In need of advice... is it better to take easier classes or more difficult ones?

<p>For me its extremely easy to get straight A's in an honors class or an easy AP like Human. But I started junior year and I'm taking 4 APs (Calc, Bio, APUSH, English Lang) and struggling a little. I'm not failing but I just expect to get a few Bs this year. My unweighted GPA is barely a 3.8 so I'm worried. </p>

<p>If I took 3 easy APs like Environmental, Psychology, and something else I would probably be doing better. Do you think it matters if your AP courses are difficult or not? And is it better to take the easy ones and get As?</p>

<p>None of the AP courses are cakewalks, so I think that they all look awesome. AP is rigorous :).</p>

<p>"is it better to take the easy ones and get As? "</p>

<p>If you're planning on highly selective schools, then this is a strategy for failure. If not, then it's less a factor.</p>

<p>Your current schedule looks pretty legit for top schools. I'm a fan of taking the hardest possible courses that you possibly can, but if you can get all of the important APs out of the way before senior year, and split up some of the harder courses, then I don't see a problem with that either.</p>

<p>Thanks everyone! I do want to get into some of the top schools. I feel better about it now... its just annoying for me to see people with straight A's in super easy APs. Good to know that taking the difficult ones is worth it.</p>

<p>Your load would be brutally hard in our school, especially the simultaneous reading load of Bio and APUSH. </p>

<p>What I've seen happen is that there are times when it is simply impossible to keep up with it all while still getting sufficient sleep. Things can easily spiral out of control where your lack of sleep is preventing you from learning as effectively which makes each assignment take longer which causes more lack of sleep. This downward spiral doesn't end well because you get further and further behind and there just isn't time to catch up. </p>

<p>You are the best person to judge how hard your load is, but if you find yourself beginning this downward spiral, it's best to nip it in the bud and drop down in your least favorite between Bio or APUSH.</p>

<p>The most selective schools with holistic reviews for admissions are likely to notice the difference between "hard" AP courses and "easy" AP courses when evaluating the rigor of your high school record.</p>

<p>I think it depends on whether you are struggling a little or a lot. I think you have to take the hardest schedule you can, that still allows you to get great grades. </p>

<p>BTW, junior year is hard for everyone. Many people see their first B's this year, so know that you are not alone.</p>

<p>
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its just annoying for me to see people with straight A's in super easy APs.

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It shouldn't be. Top colleges can tell who took tough classes and who coasted.</p>

<p>It might be time, however, to brush up on your study habits. My guess is that up to know you've been able to get by on native smarts. Those smarts are still there, but that alone won't be enough to bring good grades. </p>

<p>Study habits have 2 components: the amount of time you spend and what you do during that time. For an intro math/science class in college, it would be typical to spend 6-10 hours each week outside of class doing homework and studying. As for using time effectively, there are lots of sources for info. One to get you started is Study</a> Skills Help Page MTSU I also recommend a book called "What Smart Students Know", which is by one of the cofounders of the Princeton Review SAT prep service. </p>

<p>Lastly, there is a book you should get called the "Calculus Problem Solver" that is a thick book with thousands of worked problems. Learning math and science is more like learning tennis than learning History; you have to practice over and over until it becomes 2nd nature. Using this book as part of your 6-10 hours of study will be very useful (BTW they also publish them for science courses).</p>

<p>Thank everyone!</p>

<p>@ClassicRockerDad I was considering that, and it is a lot of work, but I can handle it. I usually don't sleep before 12 but I think its worth it, I can still function the same and I still have lots of energy so it isn't a problem. I like the reading so AP Calc is actually more of an issue for me, lol</p>

<p>@mikemac Thanks for the advice! I'll look into those books</p>

<p>Another source of help I forgot to mention before is video. ItunesU has many courses including calculus available for free, as do some colleges. And the Teaching Company has some great videos which are a bit pricy but often can be borrowed from a local library (such as Understanding</a> Calculus: Problems, Solutions, and Tips )</p>

<p>ahhh thanks so much! I will check out these books. I read part of that Smart Students book on amazon and it was reallly helpful</p>

<p>Taking a highly demanding hs curriculum will contribute to a higher weighted GPA and mean that adcoms will recognize the rigor of your courseload, of course. But more importantly, it will prepare you for the academic challenges at a college where most/all of your classmates took similar courseloads. And, as others have mentioned, it allows you to hone your time management and study skills. Good luck - you can do it!</p>

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I usually don't sleep before 12 but I think its worth it, I can still function the same and I still have lots of energy so it isn't a problem.

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</p>

<p>So you say in September. Let's talk in January. This is permanently harming your developing brain. Once in a while, not a big deal. Every night. No way. I assume you are getting around 6 hours of sleep a night. That's not enough.</p>

<p>...Really? You think a 3.8 is low?</p>

<p>Thanks frazzled :)</p>

<p>@ClassicRockerDad you're right it is definitely not enough but I think its more my fault because of procrastination. I've been trying to complete the reading and most my work on the weekends if I have time so that will help. I should probably start my work as soon as I get home :l</p>

<p>@V2Blast it's not that I think a 3.8 is bad, but it's gonna be a 3.7 if I get more Bs and that's the minimum for Emory. And plus it kind of bothers me that the reason why its not higher is because of 2 high school classes I took in 8th grade... I don't want them to think I'm incapable of such easy classes</p>