AP: Absolutely Preposterous MAG

November 1, 2007
By Sophie Wasserman, San Diego, CA

Weapons of Mass Instruction have been discovered in schools nationwide. Standardization of education is a plague that comes in many forms but none as detrimental as the AP class.

AP, or Advanced Placement, enrollment supposedly signifies that a ­student is intelligent enough to take college-level courses in high school. In reality, it’s just Academic Pollution. You do not learn the material to become enlightened. You learn to pass a test. You learn so that you can impress ­admissions officers with your weighted GPA. You learn so that when you enter college as a sophomore, you can fast-track your way to a high-paying job and the “real world.” But signing away your childhood to the College Board is Absolutely Preposterous.

Dealing with those gifted children who actually want to be educated often presents a challenge to administrators. Easily bored in classes that don’t stimulate them, these students release their pent-up frustration at their intellectual stagnation in the form of classroom disruptions. The solution? Lump all the Annoying Prodigies into one class and teach them the higher-level material they crave.

However, this isolation only creates further problems: Students are stratified into two spheres of existence. Like oil and water, these groups rarely mix or interact, resulting in an unmotivated class of slackers and a bunch of Antisocial Puppets, neither group knowing how to deal with the other. School should develop students socially as well as academically, preparing them to coexist with people from all walks in this rapidly changing world.

The fundamental rule in AP classes is Avoid People. Who has time for ­distracting social engagements? The massive homework load, looming deadlines and supplementary study groups slowly suck up your week.

Life doesn’t exist outside of meaningless busywork. Most often this ­consists of Absentminded Prattle, or the art of explaining concepts that you don’t understand, care about, or ever really need. The essay is no longer a forum for sharing opinions or arguing a case; it’s a formulaic regurgitation of exactly what the teacher/grader/counselor wants to hear. Anything Pedantic scores very well. Dick and Jane don’t play ball; Dick and Jane ­violently propel spherical objects at each other’s cranial cavities.

Weekends are for Application Padding: community service, multiple musical instruments, perhaps a sport or two, and other such “educational experiences.” Only Approved Pastimes are permissible. If a college wouldn’t care, neither should you.

Aggressive Parents enhance the whole experience with constant poking and pushing: “Do more, do it better, and do it faster than everyone around you. Don’t slack off. Don’t you want get into college?” Flipping burgers at McDonald’s is a favorite all-purpose threat, as if no respectable place of ­employment accepts applications from students who can’t name all the Chinese dynasties or integrate complex polynomials. Applying Pressure is a parental specialty, ­although the constant in-class reminders about judgment day (a.k.a. the AP test) don’t do anything to alleviate the stress.

Abandon Principles and accept it; shape yourself to fit the College Board cookie-cutter. AP is not learning but memorizing and rewording when prompted. AP is Always Procrastinating, staying up until one to finish that paper due tomorrow or the last of those French conjugations. AP is an obstacle course with never-ending hoops to jump through. AP is being taught ­exactly what to think and how to think it. At the end of the year, they evaluate on how well you regurgitate.

And so we sit in our little box, ­swallowing unquestioningly and vomiting on command, waiting for the sweet freedom that college brings. But can we survive the blinding sun of ­individual opinion? Or are we Altered Permanently to obey?



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This article has 104 comments.


on Jun. 18 2016 at 10:38 pm
Della1919 BRONZE, Chongqing, Other
4 articles 0 photos 3 comments
actually,I want to say it depends on people.some students have the capacity of balancing between AP and self activities;they are more likely to consider AP as a chance to improve themselves.other students need to do other things more important than AP,so they don't have the AP to polish themselves or prove themselves.

Secret1237 said...
on Feb. 29 2016 at 10:49 am
Secret1237, New City, New York
0 articles 0 photos 9 comments
Honestly I know plenty of people in AP classes and not to be mean- they're nowheres close to prodigies or geniuses. I think how a person handles school and higher level classes depends on that person and their abilitiy to deal with stress.

on Feb. 7 2016 at 8:14 pm
PresCocoRain GOLD, Montgomery, Alabama
17 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
-Rad Bradbury

And by socially, I mean academically. Sorry.

on Feb. 7 2016 at 8:10 pm
PresCocoRain GOLD, Montgomery, Alabama
17 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
-Rad Bradbury

I'm doing a debate in the next couple of days about standardized testing and just education in general, and I believe this article hits home about AP. I am in AP myself (and I do enjoy it) but with all that I've learned, I've found it unfair that the other 85% of my peers cannot get what I'm learning: critical thinking skills, time management, speech, test-taking, reading and history comprehension, etc. It's like, if we need all these skills to survive in college, why didn't school just teach us these things earlier instead of waiting for the "smart kids" to get into an AP class. Everyone should have an opportunity to develop those skills that are so needed in college. You're right that in saying that AP messes us up socially and provides unfair boundaries between the advanced and regular just because I happened to make an A in two classes. Thank you for writing this.

on Jan. 16 2016 at 9:50 pm
simplyinferior GOLD, Ottawa, Illinois
15 articles 0 photos 23 comments
This is so amazing and unbelievably true. I especially adore the play on the letters A P throughout this. It's genius really. I can relate to all the stress about getting into good colleges and also trying to find time for extracirriculers.

