Posted on 11 March 2016.
With a variety of classes offered at the Bay, students often debate which one to take. The Circuit’s staff spoke with students and teachers about their opinions on the most controversial course choices.
AP English Language vs. AICE English Language
BY SOFIA PLAZ
Sophomore Valentina Sanchez found herself confused when it came to choosing her English course for her upcoming junior year. Like her, many students are on the fence about taking either AP or AICE English language. Both classes are different, however they coincide in several areas.
“It was very difficult for me when choosing between AP or AICE language, because I tended to listen to what my friends said,” Sanchez said. “It was hard because I know that AICE has a better system, but AP is easier to transcript for college admissions.”
AICE language is based on the Cambridge program. The final exam consists of writing several essays over two consecutive days. Throughout the school year, the students are taught to read and analyze different genres of novels from different eras in time. Some of the books students read include, “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas,” “The Great Gatsby” and “Slaughterhouse Five.”
“AICE English Language helps me expand my horizons as a writer and allows me to express my mind,” junior Isabella Armas said. “I love how we read novels from different time periods, because I learn the different writing styles.”
Junior Adrian Macchiato said AP English Language focuses on more specific topics like corrupt dystopian societies. The final AP College Board exam consists of three essays and a multiple-choice section.
Macchiato said students usually are not assigned with homework because they are expected to read the novels that are presented. For every novel that is read, students complete multiple choice question tests and discussions to test their comprehension and analysis. Some of the books they have read are “1984”, “Animal Farm” and “Invisible Man.”
“In the beginning of the year, I thought the class was somewhat difficult because I wasn’t used to analyzing language the way I do now,” junior Sofia Angulo said. “Once I got the hang of it, the class became enjoyable and interesting.”
English teacher Margarete Marchetti said both classes require skills like reading, writing and analyzing texts or novels from different genres.
“Both, AP and AICE, are rigorous courses and have discipline. However, if a student is planning on staying in Florida for college, the AICE program is perfectly accepted,” Marchetti said. “If he or she is planning on going out of state, AP is a better option.”
Honors Chemistry vs. Regular Chemistry
BY RACHEL GREENBERG
Sophomore Kayleigh Powers was looking for a way to simplify her life. After experiencing the workload in honors chemistry, she decided to switch into regular chemistry.
“The honors classes were definitely a faster pace and more in depth,” Powers said. “I felt overwhelmed sitting in class trying to take in all the information.”
Powers said she thinks it is important to take higher-level classes in subjects you enjoy, rather than focusing on the ones you do not.
“There’s no point in stressing out over a subject you aren’t good at, especially if you aren’t interested in it,” Powers said.
Chemistry teacher Ana Riusech, who teaches honors and regular chemistry, said the honors course is more math based.
“Honors requires a B or higher in Algebra I Honors, while Regular requires a C+ or higher in Algebra I regular,” Mrs. Riusech said.
Sophomore Rebecca Grinker says she struggled with honors chemistry at first because of the new material.
“I was nervous about honors because I had heard different things about it. Some people said it was not a difficult class, while others warned me not to take it,” Grinker said. “It eventually gets easier because you get a better understanding of what the teacher is looking for.”
Grinker said a troublesome aspect of honors chemistry is the recurrence of previously learned information.
“The challenging part of the class is it keeps building on what you’ve learned,” Grinker said. “If you’re having trouble with one concept, you will have trouble with it the rest of the year if you don’t perfect it.”
Grinker said she recommends anyone who is unsure of which class, to take the time to make the decision carefully.
“I recommend honors for those that have strong math skills and can handle a fast pace,” Grinker said. “The teachers will not go over anything you have trouble with because you are responsible for your own success in the class.”
AP US History vs. Honors US History
BY SOFIA PLAZ
The Civil War, The American Revolution, George Washington and Woodrow Wilson are all names and battles that AP U.S. History (APUSH) students need to remember for the final AP exam.
Several juniors are in the middle of their APUSH courses, preparing to face the College Board AP exam, which encompasses U.S. history from 1450 all the way to 2011, which spans 31 chapters.
“APUSH is a class that people should only take if they truly like history and are good in analyzing situations in general, because there is a lot of information and specific details that make the class harder,” junior Ana Jaua said.
Even though some students might consider the course challenging, junior Larissa Martins finds the class interesting and well paced.
“U.S history is one of my favorite classes; I get to know to a certain depth what happened in the country before we were born, and it is interesting to see how the world has evolved through time,” Martins said.
AP U.S. History teacher Erica Salmeri said students are expected to be able to deeply analyze texts so their reading levels should be developed before entering the class.
“The students need to have intellectual capability and work ethic to be able to get into the course and their analytical skills need to be high to be able to analyze documents and write essays,” Ms. Salmeri said.
However, many students may consider U.S. history honors a more fitting course.
“I love U.S. history honors because even though it is less rigorous than AP, we still get to learn a huge part of the history,” junior Adriana Vivas said.
In addition to AP, United States history honors is offered as an alternative for students to take. It covers history from the Reconstruction era after the Civil War to modern times. As opposed to AP, students enrolled in U.S. history honors are required to pass an End of Course Exam at the end of the year with a score of three or above.
Vivas said she is confident in her ability to pass the test at the end of the year because she feels adequately prepared from the course work and her teacher’s lectures.
“I think that we have been preparing really well for the EOC, so I don’t think it will be that much of a challenge,” she said.
AP Government/AP Economics vs. Honors Government/Economics
BY ABBY MORGAN
Senior Sophia Cohen realized when picking her classes last year that she didn’t have enough time in a day. She decided to opt out of taking a two-hour block of AP Government/AP Economics and take a one-hour class of AP Government/Honors Economics.
“I realized I just didn’t have the amount of time in my day to devote two periods on my schedule to take AP Government/AP Economics,” Cohen said. “I already had a really rigorous senior schedule, so there was really no need to feel obliged to take it when I could take AP Government/Honors Economics and still have a very intense schedule.”
AP Government teacher Jason Gordon said the major difference between Honors government and AP government is the intensity and depth of the material.
“This class is very in depth and a lot of information about the intricacies of the governmental system,” Mr. Gordon said. “A lot of times in the Honors portion of the class, it is very surface oriented, where you just have to know the vocabulary and understand the general concept. Whereas in AP government, the students need to understand the details of the words and apply them to the government being studied.”
Honors government teacher Darlene Weber said she feels that while Honors Government is time consuming, it is more manageable and less prolonged for a student who is not looking to pursue a career in government.
“AP Government is completely off the wall, there is a lot of material to learn and a lot at stake,” Mrs. Weber said. “In Honors you have to learn your material, it’s a little critical thinking, you have to study a little at home, but it is mostly taught in class and definitely is not extremely time consuming.”
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