Graduating Seniors on Their Advanced Placement Experience

Seniors talk about their favorite AP classes, and give advice to those heading into class registration.


Anaya Lamy

AP environmental science students in class

With class registration right around the corner, many students are unsure of which advanced placement (AP) classes to take, if any. Several seniors who’ve taken many of the AP classes available here at Central Kitsap High School shared their opinions, struggles, and advice, to help other students make informed decisions when choosing classes.

Earning a 3 or higher on an AP exam awards college credit, saving student’s time and money. According to the College Board, “Research consistently shows that AP students are better prepared for college than students who don’t take AP, regardless of their exam score. They’re more likely to enroll and stay in college, do well in their classes, and graduate in four years.”

Students should be aware that AP courses are college level, and therefore have a larger course load and are objectively more difficult than standard or even honors classes at CKHS.

There are currently 26 AP classes available at CKHS. A list of these classes can be found in the course catalog, along with a brief description of each of them.

AP Human Geography

AP Human Geography is currently the only AP class available to freshmen, and was a common favorite among the seniors.

“It’s a pretty easy AP class, definitely geared towards freshmen. It was a lot of fun. Probably the most fun I’ve had in a class,” said William Puutansuu, a senior at CKHS.

Many of the seniors recommended that all freshmen try taking the class, as it is a good introduction to the world of AP classes without being too overwhelming.

“I think it was a good introduction to what AP is like,” says senior, Victor Gutierrez. “It’s a lot more independent. You’re on your own for reading and understanding the content.”

On AP Human Geography homework load, Puutaansu said “[It was] much less than any other AP class. It was pretty much just every two days you had to do half an hour’s worth of reading.”

AP World History

AP World History is the Sophomore history class offered at CKHS. The class was well liked, and highly recommended by several of the seniors.

“It was a lot of reading, but a lot of really interesting topics,” said Elliot Schweitzer, a senior at CKHS, “History is very eurocentric, so [it was cool] getting to learn about other places that were obviously way more important before the 1400s. We did a lot on China, and that was really interesting.”

Eleanor Hebard, a senior at CKHS, talked about their experience taking AP World their sophomore year. They had nothing but positive feedback for the class.

“Definitely take it, it’s a really good class,” said Eleanor Hebard, a senior at CKHS, “Just in terms of the content, I think it’s an important class to take. Honestly all of the AP history courses I think are worth it to take. . . Even if you think you just want to do one AP a year, I would say take the history ones.”

As with any of the AP history classes at CK, a substantial amount of homework is to be expected.

“The homework was just reading,” said Schweitzer, “I definitely learned a lot from the reading, so I would recommend doing the reading and note taking. It will affect your grades if you don’t do it.”

AP World History has been recounted as very interesting and, like most AP classes, good for those who are willing to put in the work outside of the classroom.

“Anyone who’s really interested in history should probably take that class,” says Guitierrez. “It’s a lot more conceptually oriented. It’s not too many details but a lot of content to remember. If you’re good at studying it’s definitely something to play to your strengths at.”

AP US History

AP US History is the junior AP history course offered at CKHS. As with the other AP History courses, the seniors had nothing but positive regard for the class.

AP US History is for people who love history. However, it is very different from AP World History. “It’s definitely a lot more detail-oriented so if you’re someone who is better at memorizing facts and small details that’s something you want to do,” says Gutierrez

According to the seniors, AP US History involves a higher workload, but is well worth it for the depth of content offered.

“Every night you will have reading,” said Hebard, “and you can get away with not doing it some days, or not taking notes on it, but the best way to get the information out of it is by reading it for comprehension, and taking notes on the reading.”

AP US Government & AP Comparative Government

AP Government students in class (Anaya Lamy)

There are now two different AP Government courses offered at CKHS: AP US Government, and AP Comparative Government. These classes were previously combined into one course, split over two semesters. Either one of these classes can be taken in place of civics.

AP Government is a popular choice in terms of AP classes. All of the seniors said it was one of their favorites, if not their number one favorite class.

“Great class, highly recommend,” said Putaansuu, “Honestly, I really recommend it to anyone who is even remotely curious about history and is willing to put in the work, because it’s like taking civics, but you get so much more information on it.”

AP Psychology

AP Psychology is a class that has received widely positive feedback from students and has been described as “pretty fun” by Gutierrez.

“It’s probably the easiest or one of the easiest AP classes here. It’s also really interesting as well no matter what field you’re going into.” says Gutierrez

AP Biology

AP Biology was described by the seniors as an extremely in depth class, perfect for those with an interest in the sciences or the medical field.

“AP Biology is a wider class. Really, really in depth biology,” said Putaansuu, who took the class online during COVID, “Pretty much all bits of biology, ecology, some organic chemistry, a lot of DNA, RNA, bits of the cell, evolution, stuff like that. Yeah, very, very dense class. There’s a lot to cover there, and it was a lot of work. That was probably one of the hardest classes I took, and the most work I’ve ever done in an AP class.”

Senior Amanda Ashmore actually considers this one of her favorite classes considering she’s very interested in science. Despite having interest in the subject, Ashmore does not discredit the difficulty that this class entails.

“Biology is really hard,” says Ashmore. “Only take bio if you’re serious about the concept and that’s something that you really are very passionate about, because if you’re not, you’re going to hate it and drop it.”

Students considering taking AP Biology should be aware of the high workload, but should also be aware of the benefits that come from taking the class. Scoring a 3 or higher on the AP bio exam could allow some students to skip biology in college.

“AP bio was some of the most work I’ve had to do for an AP class. . . but I still enjoyed it a lot,” said Hebard.

