AP: Absolutely Preposterous | Teen Ink

AP: Absolutely Preposterous MAG

November 1, 2007
By Anonymous

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 107 comments.

on Oct. 20 2011 at 2:41 pm
tabbycat27 BRONZE, Columbus, Ohio
1 article 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.
- C.S. Lewis

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 feel.

leivajesse3 said...
on Sep. 30 2011 at 11:08 am
This article is very well written and I absolutely agree with it.

leivajesse3 said...
on Sep. 30 2011 at 11:03 am
This is very well written and I absolutely agree with this article.

Berlioz face said...
on Sep. 25 2011 at 7:59 pm
So should we students who want to exceed be locked into a classroom that holds us back?

on Sep. 7 2011 at 8:55 pm
ChainedDreamer BRONZE, Coppell, Texas
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch." John F. Kennedy.
"Imagination rules the world." -Napolean Bonaparte

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 thinking? non-existent. I hope your article sheds some light on the ongoing battle that all high school students face: should I sacrafice the time I devote to my friends and doing what I love (in my case, writing) or should beat myself up for college, because the best time of my life won't be in high school but in college when I have more  freedom? No moment in your life should go wasted.

TaleGate GOLD said...
on Aug. 15 2011 at 1:43 pm
TaleGate GOLD, Clackamas, Oregon
10 articles 0 photos 35 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you want the rainbow, you must put up with the rain."

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. ;)

on Aug. 15 2011 at 10:37 am
AllCaughtUp BRONZE, Shelton, Connecticut
2 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."
-JK Rowling (as Albus Dumbledore, of course)

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 kids. Also it brings back the question I've been asking myself since I first started school: why am I even learning this anyway?

on 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.

on Jul. 24 2011 at 7:59 pm
waiting_to_be_found GOLD, Conifer, Colorado
10 articles 1 photo 73 comments
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.

on Jul. 24 2011 at 7:56 pm
waiting_to_be_found GOLD, Conifer, Colorado
10 articles 1 photo 73 comments
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.

on Jul. 24 2011 at 5:31 pm
smilesunshine PLATINUM, Puyallup, Washington
34 articles 4 photos 61 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you're lucky enough to be different from everyone else, don't change to be the same." ~Taylor Swift

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 get college credit and you learn what college is like first hand. The credits are gaurenteed as long as you put forth the effort the class requires. Unlike with the AP classes where not all colleges accept credits because of how well you do on "judgement day". The goal with Running Start is to save money and to graduate high school with your Associate's Degree then transfer to a 4 year college or go on with wahtever other plans you may have for the future. It still pushes the students and can be very stressful, but it's not all based on a test. It's true college classes.

on Jul. 24 2011 at 4:54 pm
offwithyourhead! PLATINUM, Fairburn, Georgia
24 articles 0 photos 56 comments

Favorite Quote:
Timothy 1 4:12
Mathew 7:13-14
"Off with your head!"
"Someone has stolen twee of mi tarts!"

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.

on Jul. 24 2011 at 12:48 pm
inkblot13 PLATINUM, Auburn, New York
41 articles 1 photo 160 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If I knew where poems came from, I'd go there"

- Michael Langley, 'Staying Alive'

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.

on Jul. 24 2011 at 12:49 am
itchyriver PLATINUM, San Diego, California
27 articles 5 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
That's either snow or a bunch of white flowers.

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. The more I think about this article the more insulted and annoyed I get. Absolutely Pathetic that people criticize those who want to be the best they can be. 

on Jul. 24 2011 at 12:42 am
itchyriver PLATINUM, San Diego, California
27 articles 5 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
That's either snow or a bunch of white flowers.

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 exit exam... half of what you'll be taught is the raw information, and the other half is always techniques and tricks to use. Villianizing ap tests and the college board seems not just over-dramatic, but personal...almost as if you've taken a class, and didn't get the 5 on the exam you were hoping for. Homework is more challenging and more frequent than normal and honors courses, sure, but if you can't have a social life because of it then you aren't capable or ready to take that course yet. All of my friends and I have fun and entertaining weekends and spend time together afterschool. Procrastination is a personal work ethic problem. I procrastinate like no other, but I always have and always will, whether I'm in an advanced class or not. As for your idea that students only live for their resumes, I understand your concern, but really, would it be better that they spend all their time partying? Clubs, instruments, sports teams and other extra-curricular activities are wholesome, fun, and provide great opportunities to learn life lessons and make life-long friends. Maybe your experience with AP classes has been poor and that's why you've written this article...but personally, I love that I've been given the opportunity to challenge myself and I believe that AP classes are a blessing not a curse. The only real problem I see is that not all schools regulate who can take them. There should be regulations and requirements so that the classes are able to move at a fast pace and stay relatively small.

on Jul. 2 2011 at 10:03 pm
star-gazing-dreamer GOLD, Pittsgrove, New Jersey
11 articles 0 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
Everywhere I have sought rest and not found it,
except sitting in a corner by myself with a little book.
~ Thomas Kempis ~

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 :)

on 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

on Jun. 10 2011 at 10:09 am
writingmagic26 BRONZE, Eureka, Missouri
2 articles 0 photos 34 comments
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.

on Jun. 10 2011 at 9:41 am
inksplatters21 SILVER, Mason, Ohio
6 articles 0 photos 84 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Character is how you live when no one is watching."

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!

on May. 19 2011 at 8:12 pm
blackswan42 SILVER, Cortlandt Manor, New York
5 articles 0 photos 6 comments
And by the way- this article describes my life on an almost psychic level