Rating APs We’ve Taken at Magnet

Rating the classes you love (or love to hate)


Disclaimer: Lilly was too indecisive to decide on a number so she just provided commentary

AP World:

Ellyse: 9.5/10

This is one of the first AP classes I had ever taken and honestly, I was kind of scared going into it- but it was very doable. The homework was very minimal and despite the stress I had when Dr. Zerbst would randomly call on me, the class was pretty fun. The tests were extremely hard(especially the first couple because I was getting used to it), but they were also curved so it was fair. Overall, I liked how interactive the class was and I felt like I learned a lot from this class. 

Top piece of advice: Study for those tests man

Favorite memory: Cookie decorating day


Lilly: This was my introduction to the world of APs and though I loved it, Dr. Zerbst terrified me at the time. During the second week of school, I remember we did journal entries during a lockdown drill and she asked if it was too much and everyone else was like oh no this class is super easy and that was the moment I realized that Magnet students were next level crazy. All that aside, this class is super interesting, and Dr. Zerbst was an amazing teacher. It was a nice reprieve from all the South-Carolina-centric history of my past, and it was a unique history class compared to all the classes I have taken since and all the classes I took before. I will say, I hated the DBQ. I was terrible at it and only got 1 point on my first. Unfortunately, I took this during the covid year where the only part of the exam was the DBQ, so I’m still a little salty about that, but even so, I would still take it again. This class was excellent preparation for later AP Histories, and you have the benefit of mostly competing against ninth graders on the AP exam.

Top piece of advice: When history gets boring, pretend like it’s a drama

Favorite memory: Annie and I laughing until we couldn’t breathe over a homework grade or making cookies with historical events on them

AP Biology:

Ellyse: 7/10

This class was a roller coaster for me. I’m gonna be completely honest—this class was very hard for me. The content is very detailed and I found myself spending a lot of time doing homework and studying for tests/quizzes. I think that going into it, I didn’t really realize how complex a college-level course in Biology would really be, and the first semester was definitely a wake-up call. However, as Lilly said, once you learn how to study for the tests they get easier, and the easiest units are at the very end. I also feel like this class definitely prepared me for the AP exam, it went above and beyond the content covered by AP. That being said, I would not take this class unless you really enjoyed Honors Biology or were very good at it. It is definitely a step up from Honors Biology. If you want to go into the medical field though, taking the course is definitely useful.

Biggest piece of advice: Take good notes and STUDY!

Favorite memory: The giant food platters Ms. Phillips brought in on the AP exam day.


Lilly: This is the one AP Ellyse and I took together in Sophomore year. We both wanted to be doctors at the time and were oddly competitive about getting it on our schedules. I actually loved this class. Solid 8/10. However, I would not take it unless you actually like biology. It is not worth it just for college credit. The material itself was relatively hard, but since I had taken honors biology the year before was much easier. I absolutely bombed the first test (got a 61), but once I learned how to study for them it was much easier. I’m not going to lie, at some points, this class is a lot of work, but it’s one of those classes that as long as you genuinely try your hardest (and it is hard), I feel like you can get an A or a B. Ellyse, Sarah, and I used to do Facetime Kahoots and quizzes. This might sound weird, but the thing I am most thankful for about this class is that I realized while I love biology, this was actually the most in-depth I wanted to go which saved me from failing out of a college biology major in the first semester.

My best advice: 1) Actually take notes, just having printed slides with nothing on them will not be enough for you to study I promise. Also, ask Ms. Philips for help because she will definitely give it to you

Favorite Memory: Once, after the AP Exam, we dared Sarah Baer to drink from the sink and made fun of her for saying no, but at the beginning of the next year, we learned there was lead in the water and Sarah has never let us forget it. 


AP Chemistry: 

Ellyse: 9/10

Despite what you might hear about this class being the hardest AP ever, I enjoyed my AP Chem experience. Mr. De Venio is a very good teacher, so I feel like the pacing of the class and notes were helpful. The homework was not bad at all and neither were the quizzes. I will say though, the class gets harder throughout the year(unlike AP Bio), mostly because a lot of the subjects build off one another, and the first 2 units were probably the easiest. Even though Chemistry can be pretty hard, I mean it is a mix of math and science, Mr. De Venio made it doable. I think the class was worth taking, and even though I sometimes had trouble wrapping my mind around the really difficult subjects, I liked it.

Biggest piece of advice: Understand the content, don’t just memorize

Favorite memory: Chem table!!!


AP Spanish: 

Ellyse: 9.5/10

 I am currently taking this class so I’m about halfway done with it, but I actually enjoy AP Spanish. I think it’s because I actually like learning about Spanish because it feels like something that is actually a useful skill, but it’s definitely an AP I like. I’m not ever overwhelmed by homework, although I will admit that those AP classroom assignments will pile up. The tests are graded  fairly and we don’t have a ton of quizzes. Discussions with Dr. Lupo always take interesting turns, and my table mates(Lilly Skinner and Millie Curtis) also keep it pretty interesting. I will say that you should not take this class if you do not enjoy Spanish, because I know someone who took it and absolutely hated it, having to switch out. 

Top piece of advice: Practice those Spanish conversations because those are the hardest

Favorite memory: Talking with Millie and Lilly about those Spanish discussion questions


Lilly: I am also taking this class this year, I sit right across from Ellyse and we try to gossip in Spanish all the time. Hopefully, this class will have us as experts at it by the end of the year. One thing I love about AP Spanish is that it isn’t super stressful. There aren’t a ton of assignments, and there isn’t really a way to study for tests and quizzes, so that isn’t very stressful. Some classes feel like they’re straight from the textbook, but this isn’t one of them. As long as you are talking in Spanish, Dr. Lupo will let the conversation flow naturally. However, I am not going to lie the AP exam absolutely terrifies me, and the part about the class not being stressful does not expand to the AP exam. 

