Honors Vs. Ap: What Works for You?
by Madison Chin
Here at Methuen High School, we are offered three different course levels, College prep (CP), Honors, and Advanced Placements (AP). Each of these course levels have different requirements which are expected from the enrolled students.
Honors and Ap courses are classified as more advanced, meaning they are more rigorous and weighted heavier on your GPA. The difference between the two courses is not drastic, but the decision between the two can really influence your school year and your overall transcript.
AP is the highest-ranking course level offered here at Methuen High School. Unlike honors classes, there is a final exam during the month of May that decides whether or not you get college credit for the class. In order to take this final exam you need to pay a fee which is $97. For those in the lower income bracket the fee could vary. In order to be considered for eligibility of fee reductions students are encouraged to contact the school’s AP coordinator. You are expected to pay this fee in November unless you have decided to opt out (which erases the multiplier added onto your GPA at the end of the year.)
The exam is timed for around 2-3 hours and has multiple sections to work through. The kinds of questions and sections that are on the test are based on what AP class you took. These AP exams are scored on a scale from 1-5. Anything under a 3 is failing, meaning you do not receive college credit. However, if you have a good grade at the end of the year, your GPA will be weighted heavier due to the weight of the course.
When enrolled in an AP course you have an immense amount of responsibility expected from you. You are expected to stay up to date with the difficult assignments which are posted at a fast pace. If you fall behind in the class it can be very difficult to catch up, since the class moves through material so quickly.
Honors courses are similar to AP classes in regards to the expectations you are held to. However, I believe that the coursework is a lot less intense than that of an AP class. Honors classes are very good for students who are too advanced for CP classes and need a faster-paced environment to work in.
I believe that if you are a good test taker who is also good at keeping up with fast-paced assignments that are more difficult to complete, an AP class would suit you. If you are not confident in your test taking abilities but can handle somewhat challenging assignments you should take an honors course. If you are hoping to go to a more competitive college, AP classes are definitely a good way to show admissions that you are capable of advanced-level education. They are also a great way to boost your GPA and improve your work ethic and time management. Many students such as myself take both AP and honors classes. Personally, I think that this is a great way to help improve your transcript and to prepare you for future education.