ACT or SAT?

What made you choose the test that you would have to take? I think the best advice is to take a practice test for each and see which you do better at. There are books to check out with practice tests and books you can purchase as well.

You could also just go in to each test and take official ones just to see how you score, but you have to pay for the actual tests. You may do so well in one that you could find this the fastest way to be done with it.

You could also decide based off researching each test. There are four sections in the ACT and three in the SAT. The ACT is described as being more heavily a reading comprehension test. You have a reading, writing, and science section and the science section does not require a lot of outside scientific knowledge, just the ability to read the questions and answer based on what they present on the test. This makes it another reading section, in effect. The SAT just has the traditional Reading, writing, and math. This makes math worth 33% of your grade where on the ACT math is 25% of your grade. This can help kids make the decision as well.

The UC schools, like UCLA, UCI, etc., no longer look at these test scores which makes your GPA and extracurriculars more important. If you are only planning for these schools, I wonder if you will even bother with these tests anymore. If you want to keep options open, many schools either require the scores or list them as optional.

Best of luck as you make decisions on your future.

Reviewing Advanced Placement Classes

As the we approach Spring Break, the long awaited and very much dreaded AP season has begun. It’s time to bring out the Princeton and Barron’s review books and cram the last eight months of knowledge into our brains. As a high school junior, those feelings of stress, panic, and anxiety that accompany the months of April and May have become very familiar. I have taken a total of eight Advanced Placement classes, four of which I am currently taking. As the school year comes to a close and incoming students are deciding on their course selections for the following schools year, I would like to review some of the Advanced Placement classes that I have taken in hopes of aiding some of you in your decisions.

Human Geography

This class was by far the most eye-opening and useful AP class that I have ever taken. I took this class my freshman year, as most students do. This course is the foundation for all AP history courses. So, if you’re thinking about taking European, United States, or World history, I would highly recommend taking Human Geography. The books used for European, U.S, and World History assume that the reader has taken Human Geography or has knowledge of the terms and concepts that are central to the course. All in all, this class was super interesting and was fairly easy. The AP exam is one of the easiest that College Board offers since it is mostly taken by freshman. If you are an incoming freshman and want to try out AP classes, I would highly recommend taking Human Geography.

European History

European History has been my favorite history class so far. Not only is the history of Europe itself extremely fascinating, but I had an excellent teacher. Unlike U.S. history, the time periods and units in the European History are easily distinguishable and easy to remember. The course covers a variety of areas, including a study of European art and literature. Because the course has a strong emphasis on European art, I would highly recommend taking Europe History in the same year as Art History. The two go hand in hand and expand on the curriculum taught in each course. Because of he Documents Based Question, Long Essay Question, and Short Answer Questions, European History is definitely a huge step up from Human Geography. I enjoyed the challenge that it presented; however; if you’re not a fan of writing and reading, I would not recommend this class. Due to the pandemic, I did not take the European History exam as normal. Instead, we were given a single DBQ, which was fairly. Overall, I would recommend this class if you like to read, write, and are excited about history.

Art History

Art History was a very interesting class. My teacher formatted the class very differently from most art history teachers; however, his method was much more engaging and fun. To be completely blunt, I am not artistically inclined and have never been. I’m sure others love to appreciate art for its beauty and meaning, but I found the material somewhat boring at times. I felt that this class was somewhat useless for me. On the bright side, I can now identify works of art when I am out in public and can tell you the school of art, artist, and the materials that the artist used. I would recommend this class to anyone looking to boost their GPA or to those that need to fulfill their VAPA requirement but are artistically challenged. It is a fairly easy class that mostly requires memorization.

Chemistry

AP Chemistry is by far the hardest class I have ever taken. Up until this class, there had never been a class that I truly thought was impossible at times. Although it may seem impossible, AP Chemistry is totally doable with great deal of studying and hard work. I would recommend this class to those that are more mathematically and logically gifted. If you performed well in Honors Chemistry and are looking for a challenge, I would definietly recommend this class; however, do be warned that Chapter 17 is horrible.

Spanish Literature and Culture (Spanish 5)

Unlike Spanish 4, this class is primarily reading and writing. Basically, every week, we are assigned a new story, discuss the story, respond to questions, and write and essay on the story, all in Spanish. I would recommend this class to you if you have very strong skills in Spanish, specifically in writing and reading. As the year progresses, the stories become increasingly more challenging and complex in language and meaning. Even as a Spanish speaker, sometimes these stories seem a bit difficult to comprehend. However, if you dedicate time to understand these stories, you can definitely do well in this class.

All in all, I have had a great experience with with Advanced Placement classes and would recommend them to anyone looking to challenge themselves. They are a great way to learn, obtain college credit, boost your GPA, and look great on transcripts for college applications in the future.

-Yvette C.