to make. Also, it is heavy in writing (the exam too), so if you don't like writing, or can't tolerate it- don't take the course. The workload was a lot more for this class, so was the studying and it was all in all required much more effort and work to remember and understand the information. AP Seminar, though, was by far the most work for one class I have ever done in my entire life. I'm not exaggerating when I said that I would do 1-2+ hours of homework for it every night, and not just because I was a slow worker- because of the nature of the course. The thing about AP Seminar is the exam starts in October and goes to May, with Performance Tasks being taken along the way, so you have to be on your toes and working hard the entire year. That being said, I don't think I will take a course that will influence the way I think as much as AP Seminar did, ever again. It's a unique course, so taking it will make you stand out, and I can't recommend it enough, but you need to be prepared for the research, writing, and workload that the course is made up of (the actual sit-down part for the exam was pretty easy).

2 years ago

Have you taken chemistry yet? Chemistry is a prerequisite for AP Biology. It is reported that people who have not taken chemistry before attempting AP Bio have not performed well on the AP exam. If you have taken chemistry, then go for it!

I haven't taken AP seminar but I have taken World and am taking bio right now. Both of those classes require a lot of reading.

Taking 3 AP classes sophomore year isn't uncommon, but remember. You still have ECs to build up, standardized testing to prep for, etc. If you think you can handle it, then do it. If not, then you probably shouldn't.

2 years ago

I, too, am planning on taking AP World Hist. and AP Bio next year, along with a few concurrent classes. I'd say your summer biology class would be a great plan, considering that AP Bio is infamous as one of the hardest AP classes. However, I don't say that to scare you away; if you want to apply to prestigious colleges (especially Harvard) you should take as many AP classes as you can. I have a very similar current schedule to you, too, so if you have good grades in all of your classes, I would absolutely recommend taking Advanced Placement courses.

In terms of how hard I think those classes are, I can't give a definite answer, because I'm a freshman, too. However, I did take one AP class this year, AP Computer Science Principles. I haven't taken the AP exam yet, but I got 100% on the Performance Task. Based on this experience, I can tell you that if you study well and know what the class/exam expects of you, you will do well. What I learned from APCSP is that you just have to tick every box, not necessarily be valedictorian. If you prepare yourself well, ask quesitons, go over the material, and ensure that you're doing in class what is required of you, you should not get a bad grade. That being said, of course, you know yourself the best. If you are uncomfortable with the aspect of Advanced Placement courses, and are not confident that you can perform well, you may want to consider sticking to Honours courses. The same goes if you feel you do not have a strong work ethic and may slack off in terms of studying. However, considering you're a Harvard prospective, you likely have the drive to do well in such classes, and so I would recommend you take them. I wish you good luck in selecting your classes!

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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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