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The Student News Site of Urbana High School


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Aim for AP: Student ranking of AP classes offered at UHS!

Aim for AP: Student ranking of AP classes offered at UHS!

Students at UHS were asked to rate every AP class they had taken on a scale of 1 out of 10 for their difficulty and ‘funess’. Not only are the answers shocking, but student testimony and the influence of teachers change many of the results of the quiz! Let’s take a look at some of those AP courses that UHS students have taken, and those that students plan to take next year! Students offer first hand advice and reviews of each class, and we’ll end with a ranking of the 19 AP classes UHS has to offer for students!


FUNNESS: 2.4/10 DIFFICULTY: 5.6/10

Nearly 50% of respondents had taken AP US Gov during their freshman year at UHS and the results are not great! With the lowest ‘funness’ rating from UHS students things do not look optimistic. Ranking bottom of our lost AP US Gov was overall seen as a bland class that was exceedingly difficult due largely to the monotony of the classroom.

Ioana Cornilescu (11) discussing the content said, “What we had to learn and memorize was not interesting… like how many months the budget needs to be completed in or how many members of congress [there are].” 

Additionally a lot of the work in the class is left ungraded, this mixing with the brain-numbing class content leaves many AP Gov classrooms full of apathetic students. Which does not make the best learning environment for students who actually try. As Brooke Dress (11) stated, “I did not feel prepared for the AP exam.”

According to CollegeVine only 48.6% of students who take the AP Gov exam pass with a 3 or higher. This along with the fact that of all students interviewed at UHS 0 got a 5 on the AP Gov exam it is a beginner AP course that may be best to be skipped. If you are looking for Social Studies classes to take for AP there are far better options, such as AP World or our #1 rated class which will be discussed at the end of the article…


FUNNESS: 6.6/10 DIFFICULTY: 4.8/10

25% of respondents had taken AP World and for good reason! An AP social studies course at UHS that isn’t brain draining busy work! The class covers a lot! Taking students from 1200 to the modern era, covering the Mongol invasions, reformation, French Revolution, World War 2, and so so much more! With so much to cover Brooke says, “[There is] always something new and interesting happening in class.”

Now with many of the history based AP classes they lean heavily into lecture based learning, so keep that in mind if you are interested in trying the class! If you’re looking for some help when studying for AP World, many of the students who have taken the class suggest looking into Heimler’s History (! The youtube channel offers study material not just for AP World but additionally for APUSH, AP Gov, and AP Euro. Compared to US Gov, however, according to CollegeVine over 60% of AP World testers get a 3 or higher on the exam, the average score for UHS students was a 4.5.

AP World however is a very broad history course, covering almost a thousand years of history across the globe in a semester long class. So students don’t get to go as in-depth in their learning. If you’re looking for a class that dives further into the history of the time but with a far more focused and detailed lens students suggest AP European History (Rank #5). However if you’re looking for more hands-on courses history might not be the subject for you! Students would suggest the STEM Field!


FUNNESS: 5.6/10 DIFFICULTY: 6.3/10

AP Environmental Science a.k.a  APES is a course that prepares students for studying science and the environment. It prepares students for arrears that involve studying pollution and how humans impact the planet as well as how the environment interacts with itself. Former APES student, Chris Oh (11), says that APES is the, “study of the environmental world… the different ways the Earth deals with environmental damage and the scientific compounds that are created [that cause pollution].”

Ms. McCook, the APES teacher, focusses much of her class on presentations, throwing in some projects and trips to the creek behind the school. Though her reliance on presentations and lectures can make the class more difficult for some students. Chris Oh says that, “If you’re not good with attention I would suggest you try to follow along the day after because she usually posts [the presentations] the day after.” Further, Chris says to, “ Rely heavily on the book that they lend you because at the end of the day, the questions on the AP test and quizzes are going to be focused around that book.” 

According to CollegeVine only 53% of students get a 3 or higher on the APES quiz, a more difficult exam compared to the others offered. It’s very vital to use the books they offer you in this course to make sure you can do well as Chris suggests. Another Ap class that revolves around science is AP Chemistry with Ms. Escalono! 


FUNNESS: 6.3/10 DIFFICULTY: 7.4/10

AP Chemistry is a class that covers a lot! The course is a college level chemistry course exploring and expanding on everything you learn at the honors level in chemistry. You go further in depth into periodic trends, molar masses and chemical reactions through some lab work as well as paperwork. Describing the workload Ioana Cornilescu stated that, “A really rigorous class, not a lot of graded work which is misleading to the amount of work you will need to do to be successful on the test.”

