More students signing up for AP classes

Jacob Williams, Opinion Editor

Over the last decade, California has witnessed more public school students enrolling in AP classes and more students passing their AP exams.

California now enjoys the sixth-highest rate of AP participation in the nation and has seen one of the most dramatic increases in AP participation over the last decade. The College Board, which ranks AP information, reports that California beats the national AP averages in participation and students who earned a four or a five on the exams.

Bear Creek has been making efforts to encourage its students to pursue AP courses, and it seems to be working.

Every year, Bear Creek offers an AP Preview Day, during which AP teachers schedule presentation blocks where they present coursework examples and syllabi.

Teachers try to recruit students that are performing performing well in current classes, notices are often included in the daily bulletin, and the Academic Expo promotes AP classes and various other programs and electives.

However, Asst. Principal Dennis To admits that the school could do more to advertise AP classes on the school website.

“The website can be improved for more information for students and parents,” To said.

Students from low-income households can qualify for fee waivers, a reflection of efforts to include disadvantaged students. To said that Bear Creek sponsors fundraisers so that the school can help pay for additional AP costs, like study guides and calculators.

Colleges often review high school AP exam scores when determining admission; AP classes are akin to the rigor and pace of college life, and scores on the AP test are general reflections of merit, culminations of a year’s worth of patient toil and dutiful studying.

AP U.S. History teacher Beth Oesterman frequently encourages her students to take the AP Exam seriously, especially if they qualify for a fee waiver.

In the past, she’s seen students casually broach the test and consequently fail miserably, to which the students show little concern.

“You’re preparing for a rigorous exam,” Oesterman said. “It’s about fulfilling your commitment.”

The deadline for signing up for AP testing in May is approaching, and students are readying themselves for after-school AP study sessions and more in-class review.

California has seen dramatic increases in AP participation over the last decade, as much as 70 percent, and more diverse student minorities are participating, as black and Latino students join the white and Asian AP students.

Senior Amber Buhagiar attained her current rank of AP Scholar with Distinction, a feat requiring an average 3.5 score on all AP exams and a score of 3 or higher on all AP exams taken.

Buhagiar says the month of April is spent rigorously reviewing notes and study guides, though she often feels underprepared for the exams.

“A lot of teachers put the studying on you,” Buhagiar said. “It’s not in class; we don’t have all the time in the world in April because we have the CSTs. But this year won’t be a problem for me.”

Buhagiar says she prefers independent studying, focusing on memorization for science and problem-solving skills for math, taking practice exams online and answering the released free-response questions multiple times.

Buhagiar has taken eight AP exams in her high school career, and this year intends to take six.