Fighting AP Senioritis
June 2, 2016 • 542 views
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Second semester for most seniors is meant to be a breeze. College acceptance letters have arrived, and seniors are finally letting down their hair. However, for some seniors, the ‘big envelope’ is not their end goal. These are the AP students, whose jobs are not yet finished, for their last obstacle lies in the month of May.
The day that I received my college acceptance letter was the day that I finally relaxed a bit. All of the strenuous effort I had put in for high grades, and the multitude of extracurricular activities, had paid off. While I felt as though I had done all that I needed to do, it was only December, and I had four AP tests waiting for me in six months.
I now had an issue at hand, because I had caught a strong case of senioritis with six more months of preparation ahead of me.
Senioritis, regardless of which courses students take their senior year, is a very real issue. Students with senioritis experience a decline in motivation and performance in their studies, because they feel as though there is no need keep trying when all they need to do is wait until graduation. This results in an increase of procrastination and a lack of effort put into school work. Seniors settle for the B instead of the A, or the C instead of the B, and wait until the last possible second to do homework.
To take AP classes with this kind of work ethic can be difficult and rather intimidating. So, with the help of seniors Tiffany and Kiran, and English 4AP teacher Mrs. Langman, I’ve created a few tips on how to survive AP with senioritis. With these tips, AP won’t seem so daunting and will instead seem perfectly manageable.
Avoid Senioritis Altogether
Senioritis is an obvious hurdle to jump over, and can be branched into two other main topics: procrastination and time management. The lack of motivation felt by those with senioritis coincides with an increase in the amount that they procrastinate and a complete lack of time management.
But how can one stop procrastination before it starts? “If it’s a lot of work,” says Kiran, who takes three AP classes this year, “at least start some of it earlier. If you start sooner, you’ll probably finish it sooner.” Mrs. Langman also suggests that it would be best “to tackle the longest projects first, and do them in bits.” It is easier to start an essay before the day it is due and write a few sentences a day instead of writing the whole thing in one night. That way, when other smaller things are due in the same time period, getting everything done won’t seem as stressful. “Don’t structure your workload based off of due dates,” says Mrs. Langman, for it will be a constant cycle of stressing out over all you have to do in one night.
Having good time management takes some practice, but it will be worth it in the long run. “Every year, colleges rescind offers of admission, put students on academic probation or alter financial aid packages as a result of “senioritis,’” says college board. Even if students do not take AP, avoiding senioritis is crucial. “Colleges expect seniors to complete courses they enrolled in, including high-level courses,” so slacking off on grades second semester can hurt more than just a student’s GPA, but also the acceptance into college that they worked so hard to get.
2. Pay Attention
Graduation is one month away, and the school you’re going to in the fall is already waiting for you. However, AP tests are now, so “try to at least stay cognitively alert in class,” says Mrs. Langman. At this point in the year, students probably want to settle for the B when they were previously getting A’s. “But they can’t totally check out,” says Mrs. Langman. If a student slacks off for the last semester of school, grades will drop, and they will get out of the swing of working hard and productively for when college starts in the fall.
But it won’t be so easy to work with as much energy as before, since the goal main goal of going to high school has already been achieved. So, to work well in a less motivated state, students should “do the readings,” says Kiran, “and pay attention as much as you can.” Knowing the lesson the way that the teacher taught it is crucial to how well students take the AP test as well tests or quizzes in class.
3. Sleep Well
AP students are notorious for staying up late or getting up early to do homework or to study. Not having a steady sleep schedule or not getting enough sleep also plays into a student’s time management. Students should not wake up at 3:00 A.M. to do homework or stay up that late doing it. It’s not healthy to have such irregular sleep schedules due to homework that could possibly have been done at another time and will not get done well and efficiently at such an hour. “Take advantage of free time,” says Tiffany, who takes seven AP classes, “it doesn’t come around often.” Sleeping well is important: being well rested keeps students more alert and attentive so that they absorb more information in class to then use in later work and specially the AP test.
4. Put in Effort
For Mrs. Langman, she believes that “work ethic is more important than ability.” AP classes are meant to be difficult. “My class is challenging, but plausible,” says Mrs. Langman. Getting an A is nice, but it is not the ultimate goal. Putting in an effort to do your work the best that you can is far better than copying answers or not doing it to your best capacity. Students that put in their best effort, even when they are not the best at that subject, do better than the ones who put in far less effort and are better at that subject.
5. Know Your Boundaries
Stress can come hand in hand with AP courses. Along with doing the above, stress levels can be handled by students knowing the amount of stress that they can take. Seniors have, of course, been taking high school classes for three and a half years now. In this time period, they should have realized times when they were not able to handle the amount of stress they were feeling and find ways to avoid such stress levels. Knowing one’s own stress level will help decide if AP is the correct choice and how one will move forward in the class.
6. Know There’s More to AP than the Test
Obviously, for most, the AP tests in May are the main reason for taking AP classes. However, taking the AP test is optional. AP classes are not only meant to prepare students for the AP test, but to challenge students in the subject they are taking. Each AP class is meant to provide an in-depth understanding on the subject the class is on. Without taking the AP tests, students can still take a final as they would in any other class, and simply take the class for the learning experience. If a student has a keen interest in biology, English, art, or statistics, why not take the AP class? There is no other class that will provide such material that a student might not think they could learn. AP is challenging, yes, but it is also thought filled with enriching, thought provoking material meant for students to enjoy and learn. AP is a great way to learn college level material in a free high school course. The AP test is optional, but the learning experience AP classes provide is completely guaranteed and recommended for those willing to take up the challenge.
Every student has a different system to getting through their academic life. Hopefully this “how to” list of tips shows that AP is challenging, but very do-able, and is worth the benefits it comes with, like saving money on college courses.