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!

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 »)
writingmagic26 replied...
Jun. 10, 2011 at 10:09 am
I really liked what Marblewolf said.  I agree whole heartedly.  Just because AP student are taking the higher-level courses doesn't mean that they are "slaves of work" and all that junk.  They take the class because they are interested in the topic and want to know more about it.
itchyriver replied...
Jul. 24, 2011 at 12:42 am
I agree 100% with this. Yes the article was well written, but it also sounded bitter and overall quite ignorant about what ap classes can offer. AP classes have given me and many of my friends the chance to challenge, question, and further our academic and personal interests. Sure we're trained to learn tips and tricks for passing the exams, but news flash- that's how every test is prepped. It doesn't matter if you're getting ready for the ACT, SAT, standardized state testing, state high school ... (more »)
jacobmhkim said...
Mar. 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm
First of all, I love this piece because there are so many things to discuss. That being said, I agree with you on the fact that kids who take AP classes have a hard time. However, I don't think that they turn into anti-social zombies opposite to the lazy, stupid people. It's unfair to call them lazy or stupid when they have so much undiscovered talent and beloved characteristics. For example, there are the people who play sports. They practice and play hard every day just like we study hard; the... (more »)
Fran94 said...
Mar. 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm
CATSARETHEBOMB, the author of this article isn't encouraging people to not be smart. The author of this article is encouraging people to not take AP classes because the effects would be social isolation, stress, and never believing you are good enough if you don't work hard or long enough. The author is also questioning whether it is really worth it to take AP classes.
nomasaurus said...
Feb. 26, 2011 at 7:23 pm
It's sad to see that people who are confronted with choices like this chose to criticize those who accept it. In reality, you've no right to bully and degrade the social lives and what not of students of AP classes. That being said, AP classes are difficult and at times seem useless. But even if they do turn out to be, you've no say in how those people live their lives or how they're influenced by their parents, or call them immature names. It would be better to write an informational, still opi... (more »)
trini said...
Feb. 24, 2011 at 7:54 pm
I loved the student's voice in this. I have students who, at times, have felt this way but...hooray for AP! If it wasn't for that class, this student couldn't make such wonderful analogies. I love all the AP derivatives! Kudos to you.
Feb. 17, 2011 at 6:19 am
I liked the article but thought it was a little negative. Its almost encouraging people NOT to be really smart. That's kind of offensive to those who hhave worked sooo hard to do exactly what the writers telling them not to.
Olive_Eyes said...
Jan. 29, 2011 at 12:30 am

I agree to an extent but at the same time I disagree.


In elementary school the advanced classes were always mostly the same people so I was a bit isolated in those.


But as soon as I got to middle school, and now in high school I had classes with all sorts of people and made some wonderful friends who aren't necessarilly brilliant, but I don't really give a d.a.m.n they're amazing people and I love them.


So I sort of get your point... (more »)

FireBreathingTurtles said...
Jan. 13, 2011 at 8:47 pm

I have to disagree with this one.

Your article may sound very mature on the outside, but on the inside it's very immature. It is full of opinionated whining and untrue stereotyping. Frankly, this article is plain out annoying.

You claim that AP students are "Annoying Prodigies", "Antisocial Puppets", and the like. You say that there must be "Approved Pastimes" and the like. You classify certain activities as "Approved Pastimes", and more.

It's not your say on whether you ... (more »)

magic-esi This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 29, 2011 at 11:57 am
I replied to this about a year ago, saying I loved the article. Today, I read it again and while reading it, I thought the exact same things that you're saying in your comment, FireBreathingTurtles. It's clear that this article is based very much on jealousy. Although I found the acronyms amusing, I don't see why someone is an Annoying Prodigy and an Antisocial Puppet just because you aren't as smart as they are. I'm taking an AP class this year and I find it extremely useful and not at all the ... (more »)
Myrtle said...
Jan. 13, 2011 at 8:13 pm
I have to say that i strongly disagree with you. I belive that you are sterotyping AP "nerds" when you say that they are, "annoying prodigies" and "anitsocial puppets". AP classes are for people who like challenge. You are taught different ways to think and challenge yourself. Its not just concepts you "don't understand, care about, or ever really need". They are for people who enjoy learning. And want to challenge themselves. Personally i feel like this article is more bullying than informative... (more »)
Bellatrix replied...
Jan. 13, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I completely agree with Myrtle.

This is basically cyberbullying, yet not directed at a certain person.

CarmH said...
Jan. 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm
Above all, it was a great article, and I'm so glad you were telling the truth. Most AP students I know, because I am one myself, are arrogant and seem like they'll succeed the most when they ship off to college. Its my senior year and it's my first time taking two AP courses: English 4AP and US Government and Comparative Politics AP. Whoo! Its a lot of work and I passed both classes with two B's. I'm hoping this quarter I'll pass with A's!!!
juju.gee said...
Dec. 16, 2010 at 3:54 pm
Thank you for writing the truth. I'm taking 2 AP classes this year and I've been stressed every day of the school year. I can't even relax on days the school gives us as holidays because I always have something due the next day. Which reminds me, I have to log off now because I have a project of AP World History due tomorrow. Great article!
blackveilbrideschickies said...
Nov. 24, 2010 at 4:15 pm
I totally agree with you. I only took one A.P. class this year and its one of the hardest classes Ive ever taken. Im writing papers every week and Im either doing really well one minute or horrible the one minute. A. P. classes suck...Id rather take academic and get straight A's easy.
eamckean said...
Nov. 22, 2010 at 2:46 am

I love this article! Its so true. In middle school I was on track with my straight A's to end up in all AP classes in high school then in the eigth grade I got sick, very sick. i ended up missing a week of school for every three days I showwed up and my grades fell to places I never fathomed they'd even come near. The following year it was difficult to get back on track and as all my friends began taking AP classes I was left in regular courses. My sophmore year I finally picked myself up and... (more »)

hopesmiley said...
Nov. 2, 2010 at 7:43 pm


Nice article...for everyone who has commented, I don't think the author of this article was generalizing. She or he was merely describing AP's in his or her world. I agree to a certain point. It all boils down to what school you attend. AP can be a joke or something truly challenging. You left out one little thing about AP. Given the right school and class, AP is good for something. It prepares you for college level work. You said, all AP is learning how to pass the test. Well, ... (more »)

GuitarGirl92851 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 11, 2010 at 12:54 pm
I don't quite agree with everything, but you have the right idea. I feel like this is a slippery slope of what AP actually means. If you know how to handle it, it doesn't mean any of what you just said. And if you live in the world of AP, you'll probably do so after school is done, unless you don't want to. The AP kids tend to stick together at the top, although you will have to deal with some of the slackers. I think this was really well written, though. Did you perhaps learn how to w... (more »)
Phantom_Girl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 28, 2010 at 3:21 pm

The article was very well written and the A.P. thing was very engaging.

Like mensa4life, I respect your opinion, but disagree. I take A.P. classes, and most of the kids in there are not antisocial, and most of us mix with non-AP students. I believe you are stereotyping AP students as socialy inept "nerds" even though not all intelligent teens are "nerds." And very few of these students have demanding parents. My parents are very supportive and don't expect me to stay in AP classes if I... (more »)

Phantom_Girl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm
And as for the regurgitation of what the teachers want to hear, I really think it's the opposite. When I was in regular classes, all I was doing was busywork and writing what the teachers wanted to hear, but in AP, they teach you to do the opposite. You get a bad grade if you just spit out the information you were given. You are encouraged to put your own spin and opinion on it. You are encouraged to think for yourself and really analyze the information instead of just simple, useless memorization.
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