I wrote a similar blog post last year regarding the 2015 school year administration of AP exams. I realized that the blog post covered the entire AP experience, but I will continue the naming convention for sake of naming conventions. 🙂
I took a truly college-level difficulty course where the grades reflected the difficulty. I struggled through twice the amount of history class notes. I have little to no reflection as an introducing summary for this year so I’ll just cut to the chase.
So it began the second year of high school. Did you know it began at the end of the 2014–2015 school year? I did not even know my AP Biology score at the time, yet our Biology teacher sardonically handed a piece of paper as part of the “iceberg” of summer learning for AP Chemistry. I was scared to death and I had a bad feeling about AP Chemistry. The only chemistry knowledge I had was from 4th to 8th grade. So, a periodic table, protons, neutrons, and electrons. Yikes. I was even iffy on what an ionic bond was.
Meanwhile, the end of the Humanities GT World Geography class (in actuality a Historic World Cultures class) marked the beginning of my other two AP classes I would take next year. AP World History was the natural continuation of GT World Geography. However, I didn’t really even learn world geography. I was quite disappointed. Additionally, the next year’s GT freshmen would be taking AP Human Geography instead of GT World Geography like we did. Over the summer, I added AP Human Geography to my schedule and was determined to expand my passion of geography-like subjects, as I had fallen in love with on Wikipedia.
I had a good feeling about AP World History and AP Human Geography. Their coursework might be painful, but typing notes on my computer is not a big deal. Furthermore, the note templates of AP Human Geography were quite a refreshing change from the by-paper power notes of 9th grade World Geography. However, they minimized the effectiveness of reading the entire AP Human Geography textbook. That was important because the test actually covered the small details of each textbook.
When I started school, I didn’t feel bad about World History and Human Geography. Actually, at times, World History seemed like the easiest class that I had. However, Human Geography, catered to freshmen, was more “guided” and therefore contained more busy work. While it was easy, it was tedious.
I don’t feel these two AP classes were that difficult, so I won’t explain them any further.
The class that gave me the most grief was AP Chemistry. I had an extremely experienced and talented teacher who was tough on grading and even taught in a college before. She gave lectures that you didn’t want to miss but the key to success, like any other college class, is the textbook itself. I did not know this until second semester, so my grades plummeted as I started to realize that I really didn’t know what I was doing in the class. The material was tough to synthesize, I started to fail quizzes, and on each test, I was so nervous that I felt cold, my heart sank, and I was sweating a lot. It was terrible.
I did so terrible once that I nearly failed a test. (Was a 69 before a 3pt curve bumped it up to a 72.) It was then that I realized I had to study hardcore. So one entire day before the test, I simply did textbook problems going over that unit. If I didn’t get a question right, I would figure out why and do another similar problem until I got it down. I would also read the textbook a lot to make sure I got the concepts down. The test I was studying for was the hardest test of the year. I got a 101 after a 4-point curve. This is not a joke. I felt SO happy. And this studying regiment continued for the rest of the year.
The only feeling I had that was better was when I saw my AP scores.
I felt I had finally completed my goal of mastering an AP science. I had gotten a 4 in Biology, and truth be told, I felt just awful about it, getting a lackluster result in something I worked so hard in. And I am happy to finally show my love for history and social sciences in the form of an AP score too. But AP Chemistry was really difficult and I am just stunned at how much I had grown and learned within a year.
Thank you so much to all of my teachers. I can’t thank you enough. That’s probably why Chinese culture believes a student is forever indebted to their teacher.