AP Chemistry

Like AP Bio, there is a fairly large amount of homework and in class work assigned with AP Chem. Putaansuu described it as “One of the harder APs,” with a substantial, but reasonable amount of homework. “I didn’t feel like I was being overworked,” said Putaansuu.

Students should also be aware that the class involves a fair amount of math, but for students who are interested in chemistry and related fields, the class is highly recommended.

“There’s not a lot of straight math in chem, but there’s a lot of math ideas. So if you’re not really a math person, maybe don’t take [AP chemistry],” said Hebard, “But at the same time, if you think you might be interested in that subject and want to get a good, broad and detailed knowledge base, then you definitely should take it.”

This class is one of the most difficult classes offered at Central Kitsap High School. Because of this, it may be better for students to take a few advanced classes such as Honors Chemistry or Honors Biology beforehand.

AP Physics C

AP Physics C is the most advanced physics class offered at CKHS. It was described by the seniors as a very difficult class, perhaps the hardest AP class they had taken, but great for those who really love physics and math. It is recommended by seniors to take calculus beforehand or at least have a foundational understanding of it.

“Definitely only for people who like physics, are good at calculus, and know they want to go into something like that,” said Putaansuu, “So, people who want to go into engineering, physics, math, probably good for them, but for anyone else, save yourself and take AP physics 1 . . . Yeah, very difficult, but also very rewarding because it gives a whole bunch of college credit.”

AP Environmental Science

AP Environmental Science ​​is described by Wikipedia as “an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical, biological, and geography to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems.” It was described by the seniors as an easy but interesting class.

“If you only want to take one AP, take AP environmental because it is quite easy,” said Putaansuu, “It’s one of those classes where if you have nothing else to take, it’s worth it and not stressful at all because you really don’t have all that much homework.”

When asked about AP Enviro, all of the seniors mentioned that it is a fairly easy class. For students that would prefer an AP class with a very low workload, AP Enviro is probably their best option.

Students in AP environmental science class (Anaya Lamy)

“For Environmental Science, the workload is pretty low, the only homework is reading guides. It’s really easy.” said Schweitzer.

Though the class is easy, it is not boring. Many seniors found the topics presented in class to be very interesting without being overwhelming, as it builds on concepts that students are likely already familiar with.

“Very good AP class to take if you’re looking for not super hard science . . . just good kind of broad concepts,” said Hebard, “there’s a lot of overlap between the ecology unit of AP Bio and AP Enviro, and environmental science and AP Human Geography in terms of population stuff. It’s kind of a lot of stuff you’ve already learned, either from the outside world . . . [or from] other classes you’ve already taken. It’s just kind of summarizing it all together in one class. So yeah, it’s nice.”

AP Language & Composition

AP Language was described by Schweitzer as “all writing, and like, grammar stuff,” so for students who love writing essays, it has the potential to be a very enjoyable class.

This course has also been said to be very good for students preparing to take the SAT. For this reason, Gutierrez says “as a junior or below, you should definitely go for it.”

AP Literature

All of the seniors who had taken AP literature said it was a very easy, and very enjoyable class, especially for those who love to read.

“[AP Lit] is just reading things and then interpreting them,” said Schweitzer. Schweitzer also said that though short essays are sometimes required, they are very few and far between.

AP Capstone: Seminar and Research

AP Seminar is the prerequisite for AP Research, so students who plan on eventually taking research should definitely take this class. Several of the seniors interviewed found AP Seminar and AP research to be very beneficial, as it taught them many useful skills.

“In AP Seminar and AP Research, you’re learning presentation skills, looking in databases, synthesizing information, basically doing research,” said Hebard, “especially once you’re in research itself, you figure out how to do an actual research project, which is a really cool and really unique experience . . . You can still take AP seminar on its own and get some really beneficial skills from just taking that, but they’re definitely better in combination. . . Just knowing your limits of keeping yourself on task is important when signing up for those two classes.”

It is mindful to note that both courses in the AP Capstone program are extremely independent and require a lot of self-discipline.

“If you [don’t] necessarily have a lot of time on your own hands or [are not] able to work on your own and apply things on your own then [AP Seminar] is something you should probably avoid.” Says Gutierrez.

AP Research is even more hands off than AP Seminar considering you are working on your research project for the entire year.

“It’s really just up to you.” says Gutierrez.

AP Statistics

The AP math courses are generally for students who have completed the required math classes at CKHS some time before their senior year and are looking to continue to advance in math. AP Statistics has been regarded as a good alternative to Calculus.

“[Statistics] is a little bit easier, I’d say, than calc but it is also probably a lot more applicable to…regular life,” says Gutierrez.

AP Calculus AB & BC

This class is recommended for students who want to advance in math and know that they want to study in the STEM field after High School.

“If you want to continue doing math or you think you’re going to be doing more math in college [it’s] something to look out for,” Says Gutierrez. “If you have all your math credits and you know you’re not going to go into higher level math than it’s probably even more in your interest to go into more electives.”

All of the seniors interviewed recommended that students try taking at least one AP class, as they can be seriously beneficial in the long run. AP classes can potentially save students lots of money and time, getting them college credits while in high school, and allowing them to skip classes in college.

It’s also important to self-reflect when it comes to signing up for advanced-level classes. Spacing out the amount of AP classes taken per semester can help ease the stress and workload that may come with the courses

“If you’re going to a general education curriculum…take at least one AP History, probably at least one AP English like literature or language, and then you can do like a couple here and there. Says Gutierrez. “It really depends on where you want to go and what you’re looking into.”