By Kate Salvo and Sarah Carlsen
When students reach sophomore year at Jamesville-DeWitt High School, they have a new array of choices regarding the difficulty of the classes they take. Almost every Regents course is also available to sophomores at the honors or AP level. These higher level classes provide many new challenges and opportunities for students.
One aspect students found particularly challenging when taking these higher level courses is the workload. “Make sure you have the drive and the time to do all the work needed,” said sophomore Joanna Butler. Sophomore Meredith Wagner said that the homework load is the biggest change she notices from a Regents course. “Make sure you do your homework, because it counts for a lot of your grade,” said Wagner. “At the beginning of the year, it was especially challenging, but it gets better over time,” said sophomore Jack Davis.
Another challenge the sophomores face when taking these courses is the difficulty of tests and assignments. Guidance counselor Laura Bond said that students often feel that algebra and biology are the most challenging courses, especially at the honors or AP level. “Tests and quizzes are harder and they expect your skill level to be increased,” said Butler. Sophomore Nolan Barth said some teachers can give harder assignments than others. Algebra 2 teacher Diane Huyck said that the challenging problems and rigorous pace are the two things students find most strenuous.
While there are many challenges to honors and AP courses, there are also benefits. “Once you get into a pattern, it gets much easier,” said Davis. Butler said it’s a good opportunity because you have the chance receive an honors credit. Barth said he decided to take honors because he wanted to be with people more on his skill level. “Global last year was pretty easy for me, so it was a good decision to take honors,” said Wagner.
In order to be successful in a higher level class, there are certain things you should be able to do. Mrs. Huyck advises that in these classes, even if you have never needed extra help, you may need to stay after often to keep up with a difficult course. “If you are motivated and have the time, you should go for it, but don’t take on more than you can handle,” said Davis. Other sophomores agreed, saying that enthusiasm for success is one of the most important things you need in order to do well in higher level courses.
Mrs. Bond said that in order to be succeed in an upper level class, students need motivation and drive. One challenge of making the transition to an honors class versus a regents level is the amount of work you have to put in to be successful. “If you haven’t haven’t studied before, you’ll notice you need t.o study now,” said Mrs. Bond. “Look at the whole picture. If you’re busy with sports, volunteer work or any extracurricular activities, make sure you balance your time,” said Mrs. Bond. “Remember that you don't need honors or AP courses to get into a good college and be successful,” said Mrs. Bond.