How hard is your courseload?

As the end of the semester approaches, students have had some time to get a feel for their classes and course load. During the start of the year, many students have transitioned from a low pressure environment in online school last year to an academic environment that is more challenging. 

In a survey sent out to students, respondents discussed their course workload. Many students at Hinsdale are taking AP classes. Of the 59 students who responded, 62 percent are taking at least one AP class. Most students are taking approximately one to five AP classes, with a small majority taking more than five. 

As AP and Honors classes are more rigorous, many students explain the increasing pressure they feel. When asked which class they find the hardest, many stated that AP European History, AP Physics, Physics Honors, World History Honors, and AP US History require the most effort and are often difficult due to the amount of homework and material covered. One student stated that they “[study] for four hours for every test.” 

AP European History is often the first AP course that many students take, as it is one of the few AP courses offered to sophomores. Many find this class difficult.

“AP Euro is the hardest [class] for me because Mr. Frieler holds us to a relatively high standard,” one student said.

Another student mentioned that in AP European History “you have to read around 12 pages almost every night from a convoluted textbook, not to mention the rigor of the in-class work and projects.” 

In addition, many students explained the difficulty of Physics and other science courses, as they include “a lot of self learning and difficult tests.” 

Adding to the pressure of the fast paced nature of these classes and rigorous course material, many students also mentioned that these courses have become increasingly difficult due to a new grading system which consists of formative and summative assessments. Summative assessments are the assignments that have the greatest impact on one’s grade such as projects, tests, and quizzes. Formative assessments are the homework assignments or classwork that students receive which have a low impact on their grade. 

One student stated that “AP physics [is the most difficult course] because of the new grading scale.” 

Another student said that math was the most difficult for them “ because of the way grading works.” 

Although the course workload is challenging and difficult to keep up with for many students, they provided helpful advice for others who are struggling with keeping up with their work. 

Some students mentioned that they “use AP Classroom” and “stay organized.” Another student suggested “[taking] breaks when necessary.” Many students also recommended using calendars and organizing assignments from easiest to hardest, and then working through them to help one stay on task and manage their time. Prioritizing which classes and which work to do first was also common advice. 

Although the workload is difficult, students mentioned that they enjoy the course material covered by their most difficult classes. A student mentioned that “AP European History is a challenging class, but it’s also definitely my favorite!”