By Maithri Nimmagadda
We as students spend around a 1,000 hours in classes according to the data collected by the Education Commission of the States. So there’s no doubt that classes are important and a major part of our lives. With classes holding such significance, there is some stress around what classes to choose especially concerning the level. Yes, I am addressing academic, accelerated, honors, and advanced placement.
Some may say and do say to just go with what is recommended for you, but that advice may not be appropriate in all situations. When an individual or student feels that she is not being challenged or using her full ability for a class, she should feel comfortable overriding even though recommended for a certain level.
Although many disapprove of overriding, it should not be something that holds a stigma because sometimes a student knows what she is capable of better than others do. This same situation holds true in the opposite respect, that is to say when a student would like to underride because she feels a class is too hard for her. She shouldn’t feel pressured to stay in that class.
This issue often happens as I have directly observed with some of my classmates. They are not doing well in a class but worry if they drop down, their peers will notice and judge them. But in some situations for some students, staying in that class could be even more detrimental than the social stigma because often times students who stay in a class that is too difficult end up with a grade that does not reflect their ability in addition to the added stress of the workload.
Students should know and recognize that dropping out is not a sign of failure; it may be just a sign that a class is not fit for that individual. So classmates should not ridicule one who drops down from a class, nor should a student feel uncomfortable dropping down from a class when facing too much difficulty with it.
So how can you determine which class level is best for you? As someone who's been through many of the levels of classes, I can give a general gist of them, but it is important to understand that my descriptions of the levels are based on my experience and cannot hold true in every situation. Speaking with your counselor, teachers, and peers about different classes is the best way to find out more about class levels.
Academic classes are usually ones that focus more on in-class work than work outside the classroom. Accelerated classes are normally almost equivalent to honors classes with respect to classwork but may include less homework. Tests in accelerated classes are usually at a difficulty level between academic’s and honors’s tests, as you might expect.
Honors classes are frequently a step up with homework and tests but with proper time management, usually not ones that require more than two hours a night for studying and homework.
Lastly there are Advanced Placement classes, or AP. Contrary to popular belief, AP classes are not always drivers of insomnia and stress in teenagers, although that is sometimes the case. They are difficult classes, but they are designed to prepare one for college-level work in subjects about which one is passionate. So if you are eager for college credit, interested in the subject, and willing to put in hard work throughout the year, then AP classes can be a good fit.
In the end, though, it should not just matter what levels your classes are. You should always apply all your effort and hard work and know your limits and strengths. Most importantly, choose a path that interests you and from which you can learn valuable skills.