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Thread: What if you take the harder AP/Honors classes in your senior year instead of junior?

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    What if you take the harder AP/Honors classes in your senior year instead of junior?

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    Here's the deal: I'm currently a sophomore and I need to choose my classes for junior year. I'm taking AP Physics B this year and that is the only AP/Honors class I have taken so far.

    Here's what I've signed up for next year (junior year):

    AP Calc AB
    AP Bio
    Honors English 11
    Honors Chemistry (Highest Chemistry class at our school)
    Spanish 2

    However, the Honors Chemistry course is pretty hard from what I've heard. Most people get C's, good students (even a ranked 1 person) got a 90%. Only 3 people have A's out of 70 students. Many FAIL. I've heard this from a variety of students taking it this year: The teacher doesn't teach at all, he gives labs often and these take up a lot of time to do (they are a big part of your grade), he gives hard pop quizzes and extremely hard tests. About the hard pop quizzes and extremely hard tests, no one knows what to study for because he doesn't give you any study guide or tell you what to study for, the questions are mostly conceptual based and many questions aren't even in the book (?), it's like: if you do this to ____ what happens? why are ____ stinky?... That's what I've heard from other people.

    I'm dreading this teacher but I do want to take the class for knowledge. Does it really matter if I take it in my junior or senior year? Do engineering/medical colleges generally want to see you take a chemistry class before you apply? I REALLY don't know what to do here and I'm spending a lot of time deciding. Will I have more time senior year to spend more time in harder classes? I might take a SAT early in my senior year. It's just that with all these AP classes (my hardest course load yet), SATs(planning to prep a lot before) and SAT IIs(taking in october), and even AP exams, I don't know if I will have enough time to get a good grade in chemistry. If I take Chemistry in my junior year, I most likely will get B's in both semesters, mabye even C's (depending on how I cope with next years classes). Will getting C's drastically affect my chances at top schools?

    I'm planning to apply to UCB, UCLA, Stanford as a engineering, medical major. Please help me to decide on this problem. To colleges know actually how hard your school courses are? I've heard something about counselors sending information about class rigor from your school to colleges. Is this true for every school? Should I find out? (lol) I just don't want colleges to see that I'm "whipping out" by taking the hardest science class in my senior year. Does it really matter? Gah, I hate the admissions process=[ I'm really worried. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    So do you think it is better to take a class like AP chem junior year or senior year?? Also, colleges do care about your grades senior year right? Generally, do people have harder courses scheduled for junior year or senior year? Also, if I take Chemistry Honors I would really have to worry about taking the AP exam, this is a pro over AP comp sci. where colleges would prefer you taking an exam right?
    My senior year is probably going to be:
    AP English 12
    AP Econ
    AP Amer. Govt.
    AP Comp. Sci <-- switch this with chemistry honors? (look below)
    AP Stats/AP Music Theory (mabye neither)
    Spanish 3
    Astronomy & Earth Science

    And no, not taking chemistry in my junior year will not deprive me of any options for my senior year.

    Here are my three options that I could choose in place of Chem H:
    AP Computer Science <-- I'm interested. Same teacher as Chem H though, and if he doesn't teach I'm probably going to get a 3. A little easier than Chem H , however and the tests/quizzes are suppposedly curved sometimes.
    AP Stats <-- seems boring but the teacher is EXCELLENT, I mean she actually teaches and gives you tons of work at the same time (Almost everyone passes the AP exams). This class could also prep me for SATs?? I'm not sure if enough people are signing up for it however.
    Astronomy and other regular science classes.

  3. #3
    TestMagic Staff TestMagic Staff miketom's Avatar
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    What is your gpa? One important year of high school is your junior year. Colleges mainly look at your gpa senior year, which cannot drop lower than .6? I think. If you slack off senior year or if your gpa drops drastically, colleges can take back your admissions.

    If your major is engineering/med, I would take a chemistry course junior year. Any C's on your transcripts any year does play a role when colleges are reviewing applications.

    Your junior and senior year seem pretty stacked - 4 AP's, 2 honors, and 5 AP's senior year. From this, I don't think it'll make a BIG difference if you took regular chemistry or chemistry honors. I would take the class I can get a higher grade in.


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    TestMagic fan! scheng75's Avatar
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    Do everything in your power to ensure that you do not get a C in any math or science classes in your junior year! UC applications are due at the end of November which means your senior year grades don't really play an important role in the admissions process. If you ace your senior year first semester, I would send in your HS transcript again after you get your grades, but most UCs don't ask to see your senior grades until AFTER they've admitted you.

    If Chemistry H might jeopardize your other classes and you may not get an A, and it's not a prerequisite for another class, I would not take it. AP Biology will require some Chemistry background though but you might be able to pick that up on your own.

    Pre-Med/Engineering are the toughest programs to get in at the top UCs. I would make sure you get A's on all your math & science classes and get 4's and 5's on the AP tests. Many years ago, I got into both UCB and UCLA (Biology major) with a full ride but I got a C in Spanish 2 Honors and B in Spanish 3 Honors. This told me that they care about overall GPA (I was ranked around 30/520 from a good public HS) but more importantly your performance in the core classes. Foreign language is just not my thing and it didn't hurt me too much.
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