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!

Berlioz face said...
Sept. 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm
So should we students who want to exceed be locked into a classroom that holds us back?
ChainedDreamer said...
Sept. 7, 2011 at 8:55 pm
I agree. First of all, I could not help but agree- your tone and writing was well done. I thought the whole different names for AP thing was unique. Yes, I took an AP class too, but it was not at all as interesting as I imagined it to be. I honestly wish I had not taken it at all. You're absolutely right, from my own experience and from what I heard from other AP students (unfortunately after I signed up for the class) it's mainly book work. The stimulating conversation and the higher level thin... (more »)
TaleGate said...
Aug. 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm
This is well-written. Although it was bad timing to read this since I am doing AP summer homework before I even go into the class. Luckily I like learning what it teaches. But I am not excited for the workload. I enjoyed the different intelligent ways to diss AP classes. :) Great job and never stop writing. Well 'cept with that Absolutely Preposterous class gets' in the way. ;)
KayGee said...
Aug. 15, 2011 at 10:37 am
This was a very well written article, although I cannot competely agree with the generalization that all AP students are information-regurgitating robots with no social lives who live to serve their college applications. I for one still have a social life despite taking a bunch of AP classes, and I really enjoy the noninhibited and INTELLIGENT discussions we have in those classes. However, this article really got me thinking. It is so easy to see the "oil and water" gap between AP kids and other... (more »)
i_just_stpped_by said...
Aug. 8, 2011 at 8:51 am
I can't agree with this article neither. As a student outside of the States, I don't have any AP courses in my school. Yet I take 11 of them all the same. It is simply for my personal interest. One can't regard everything people do as some utilitarian action to achieve some goals or so. Sometimes it's not the case.
waiting_to_be_found said...
Jul. 24, 2011 at 7:59 pm
Also the AP classes in my school were amazing, the only places where we could express our opinions in group discussion... because in a regular class it would have been near impossible to talk so openly because those kids tend to not give a rats butt.
waiting_to_be_found said...
Jul. 24, 2011 at 7:56 pm
Yeah I have to disagree with this article. I took 9 AP classes throughout my highschool carreer and really enjoyed taking them. If I were to merely take regular classes  would have been positively bored and wouldn't have done so well in school. However I still managed to do good in these classes AND maintain a social life easily.... and I still learned a lot! I really enjoyed my high school experience.
smilesunshine said...
Jul. 24, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I like this article. I have friend who are in AP classes and I rarely see them outside of school because they are always studying or doing something school related and because of it they can't hang out.

I am doing a program called Running Start where I take college classes at the local community college and and still take a few at the high school. Some choose to do full time, I chose part time. I would rather do Running Start because as long as you get a passing grade in the class you ... (more »)

offwithyourhead! said...
Jul. 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm
i like this article. its really good and i thought it was quite humurous! im also an ap student and sometimes ap can be a challenge but its also fun and teaches you new things on a deeper level than what you're used to. students in ap are just like regular students taking classes even if its not ap and we do have a social life as well. we want a break sometimes too.
inkblot13 said...
Jul. 24, 2011 at 12:48 pm
I have to say, I disagree with a lot of this article. I take AP classes, and plan on taking more. It provides me with the academic stimulation I like but that doesn't mean I have no social life. Also, what's up with the talk of  separtation of people based on what classes they take. For one thing, not all classes can be AP and (personally) my best friends don't take any AP classes. The only difference is, they come to me for help with homework sometimes.
itchyriver said...
Jul. 24, 2011 at 12:49 am
I really can't believe this was published. While I understand the importance of personal opinion, this article essentially categorized and insulted every AP student as antisocial, annoying teens who only live for their college resume. If AP's are so challenging, it's probably not the class- it's you. While they're meant to push your academic comfort zone, they're never ~impossibly hard~ and as far as the work load, it just teaches you to have good work ethic or master the art of procrastination.... (more »)
star-gazing-dreamer said...
Jul. 2, 2011 at 10:03 pm
Ap classes are hard and take up a lot of time, and some of what you say is true. But don't agree with somethings. My friends and i do try to pad or college aps but we don't just do that. There are parties an hanging out. college isn't everything. I like the seperation of those who will take ap and those who won't. There us no socializing problem at all. Even though i don't have class with them doesn't mean i odn't know how to interact.  I did like you essay. especially the A.P. terms :)
SeeminglyPuposeful said...
Jun. 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm
I take AP classes, and AP classes are difficult. It's true! You stay up late to finsh that last essay, or to do those one hundered and ten terms your APUSH teacher handed out. But I never felt isolated or like a working zombie. My friends and I  always joke about how much work we have. I honestly enjoy every one of my AP classes. The weighted grade it brings, well thats a bonus
inksplatters21 said...
Jun. 10, 2011 at 9:41 am
hm.  I agree with most of what you said here--as a freshman in high school I took a rigorous AP course.  Half of me adored the course and genuinely wanted to learn; I found it fascinating!  The other half was too weary and jacked up on coffee to care.  Either way, I really liked the article because it raises awareness and i loved all the AP words you came up with!
blackswan42 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 19, 2011 at 8:12 pm
And by the way- this article describes my life on an almost psychic level
blackswan42 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 19, 2011 at 8:01 pm
Wow, you are an INCREDIBLE writer. Oh my god. This article sounds like something that could be in the New York Times. This just blows me away. Wow.
Curly_Sue said...
May 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm
I love this article! As an AP student I have to say I don't agree with all your points, but I do agree with many of them. If only school administartors would read this article. To add to the great points made in this article, it's also very funny and kept me reading until the end. Kudos to you.
zozo1325 said...
Apr. 24, 2011 at 8:30 pm
While reading your article I coudn't help but scream in my head how much I agreed with everything you were saying. Right now I am actually in the process of writting a paper for my AP english class and plan to be up very late finishing it since I procrastinated majorly. Apart from the fact that I agree with your argument, I would like to compliment your writing. I really liked how you decided to work with changing what AP abbreviated and overall it was a very interesting piece that was easy to f... (more »)
Marblewolf said...
Apr. 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm
Reading this article at first made me feel very insulted. I am an AP student and I do not feel like this applies to me at all. After I thought about it though it made me incredibly sad that someone had a class like that. Its not supposed to be like that. (And if they haven't had an AP class they shouldn't be writing such a criticizing essay, since they don't know what its really like.) I've taken AP and honors classes since entering high school, and although the honors classe... (more »)
to.hold.the.sun This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm
I completely, COMPLETELY agree. And what's wrong with trying to get into a good college so you can have a good future by doing things now? This article is well-written, but I certainly do not agree with it.
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