on Dec. 3 2015 at 6:26 pm
spinnerofyarns SILVER, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
5 articles 0 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Nobody but a reader ever became a writer." -- Richard Peck

I cannot quite agree that AP is pointless.... It would seem that the increased workload itself is good preparation for college. (Also, I am--for the most part--enjoying the AP Statistics course which I am taking. It's nice to have something a bit different from my usual math courses.)

on May. 28 2014 at 3:23 pm
mylifeasapincushion GOLD, Redlands, California
14 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Extremist have shown what frightens them most: A girl with a book"
-Malala Yousafzai

How incredibly ignorant of you, your comment only strangthens the writers thought that you're creating a social hiearchy. Implying that because someone doesn't take an advanced class they must be bad at writing... In the words of Alvert Einstien "Everyone's a genious but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will go its entire life believing it is a failure"

on Dec. 7 2013 at 4:01 pm
I strictly recommend not to hold back until you get big sum of cash to order goods! You should get the mortgage loans or just credit loan and feel yourself comfortable

Nac201 said...
on Oct. 2 2013 at 6:08 pm
Let's be honest with ourselves. AP credits/classes/exams are to get you in the door at the university. Other than that, nobody really cares. (many/most) graduate schools don't accept/dislike AP credits. I guess if you're looking for a terminal BA degree then by all means go ahead. Or if you wish to be a film major go ahead. If you want to go further in life, take the college courses to get there instead of thinking your sixteen year old self got you ahead of the game, because he didn't.

rkknack said...
on Oct. 2 2013 at 6:05 pm
See how many graduate schools want you AP credits buddy :)  I won't make you wait until then....zero. 

MarianRUSH21 said...
on Oct. 2 2013 at 10:56 am
Buildings are not cheap and not every person can buy it. However, credit loans are created to help people in such kind of cases.

Silogram GOLD said...
on May. 4 2013 at 10:51 pm
Silogram GOLD, Radnor, Pennsylvania
11 articles 0 photos 11 comments
I could not agree with your more, meh10.

Silogram GOLD said...
on May. 4 2013 at 10:49 pm
Silogram GOLD, Radnor, Pennsylvania
11 articles 0 photos 11 comments
Also, the author makes a lot of generalizations. "You learn to pass a test. You learn so that you can impress admissions officers with your weighted GPA." Maybe YOU did that. Not everyone. Some people actually felt more comfortable with the pacing of AP classes. I think they're more dangerous when you are forced into them by parents or counselors or general societal/peer pressure.

Silogram GOLD said...
on May. 4 2013 at 10:43 pm
Silogram GOLD, Radnor, Pennsylvania
11 articles 0 photos 11 comments
In many aspects, I agree with the argument this article makes. HOWEVER, for me, AP classes were perfect. Honors classes at my school were too easy for me, and the few times I withheld myself from taking an AP class at my school, I transferred up to an AP class if it was available within days. I take 5 AP classes this year, and I have maintained a social life all year. I play piano, write stories, watch sports, and goof off (I play videogames too). Also, some of the material I've learned in AP classes is fascinating and valuable. AP Euro was one of the most interesting classes I've ever taken, and taking AP Chemistry allowed me to explore the subject material in the depth that I believe the subject deserves. The only time I have been stressed this year is for the past two weeks, the two weeks before AP testing. AP classes aren't for everyone, and people shouldn't believe that they have to take them just to get into college, or because their parents tell them to. But I know that from taking AP classes I was not molded into a cookie cutter. I developed my own interests and passions anyways.

Poeteer said...
on May. 4 2013 at 4:23 pm
Nor does it take one to spell the word "grammar" correctly.

dwoobs SILVER said...
on May. 1 2013 at 9:09 am
dwoobs SILVER, Overland Park, Kansas
5 articles 2 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." Ernest Hemingway

Not a sir.

Guest said...
on Apr. 30 2013 at 9:53 pm
It doesn't take a regular student to have good "grammer".

Agreeing said...
on Apr. 30 2013 at 9:51 pm
You, sir, are totally correct.

dwoobs SILVER said...
on Apr. 10 2013 at 11:58 am
dwoobs SILVER, Overland Park, Kansas
5 articles 2 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." Ernest Hemingway

I find this naive and a bit whiney. The point you seem to be raising is that AP classes create a social hierarchy and teach kids to only study for a test instead of learn at a lower level.  You raise a few viable points, speaking of using so much time just to study for a test and how, stereotypically, intelligent students get bored and act out in lower-difficulty classes.  But I also find your argument offensive, condemning those who are in AP classes and accusing them of wasting away their childhoods. If college and education are their main goals in life, who are you to berate them and make fun of them, calling them Antisocial Puppets? Your puns are offensive at best and it just comes off like you perhaps weren't asked to be in an AP class and are "acting out". Maybe you took APs and are just bitter. Either way, this was more of a rant against the school system and college application system rather than talking about the pros and cons of advanced classes.

on Apr. 1 2013 at 2:15 pm
fireandrain PLATINUM, Wayland, Massachusetts
22 articles 2 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
"People who think they are crazy enough to change the world usually end up being the ones who change it."

This was really good! The next time my mom starts talking about how i won't be in AP classes, then I will be showing this to her! Thanks for the ammuntion!


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