hi, currently a rising junior, and it's time for me to choose my classes for next year. I will be taking ap chem, ap capstone, ap physics, ap lang, and biotech. The new ap (ap precalc) class is offered at my school, and it's going to be reached online. Since I will be taking precalc, I have the option to take either HN or AP. I was strongly considering taking ap precalc because I think it will make me stand out more in the college app, and I read that it will be really useful for those who are planning of taking AP calc ab/bc, and those who want to major in the stem field, which I'm intending to. I'm doing pretty decent in math classes, though I'm not confident If I should be taking ap precalc, in terms of passing the exam, and I think there won't be more online resources provided compared to other math classes. For the precalc student who took and is taking the class, how is the workload? Should I use the opportunity and take the class? or Should I just take precalc HN?
Hello! I took precalc last year, and it was an honor/college course. I was able to receive college credit for the completion of the course through a college. My experience: the workload wasn't much. My teacher gave us homework daily and tests about every other week because she would teach a cluster of topics at a time. That said, every teacher is going to approach teaching precalc differently, even if it will be an AP course. I currently take AP Calc, and I feel that my math class last year prepared me enough because my teacher was thorough in her lessons. Also, I would consider math one of my academic strong suits, so I find these courses manageable; they will challenge you in certain areas, but you will get the hang of what's expected of you.
Based on the courses you are taking next year, your academic profile is top tier. Although taking AP courses is a great way not only to enhance your profile/resume but also challenge yourself in the classroom. Once you make a commitment to taking these rigorous courses, you must first reflect on what you are going to endure next year. AP courses do have a higher workload. I'm currently in four AP classes: AP chem, gov, lit, and calc. Although I don't have the curriculum difficult, it's a lot of work. Sometimes, I struggle prioritizing my time equally with all classes because I end up focusing on certain classes at times. That said, you might want to ask yourself if you can manage four, let alone five, AP classes. If you are taking AP classes now, see how the workload of your classes affects the work you have in other classes as well as any extracurriculars you are involved in.
Bottom-line: Having a good precalc foundation matters most if you want to take AP calc in the future. Junior year is a vital year because this is the time where your academic best is important and the thought of college begins. I wouldn't overload yourself with a bunch of APs, especially since you might be taking two exams in one day, depending how the exams overlap. Also, you should be taking AP courses with the purpose of challenging yourself in subjects you feel confident in, not because it looks good for colleges to see. The credit you receive with APs is unpredictable; some colleges don't accept 3s or 4s. Nonetheless, it's really up to you. You know yourself better than anyone else. If you feel that you can handle an extra AP, go for it. My advice is to just do what's comfortable for you. I will also say that math can be a challenging subject, so I would only recommend taking AP precalc if you have a strong math background and feel confident in the subject. It's better to feel confident in something than potentially struggle. Try seeing if colleges in your area offer credit for precalc; ask a guidance counselor and do some research.
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