AP Classes: Worth the Stress?

Is taking an advanced placement class worth the side effects?


Mrs. Huber teaching her AP Lang class.

By McKenna Ostler, Reporter

What are, and how significant are, the effects of AP classes on students; is it worth it?  

Melissa Peterson is in her 20th year of teaching overall, and 12 years of teaching AP classes. “It probably takes between an hour and two hours to prepare,” said Peterson. It can be easy to only focus on the student’s point of view, but the AP teachers also have a hefty workload when it comes to teaching the AP-level courses. 

“It’s more challenging and a lot more work than your other classes,” said Paige Wilcoxon. Wilcoxon is a junior at ENHS, and is currently enrolled in AP U.S. History, AP Biology, and AP Language and Composition. 

The APUSH wall in Mrs. Peterson’s classroom.

 Not only do AP classes cover more information at a quicker pace, but there is also a burdensome time commitment. “Maybe an additional hour to hour and a half of homework on a nightly basis,” said Peterson.

“The best part of taking AP classes is saving money for college,” said Wilcoxon. Although these classes are rigorous and a lot of work, it does pay off and ultimately will be beneficial to students in their future years at college. 

The work for AP classes varies depending on the class; one class could end up taking as much time as seven regular-level classes. “Sometimes [homework] is like two hours a night for AP bio,” said Wilcoxon.

Sydney Keller is a sophomore at ENHS and is enrolled in AP World History, and is experiencing this class style for the first time. 

“It’s a lot of pressure, to be honest,” said Keller. Taking an AP class is a big decision, and kids can end up with a great benefit, or it can be a waste of energy and time. Students have to be invested and put in the effort if they would like to receive the perks.

The AP Psych wall in Mrs. Peterson’s room.

“I think most students are pretty success driven,” said Peterson. Taking these types of classes is a big commitment, but most students are prepared and ready to thrive. 

These classes force students to push themselves, and put in extra time and more effort than their regular level classes. This can result in finding perseverance and determination within that some pupils didn’t know they had. “The best part is seeing what you really can do, even though you don’t think you can,” said Keller. 

“AP students develop additional study skills that can be beneficial that maybe other students don’t figure out until they get into college,” said Peterson. There is a significant difference between AP and regular classes, but in the long run, there are many advantages to taking these classes. 

Learning new skills, and creating better habits are some of the most important benefits from taking an advanced placement class. Many students chose to partake in these classes at Elkhorn North High School, and it has paid off.