About 20% of respondents had taken the class before and about 26% are planning on taking the course next year. Be prepared for a very difficult class, these students warn! Avery Chen (11) who has taken/ is currently taking over 10 AP courses at Urbana said that, “AP Chemistry is the hardest AP exam [with] a lot of topics to cover. All of the practice [AP Chemistry] exams are only 50 questions while the actual exam is 60 questions.” This difficulty shows with CollegeVine stating that only 54% of those who took the exam got above a 3 on the exam.

However this difficult class can be fun with the right teacher. Mrs. Escalono teaches the AP Chemistry class at UHS and she makes the class an enjoyable experience for students! Ioana Cornilescu explained this saying, “She gives a lot of resources and free time! She is really nice and not strict!” 



AP Psychology is a course I’ve heard many things about! While many enjoy it, some have struggled significantly with the course. The course, unlike many of the other AP classes listed here, relies heavily on the memorization of many different terms. The course is grounded in science, as Suhaan Pastakia (11) states, “A fun class with more biology than expected!”

The course surrounds the biology of the brain, face, and eyes and how they impact our thinking and everyday life. Brooke Dress (11) goes more into the difficult side of AP Psych that Suhaan briefly discussed, “AP Psych is very difficult because there are hundreds of terms you have to know and they are all long words that all sound similar.” With words such as, Cerebellum, Precentral Gyrus, Postcentral Gyrus, Parieto-Occipital Sulcus, and Corpora Quadrigemina  it’s easy to see where she is coming from!

Brooke Dress describes the course as very fast paced and Suhaan adds onto this saying, “It’s a lot of notetaking, it’s not an easy class.” However AP classes are not meant to be easy! About 59% of people pass the AP exam for psychology according to CollegeVine, however AP Psychology helps teach students very valuable information about their everyday life and is a vital course if you’re going into the medical field!


FUNNESS: 5.2/10 DIFFICULTY: 6.8/10

AP Calculus is split between the AB and BC classes due to the amount of course work that comes with it. Taking both makes AP calculus a year long AP course, which brings with it a significant level of difficulty. It’s also math which makes it even more challenging to most.

Mrs. Miller, who teaches AP Calculus, takes this into consideration in her coursework and attempts to make the class easier, while still making sure students are prepared for the AP exam. Avery Chen elaborated saying, “She gives you homework passes but normally [homework is] 30 minutes to an hour of work a night.” Ioana Cornilescu described Mrs. Miller as, “Very nice and she’s really funny and makes the class engaging… She gives metaphors [so students] have good ways of understanding topics. She stays after school a really long time to tutor students.”

According to CollegeVine about 55% of the students get a 3 or higher on the AP exam for AP Calculus. To succeed, Ioana suggests taking all the tutoring opportunities that you can! “In calc I know 40 – 50 people who go to tutoring after school” Ioana said. Furthermore both Avery and Ioana recommend doing your schoolwork on time, because it directly prepares you for the quizzes and AP exam. “I did 14 FRQs the day before they were due… don’t wait until the last minute to do your schoolwork.” Avery Chen explained.



AP Macroeconomics is a course that while relying somewhat on mathematics is very much a course about how our world works. Macroeconomics, taught by Mr. Kachur, is a course that takes students through the economics of the world and ties in a lot with government and history. It’s a very fun and interesting class for anyone interested in how the world works and interacts with each other! As Avery Chen describes, “It’s a lecture based class where you take notes, but it’s fun notes. And the teachers are interesting.” AS anyone who has had a class with Mr. Kachur can tell you, his classes are very entertaining with the stories he includes in his lectures. 


FUNNESS: 6.5/10 DIFFICULTY: 5.5/10

AP Lang is a course where students learn how to analyze and understand nonfiction text. It focuses mainly on two aspects; reading non fiction novels and writing essays! Its a very difficult and rigorous course, but it’s very enjoyable as you get to choose what novels you would like to read for class. The class also focuses a lot on class discussion and presentations, so if you’re an introvert it might not be the class for you!

Letty Branch (11) says, “The in class essays are the most difficult part, because of the speed you’re going and the amount of information you need to consume and then put into your paper.” or as Brooke Dress states simply, “I didn’t like the essays.” 

