AP: Absolutely Preposterous This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 1, 2007
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?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 104 comments. Post your own now!

Alex said...
Jun. 2, 2012 at 10:55 am
This guy probably was an all regular student who is just jealous.
SolEtude replied...
Aug. 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm
Seeing as her grammer is impeccable and vocabulary at college-board par, I doubt that she is an "all regular student". 
Guest replied...
Apr. 30, 2013 at 9:53 pm
It doesn't take a regular student to have good "grammer".
Poeteer replied...
May 4, 2013 at 4:23 pm
Nor does it take one to spell the word "grammar" correctly.
Bad_at_Usernames replied...
May 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm
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"
SmellsLikeTeenWriter said...
Jan. 16, 2012 at 10:38 am
I agree with the majority of this article (This is my first year taking AP, and I've been telling my parents nearly every night during dinner that they should abolish the whole stupid program. When you've got spaghetti sauce on your notes because that's the only time you can study, something's got to be done!), but I don't agree with the whole antisocial thing. I really like everyone in my AP classes! Anyways, great writing. I hope someone up high in the education system reads this.
EPluribusUnum This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 16, 2012 at 10:27 am
First off, that was really well written. I loved what you did with the AP's (Absolute Perfection). My parents made me take AP Government this year. They spent the first few months telling me that there is no reason I shouldn't get A's, that if I didn't do better I would have to quit color gaurd (which keeps me sane!), ect. Then they go and tell me I should invite so and so over, not be so anitsocial, talk to people, as if I have the time. My situation in that class is not unique. Actually, I thi... (more »)
tori26shipp replied...
Apr. 13, 2012 at 12:51 am
this is a great way to put it i agree but i may be one of those three students who actually enjoy the subject of AP US History. My school's AP classes is probably the biggest mash of all of the social classes of high school- the overacheivers, jocks (w/ cheerleaders and every other sport). band kids, drama kids, kids who overthink everything ay to much, and kids who dont have the push but just the interest. Its pretty funny that we're all pretty much friends in there and also that the Advanced P... (more »)
Alexrawr96 said...
Dec. 29, 2011 at 12:29 pm
This article really fits what most AP classes are about. While some can be stimulating, most hold nothing that actually engages a student. In my school teachers do seem to forget that we have life outside class, and the ones who do the best are the ones whose life revolves around school. While good grades are essential for college, AP classes need to remember that most kids want to be able to remember more in their childhood then those 4 hours of AP homework they had every night. They need to fi... (more »)
Victoriakites said...
Dec. 27, 2011 at 12:51 am
While some of you mentioned that the reason for taking AP was for the intellectual stimulation, what if there was a substitution for AP classes that were more about learning, opposed to memorization? And by actual learning, I mean having stimulating discussions, which I often find some of my fellow students are hindered from because classes ‘teach’ for testing purposes. However, AP, to me, is accurate reflection of what college intro classes will be like- memorization. The problem that I co... (more »)
CassaJade said...
Dec. 3, 2011 at 4:51 pm
As well written and clever as this is, I completely disagree.  I have taken both AP and regular classes, and AP classes, for me, are far and away the better of the two.  One of your main arguments is the memorization and subsequent regurgitation of information.  While this is true and makes sense in subjects like the sciences - where personal opinions bear little relevance anyway - it is absolutely wrong in other subject areas.  Any AP English student can testify to the fact ... (more »)
NadiaAlmasalkhi This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 20, 2012 at 3:32 pm
I completely agree with CassaJade. I attend a school full of motivated people where most people take AP classes, and it's not as ridiculous as you make it out to be. AP for Avoid People? AP classes require work and thought, yes, but it's not as if taking an AP class is equal to automatically trading off your social life. I think that mature students can handle a rigorous courseload and a social life simultaneously, as long they go in with a positive attitude instead of resigning themselv... (more »)
dutchmonkey92 said...
Nov. 11, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Okay... I can't even begin to tell you how angry this article makes me... I'm insulted. Sure, the play on "AP" was clever... But I can't find much else to compliment.

I see the author's point about the social stratification, but while I don't necessarily agree with the reality of things, I'm honestly not complaining. There is nothing that bothers me more than people who don't care about school, and unfortunately that's the majority of the people who take regular classes. This is not al... (more »)

dutchmonkey92 replied...
Nov. 11, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Also, arguing "why should I learn this anyway?" is completely pointless. Why is anything in school worth learning? You could use that argument for anything, so there's really no point, sorry.

All these people agreeing with the author make me sad; you must not have had good AP teachers... :/ They make the difference.

Ness123 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 9, 2012 at 5:36 am
As much as the separation may appear beneficial right now, in my school, it does exactly what this author says. There are 2 distinct groups and we ARE indeed clueless of how to deal with people from opposite spheres. And when we are out there in the world, where there are no longer the safe barriers protecting us from those supposedly vile normal people who do not share our interests, well the world will come crashing down. I also disagree when you say that the author has taken an absolute stan... (more »)
meh10 said...
Oct. 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm
I completely disagree with this.  I'm currently taking my 6th, 7th, and 8th AP classes at a school where the intellectual stratification you talk about could not be more prominent, and I have time for 3 varsity sports, premier soccer, friends, orchestra, and relaxing.  The variations on the letters were clever but I was insulted by your message that AP classes ruin students.  Last year I took AP English Language and it was the most stimulating class I have ever taken; all we did w... (more »)
meh10 replied...
Oct. 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm
And, there are students who aren't in AP classes who aren't "unmotivated slackers."  Be careful with absolutes, they make it easy to disprove arguments.
Silogram This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 4, 2013 at 10:51 pm
I could not agree with your more, meh10.
tabbycat27 said...
Oct. 20, 2011 at 2:41 pm

This article was written in a very creative and brilliant way, but as someone in my senior year of high school who has racked up 7 AP courses I can say I do not agree with this.

I have heard of those people, the ones who have strict parents who want them to succeed and who spend the time they could be socializing studying, but I cannot say this is the same for all people. I wish this article was written as an observation by this writer, rather than them assuming this is what we all fee... (more »)

leivajesse3 said...
Sept. 30, 2011 at 11:08 am
This article is very well written and I absolutely agree with it.
leivajesse3 said...
Sept. 30, 2011 at 11:03 am
This is very well written and I absolutely agree with this article.
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