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!

KidB1963 said...
Aug. 28, 2010 at 12:46 pm
I really like this article (okay, the A- P- thing was kind of annoying, but still).  I agree with Stanley Kubrick on stuff like this, who said, "I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker."  AP classes are mostly just how teachers leverage our o... (more »)
mensa4life said...
Aug. 28, 2010 at 11:34 am
I respect your opinion but personally i disagree with it. I go to an Early College High School (Google It) so all my classes are AP if not harder. Its time consuming and stressful but to me its worth it. I enjoy being in an enviornment where everyone is willing and ready to learn and having teachers who actully want to be there. Life and therefor school is what you make it. If you don't enjoy the classes or can't handle them then just don't take them. There are many ways to get what yo... (more »)
melancholya said...
Aug. 19, 2010 at 10:08 pm
This is true, according to some graduated seniors at my school. But, not all AP classes are like this. Some are truly time wasters, but there are others that are worth taking. So far in school, I have not been challenged and probably will not be until I can take AP classes. Also, AP classes can be some very different topics than the normal Math, English, Science, etc.
agagag said...
Aug. 14, 2010 at 7:05 pm
This article is really great. :-)
PenguinFeet This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 10, 2010 at 4:26 pm

This is a very well written article, but I have to disagree. By the end of high school I will have taken 15+ AP classes/tests, and really, so far, I have time to keep my grades up and also do everything I want. Personally, I despise the 'normal' classes because I feel like we barely learn anything there. And hey! I have a social life--though it is true that I rarely interact with non-APers.

AP has been good to me! Nevertheless, extremely well written. I applaud you.

Jewelryqueen55 J. said...
Jul. 31, 2010 at 12:11 pm
Really great article :)
DreamingOfAlbion said...
Jul. 16, 2010 at 8:01 pm
I could not agree more with you. I took AP World History last year and it destroyed me. I was an excellent student before but it took away from all of my other classes and significantly dropped my GPA, worsening my chances of getting into a good college. And I got the flipping burgers at McDonalds threat anytime I complained. AP is insane.
KLRO*9+1 said...
Jun. 20, 2010 at 7:27 pm
I just graduated high school and have taken AP bio, lit,lang, calc, euro, us, stats, pshyc, and gov. thats a total of 9 ap's. I have busted my but off because i was told it would look good on college apps but in truth there  are tons of other students out there doing the same thing. it is crazy to think i spent so much time studying for these tests and come college acceptance time i got virtually no financial aid for colleges and b/c of that im going to a jc. This article is right in som... (more »)
AProcrastinator said...
Jun. 20, 2010 at 4:47 pm

I loved this article. However, i do disagree that APs are a waste of time. I myself have taken 4 AP classes in highschool, AP Euro my sophomore year and AP Bio, AP Lang, and APUSH my junior year. Next year will be my senior year and i will be taking AP Lit, AP Gov, AP Psych, and with some luck AP Calc. I do agree that it's very time consuming and stressful, however, i'm not saying that to dscourage anyone from taking these courses.

I also disagree with your commont on the AP kids being... (more »)

APstudent said...
Apr. 21, 2010 at 8:10 pm

I disagree with what you said about "oil and water" - from my experience, mixing AP kids with CP kids describes oil and water.

Nevertheless, I absolutely LOVE your article.  Very well written and great use of the acronym (as others have mentioned.)  I am an AP student and it has taken over my life. I barely have time for a social life.  the worst part is that the fact that teachers have to prepare us for the ap test - and therefore base the curriculum off of that - there... (more »)

saru-chan said...
Apr. 20, 2010 at 11:00 pm
LOVE the acronyms. hahaha amazing. don't totally agree that AP classes are useless regurgitation, but I agree that it's really easy for teachers to fall into that pattern. I'm also in 3 of the most difficult AP classes and still find time for a social life. 
magic-esi This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 3, 2010 at 7:43 pm
This is a fantastically written article, and has made me rethink my choice of joining an AP class in high school. Of course, I'm already familiar with all of this- my parents and parents of my classmates, as well as every Preparing for High School Class, has the attitude that We Need to Be Enlightened. However, your hilarious variations on the abbreviation 'AP' and all of your truly enlightening points shed a new light on the topic. Great article and very well written.
my<3 said...
Mar. 19, 2010 at 6:19 pm
this article really opened my mind. i take an AP class, and completely agree with it. i really have no social life and have a lot of stress. Love your use of the acrony AP:)
inspiredpoet said...
Feb. 28, 2010 at 5:58 pm
Great job and splendid use of the acronym AP.
Megan W. said...
Feb. 7, 2010 at 3:10 pm
very creative. you're a great writer. and i agree 100%
Serendipitous said...
Feb. 4, 2010 at 10:04 pm
I thought this was very clever, and well... excellent. I particularly liked your comparison of kids in AP classes and normal classes like oil and water. There is an undeniable chasm between the two. I commend you!
mezclia said...
Feb. 2, 2010 at 11:25 pm
i love the use of AP. very clever. i agree w/ the melodrama of it all but other than that it tells a story of countless AP students.
Yourfriend said...
Jan. 18, 2010 at 8:00 pm
Hahaha, this is really good stuff. Melodramatic like nobody's business, but that's what makes it awesome. I wanna frame this or something.
TaylorM said...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 5:07 pm
so true....
Spongebob said...
Nov. 25, 2008 at 8:09 am
amazed! i love the writing styles and it was very well written overall. it is exactly what AP classes are! i never thought of it this way but now i know the true means of AP
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