With the Lack of Some AP Courses at Ward Melville, Students Turn to Independent Study


Kirti Nath, Staff Writer

Ward Melville is known for offering a rigorous AP course load, which can make AP exam weeks one of the most stressful times of the school year for many students. To add to this stress, recently some students have started to “self-study” for the AP exams of classes not offered at Ward Melville or classes that they were not able to take due to scheduling problems at the start of the year.

Students often question the lack of many popular AP courses at Ward Melville, most notably AP Physics C, AP Macroeconomics and Microeconomics, and AP Computer Science. Despite not having these courses, many students still want to demonstrate mastery in these courses and potentially gain credit to place out of introductory courses in college. As a result, some students resolve to study for the AP exam on their own using review books and online videos, through sites such as Khan Academy and Youtube, to learn the AP course content independently.

Senior Swati Sekar who independently studied for the AP Computer Science exam this year comments, “I think overall Ward Melville has a large set of standard AP courses, but is really missing out by not offering AP Computer Science. Many other top districts offer the AP Computer Science course in school, and I don’t think our school realizes how much of an advantage those students have over ours for getting more exposure to it. Computer Science is a really hot subject, and advances in computer science are occurring at a much faster rate than those of any other sciences.”

However, while many students feel inconvenienced and disadvantaged by the lack of some elective APs, others feel as if it gives them a newfound opportunity to learn a specific subject matter on their own terms and conditions. Successfully learning an AP course on independently can be both challenging and rewarding and can give students a sense of academic independence.

Junior Mohit Singh comments, “In the day and age of the Internet where a wealth of knowledge and resources is readily accessible to everyone, I do not see a need for physically taking a course in a conventional classroom setting all of the time, sitting for 40 minutes a day in a classroom when I can instead efficiently self study the course material on my own time, potentially through a MOOC or by utilizing materials that teachers around the world have posted to the Internet.”

Similar trends persist in different high schools throughout the country. While learning from other students and teachers in a classroom is important, AP courses are no longer confined to a high school classroom. Instead, they can be learned at home from a laptop, building student curiosity and enhancing any learning experience.