How Many APs Are Too Many?

Balancing Sleep and AP Cramming


Jonathan Huang and Meredith Bushman

The hunt for the perfect schedule has eluded even the most determined students for years. Striking the right balance between multiple APs and the 8 hours of recommended sleep is something many students face when choosing classes. The battery of exams, essays, and note-taking associated with multiple AP’s can be overwhelming for some, but easily handled by others. “It’s dependent on the student, everyone has a different capacity and ability to handle different workloads, especially when there are other activities,” said a Ward Melville guidance counselor.

Many people agree that there’s nothing quite like going to college. Of course, college courses are even more rigorous (and expensive) than most courses offered in high school. This is where AP classes taken in high school come in handy. “I know some people who took a lot of AP classes, and had enough credits to essentially skip straight to their sophomore year of college,” said a Ward Melville student who is currently taking 6 AP’s. The value of APs goes beyond just high school, which students should keep in mind when considering what classes they will take.

On the other hand, APs are also notorious for stress-inducing and caffeine-filled late night study/cram sessions. “There are often feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious, as well as feeling that you are not able to catch up and are spread too thin,” said the Ward Melville guidance counselor. Meanwhile, the legendary (and intense) AP test week looms over all involved. “Being in a high school setting can be difficult because of the expectations you have academically from teachers,” reasoned a Ward Melville student who currently doesn’t take any AP’s.

In the end, it all depends on the individual. While it may sound like the simple cop-out answer, it’s the truth, everyone has different limits. “Find a balance of what you can manage,” suggests the guidance counselor. Remember, everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Take classes that challenge those strengths, maybe consider an AP,  and take other classes to shore up your weaknesses. Always keep in mind that while the eat-cram-sleep cycle that most high school students experience may seem paramount, there is an end goal in sight and reaching it is not all that far away.