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Lessons Learned

The Classes Upperclassmen Wish They Never Took


Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash


The classes students enroll in during their junior and senior years are important. Colleges are able to see a student's academic rigor, as well as their work ethic. The difficulty of classes can make a significant difference in a student’s future, but also determines how the year will go. It's important for students to take challenging classes to demonstrate their academic success. However, it's also important that students take classes they enjoy and can balance in their schedules. As Maclay students start to create their schedules for the 2024-2025 school year, they should be aware of the classes students wish they never took, so they don't make the same mistakes.


A survey was sent out to juniors and seniors, and asked them to fill out a questionnaire. The survey asked what classes they regret taking in the 2023-2024 school year and why. The following were the most frequent results.


AP Biology (Bio) was a popular answer. A lot of students regret taking AP Bio this year because of the difficulty of the content. The attention to such dense detail needed to obtain a good grade in the class, or a passing score on the AP exam, make it extremely difficult.


“The tests are impossible,” an anonymous answer said. “The class is unnecessarily hard.”


Students regret taking AP Bio because of the difficulty of the material. Though some students wish they never took AP Bio, if you're a student who enjoys science and is ready for a challenge, don't let other students' struggles discourage you. With hard work and attention to detail, success in AP Bio is achievable.


Another common response to the survey was AP Macroeconomics (Macro). Many responses say they regret taking AP Macro because the content was difficult. Students also said there were issues in the class structure, as well as disconnection between the homework, classwork and tests.


“There is little correlation between the homework material, class work, and tests,” one anonymous student said. “Overall it is very chaotic and hard to be prepared to perform well. There is a confusing class structure, teaching material issues, and the teacher is too demanding and unforgiving.”


Based on the anonymous student responses, the AP Macro class seems to be demanding. Besides the issues students have vocalized, the class is also tough because it's new material that is unfamiliar to most students. Since students feel that the class was unorganized and difficult to succeed in, they regret taking AP Macro.


A few other common responses were core science classes. One response said they wish they never took Advanced Honors Chemistry (AH Chem) because of the heavy course load.


“It was a really fast moving class and I wasn't in the best shape and that class just completely deteriorated my mental health,” an anonymous student said. “Don't get me wrong, I loved the teacher, just not the work!”


AH Chem is extremely similar to AP Chem, which explains the difficulty of the content. The class moves at a rapid speed, and covers a diverse variety of content. Despite its challenges, AH Chem is helpful going into AP Chem, because it prepares students for the class and the AP exam. But, AH Chem isn't for everyone. Because of AH Chem's complexity and speed at which it covers contents, some students wish they never took it.


Similarly, another student response was honors physics. Math plays a significant role in physics, so if students aren't comfortable with math, they tend to struggle with the class.


“I regret taking physics because I am not really good at science and math, and I often have to do extra work and practice which takes away from my other classes,” an anonymous student said. “I needed the credit, but I kind of wish I would have done a different science.”


Many upperclassmen take Honors Physics solely to fulfill all of their science credits to graduate. Because of this, many students wish they took an easier science to get all of their credits instead of honors physics, since it's such a complex topic.


While many student responses listed an individual class that they wish they never took, there were a few unique responses. One of them was a response that highlighted the value in classes, even when they're difficult or they don't like them.


Even if I do not like a class I do not find regret in it,” an anonymous student said. “Regardless of how I feel about a class, I still feel like it was a valuable experience.”


Going into the next school year, students should be aware of the classes that prior students struggled in. That way, students can be sure of the challenge they are going to take on, or so they don't find themselves in the same tough position.

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Andy Poll

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