To Die or Die; Honors or AP Classes?


Katie Frost, Staff Writer

To take the AP class or to take the honors class? That is the question in the front of many students’ minds when selecting classes for the upcoming school year. The most notable difference between the honors and AP classes is the AP test at the end of the year that enables students to earn a weighted GPA credit and possibly a college credit, depending on the college they are planning to attend. Both the classes are accelerated courses with rigorous course material.

According to junior Isabel Willis, “AP classes have more difficult tests, but they have about the same workload. They both have about 3 hours of homework per week. The AP classes prepare you more than honors classes for college because of the tests and type of work. For instance, the AP classes have more individual study work than honors classes, which have more assigned work.” In other words, an AP class requires the student to have proficient time-management skills in order to study systematically for the tests because of the homework time designated for studying, which mimics the way a college class would be run.

Ms. Medrano, an Honors American Literature teacher, also states that, “The workload of AP and honors classes is about the same, but in my Honors American Literature, I tend to go more in depth, making connections and deeply explore concepts than an AP class, where they move faster through the material. The workload I assign is dependent on my knowledge of other AP and honors classes’ workloads, for example, if I know that there is AP testing, I will push back the deadlines for some of the work. The average workload depends on the class, but is about 1.5 hours per week.” Both Isabel and Ms. Medrano agree on the fact that, “When choosing which class to take, to take the honors class if you have a high number of AP classes in order to maintain a balanced schedule.” This means that the honors classes tend to be slightly easier than AP classes, while still providing a challenge for student who already have many AP classes but still are able to work at in accelerated class.

Mrs. Lyon, a Spanish 1-2, AP Spanish, and Honors Spanish 7-8 teacher, explains that, “In my honors class, we learn more Spanish, whereas in my AP class, we focus on preparing for the AP exam, due to the fact that most AP Spanish students know Spanish well and need to prepare for the AP exam. Most of AP and honors is reading articles and there is usually less than 30 minutes of written homework.” The honors class tends to be more difficult because of the increased amount of work, whereas the AP class test will be hard if the student does not know Spanish.

The differences between AP and honors classes are the type of work and the AP test at the end of the class. Both classes have their purposes, and the answer to which class to take depends on the student and their needs. The AP classes provide the college credit and GPA, but require stronger time-management skills, while the honors classes tend to go more in depth into the subject matter of the class and are more structured, but do not provide the weighted GPA. There is no definite answer to which class is best because an AP class may be the best fit for one student, but not a good fit for another.