AP Classes: A Survival Guide

Feeling stressed over the thought of multiple AP courses? We got you covered.


Leo Laguerre, Editor-in-Chief

A common obstacle among many students in Ludlow High School — and across the country  — is the management of multiple AP courses at once. All the work that comes with these classes often leads to students feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. 

With so many AP courses, what’s the best way to manage all of them? In order to understand how, we first need to know why students take multiple AP courses in the first place.

Some students, such as LHS senior Aaron Stasiowski, take AP classes for the added challenge they provide. Others, such as senior Aaron Picard, want to earn college credit, especially in classes that they’re passionate about. If one scores well enough on AP exams, they might be able to earn college credit for the class depending on both their college of choice and their scores. 

Regardless of the reasons for taking multiple AP classes, what can be done to handle them? Most AP students agree that organization plays a major role in the successful management of AP classes. Assignments, deadlines, and exams tend to pile up, and without proper organization, it’s seemingly impossible to be successful at them. 

Different AP students tend to have different organizational methods that work best for them. When questioned, LHS senior Katherine Tassinari stated that she used a combination of planners, checklists, and journals to keep her tasks in order, and Aaron Stasiowski keeps track of assignment deadlines and other important dates by texting himself reminders. 

Students also noted that time management skills are vital to being successful. All of the homework and studying required to be successful in one AP class is a lot, but having several increases it dramatically. Some students noted that they spend three and a half to five hours on homework and studying per night during a busy week. 

There are various time-saving methods that can be implemented when working and studying for AP classes. For example, assignments can be broken up and completed in small increments with little periods of rest between each task. Additionally, doing assignments early and taking advantage of DLT’s are great ways to reduce the amount of time spent at home on assignments. 

It’s also important to recognize the bane of all AP students: procrastination. It seems very easy to push assignments off until a later date, but this practice quickly leads to trouble. AP U.S. History teacher Mr. Fanning recommends that AP students stay on top of all of their assignments because “getting behind becomes stressful.”

Another important, but not glaringly obvious, key to success is maintaining motivation in AP classes. It’s easy to lose motivation in the seemingly endless cycle of homework, studying, and tests that AP classes create. However, most successful AP students find ways to maintain motivation. 

When asked how he keeps himself motivated, Aaron Picard said: “I keep myself motivated to do well by thinking about what my life could be like one day if I try hard and stay motivated right now.”

Thinking about the future isn’t the only way to stay motivated. Katherine Tassinari says that, in the short term, she takes small breaks to keep from burning out and to maintain motivation throughout long and tedious assignments.

Most students who took AP courses in the past would recommend taking them to underclassmen, as long as they’re up to the challenge. Not only do students recommend it, but teachers do too. Mr. Fanning encourages interested students to take AP classes because “AP courses provide a better educational environment and experience” along with developing “time management skills, which [are] necessary in all parts of life.”

Achieving success in AP classes through the methods described can lead to the development of skills that last a lifetime, acceptance into good colleges, and flexibility in college scheduling. While managing multiple AP classes may seem like a Herculean task, if worked on continuously, it can yield exceptional benefits.