For the AP Lang exam you have to write several essays as well as a reading section with multiple choices similar to the english section on the paper SAT. It’s a very difficult course which Letty suggests, “studying and reviewing your work after you’ve completed it.” Because reviewing how well you did on your essays directly works towards improving your writing for the next one. Though overall it is a very fun class for those who enjoy reading, writing, and being able to learn about whatever you want through your personal novel choices. Some examples of novels students have read have been; In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Hiroshima by John Heresy, The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Weijun Wang, and Dopesick by Beth Macy.



AP Literature is another very fun course, structured similarly to AP Lang except meant for analyzing fiction novels opposed to nonfiction novels. In the class you analyze not only fiction novels but also poetry and drama to learn about many different cultures currently and from history. Unfortunately it’s a course not many students at UHS have taken but they should! It gets students to think about how fiction interacts with the world and society around it! Luckily, there seems to be a renewed interest in the course as over 46% of surveyed students are planning on signing up for the course!



AP Studio is a very different class compared to the other AP classes on this list. Largely due to the fact that it is an Art class! This however allows for the course to be a lot more engaging as students get to directly produce works of art throughout the course of the AP class. Not many students take the class due to its artistic nature, but for those who do enjoy art this is one of the best AP courses you can take at UHS!

Ms. Willet is the art teacher in charge of AP Studio and she allows students a lot of freedom. Chris Oh states that, “She will have a small lecture at the beginning of a new assignment… before completely giving us control for the rest.” Chris expands on this freedom as he says, “The experience feels a lot more free and studious than the other classes. It’s a bit more for the mature artists.”

The class is structured very differently to most AP classes because there is no exam for the AP Studio Art class. Instead students must submit a portfolio of their best artworks from the class to be graded by AP graders from the college board. This means that throughout the course you are directly working on your final for the ‘AP exam’ which can make it more difficult but also feel more important. The only thing Chris has to suggest to others who want to take the course is, “Make sure you have some experience with all the different kinds of arts because you’re going to be needing to do both wet and dry media for your assignments. It’s good to have that kind of practice overall.”



AP Comparative Government & Politics is a class taught by Mr. Absher, and it is one of the most enjoyable classes you can take at UHS. If you love history and politics this is the class for you! The course has students study 6 different government structures and compare them to each other and the United States. You will study China, Nigeria, Russia, Mexico, Iran, and the United Kingdom, learning everything about their government and history. While a lecture based class, the teachers passion for the subject, and additionally opportunities for class discussion and researching current events, make the class one of the most engaging in the school.

Additionally Suhaan Pastakia says, “The AP exam is really easy, all you need to do is look over your notes, practice some SAQs, and don’t stress too much over it.” The course involves one of the easiest Ap exams, with CollegeVine stating that over 70% of students get a 3 or higher on the exam. The exam involves simply just a multiple choice section followed by a few small essays, the most difficult thing being remembering the difference between Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Khameneh in Iran.

If you have even the slightest interest in politics and how the world is structured I would highly suggest AP Comparative. Not only is it an easy class, it also teaches you vital lessons about how the world is structured and the differences between countries. As well as Mr. Absher is one of the best teachers in the school and is a large part of why the class is so amazing. AP Comparative is a rarely taught subject in high schools across the US and we are lucky to have it here at Urbana. If you’re going to take Ap at UHS, this is the class to take!

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About the Contributor
Jason Holman
Jason Holman, Reporter
Jason Holman is a Junior at Urbana High School. In school, you can catch him in the drama department where he devotes much of his time and effort as one of the assistant stage managers. In his free time--he reads, writes, draws, and even acts which is what draws him out from the crowd.     The three things he cannot live without consist of his phone, a book, and something to draw with. When asked what his death row meal would be, he would be satisfied with an Alaskan Crab with old bay, salmon, a baguette, water, rice, and fries.    Who inspires Jason to be who he is today? His mom. “She does a lot and pushes through to help a lot of people. She's a teacher,” her selflessness radiates onto her son too, who gives off such a positive energy in school.   His favorite music artist is Will Wood, an indie folk American singer-songwriter, filmmaker, composer, and comedian. The song he would recommend to anyone would be, “I, Me, Myself.”   Jason sees himself 10 years from now owning his apartment, working as a political science journalist, and accomplishing his goal of learning a new language. 

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