Top piece of advice: Don’t be afraid to sound stupid, we all do

Favorite memory: Ellyse, Millie, and I trying to tell stories in Spanish


AP Gov:

Ellyse: 10/10

I feel like your experience with this class heavily depends on your teacher, but personally, I loved AP Gov. I liked the pacing of the class a lot, it didn’t feel like we were rushing through information like in some of my other classes. I also am very interested in the subjects we learned about, so it felt way easier to study than for some of my other classes. I loved how Ms. Orr didn’t just lecture the whole class but usually gave 30-45 minutes at the end of each class to work on assignments or watch documentaries. I am not at all overwhelmed with the amount of homework or quizzes, and the tests, in my opinion, are very fair. Again I feel like this just depends on who you are though, I wouldn’t necessarily take it if you hate learning about politics or the government. I felt that a lot of the information was super useful, especially in looking at today’s political landscapes, and I am definitely glad I took it. Also, in comparison to some of Honors Gov counterparts, it is not much more difficult in my opinion. 

Top piece of advice: take good notes and definitely study for the tests(they’re doable but we don’t have a ton of other grades in the grade book)

Favorite memory: That one discussion about search warrants. Y’all know the one.


Lilly: I had Ms E.  for AP Government, and I also really enjoyed the class. If there’s one class where the information is most applicable to your real life, it is this one. There is a lot of work with foundational document packets, but they do pad your grade which you might need. The tests are hard, but I promise you they will be easier if you read the textbook like you are supposed to. 

Top advice: at least skim the textbook

Favorite memories: Definitely all of CNN 10 discussions


AP Research and AP Seminar:

Ellyse: 7/10

I have a very mixed opinion of these classes. Overall I did/do not enjoy my experience with them because they are a lot of work and I felt that I could’ve taken another 2 APs specific to my interests. However, I do appreciate the GPA boost from these classes though, and I did learn some useful research skills. I also appreciate how you can basically choose what you want to do, so I was able to research topics I care about. The last thing I’ll say is that, like in most classes at the magnet, the teacher really does affect how much work you’re going to be doing(especially in AP Research), so take everything with a grain of salt.

Biggest piece of advice: Choose topics you’re interested in

Favorite memory: Staying at my TMP partner’s house until 12am to finish the script(don’t recommend by the way)


Lilly: I put these two together because we didn’t choose to take either. These classes are definitely tolerable; however, they are no one’s favorite. This is not due to any fault of the teachers but to the fact that this is a lot of work to do for something you didn’t choose to sign up for. However, there are certainly ways to make the classes more fun. If you have friends in your classes, it can be fun, and since most of the work is busy-work-esque, the class doesn’t require much mental power. It is also a nice universal thing to complain about. The presentations are stressful, but I promise you no one else cares. Overall, research gives you a lot more flexibility than seminar, but that flexibility can be very overwhelming if you don’t know what you are doing. I do feel like we have been given adequate class times for assignments, but I agree with Ellyse that I feel like there were other things I would have rather taken.

Top advice: Take these classes seriously enough to do well on the exam, but don’t sacrifice your well-being for them.

Also for research, pick something related to one of your seminar topics so you can reuse your sources.

Favorite memory: tearing up a TMP rubric with my group mates-cheaper than therapy


AP Lang:

Ellyse:  10/10

As an English-lover, I really enjoyed AP Lang. I thought it was a good mix of discussions and assignments, and I was never overwhelmed with homework. I definitely learned how to write a good in-class essay and how to combat my deep-rooted fear of public speaking through the many salons we had. I definitely do not regret taking this class, and I don’t really have any complaints(keep in mind I really like English and Mrs. Grayson).

Best advice: study and do your work

Favorite memory: the salon with food


Lilly: Definitely take AP Lang. The class isn’t too hard and neither is the exam (though hearing you have to write three essays is terrifying). I had Mrs. Hurt, and I agree with Ellyse that the class was a good mix of assignments and discussions. The best part of the class is the salons because you get to dress up and bring food, but the worst part is the salons if you’re terrified of public speaking. I don’t feel like there was too much homework, and the only tests we  ever had were vocab tests

Best advice: follow tilcar0145 on Quizlet

Favorite memory: Paisley’s 5-layer cake


AP Lit:

Ellyse: 8/10

In my experience, AP Lit has been a good bit harder than AP Lang was. There is a lot more homework, even though none of it is unmanageable. I enjoy the in-class discussions we have and I like how we get deeper into analyzing texts. I will say though, as a senior with senioritis it has been pretty hard for me to keep up with the work of this class. I find the works we have been analyzing really interesting though, and I do think we discuss important topics that relate to today(somewhat more than in AP Lang). 

Biggest piece of advice: don’t procrastinate

Favorite memory: making random faces at Noelle

Lilly: I really love APLit. I agree with Ellyse that it is considerably harder than AP Lang, and I definitely wouldn’t take it just for the AP designation. However, I actually really like a lot of the books and poems we read, and I really enjoy the in-depth analysis we do of the texts we read. I feel like I’ve become such a better writer already, and I enjoy the challenge. Keep in mind that English is my favorite subject though. If it isn’t yours, I don’t know if I’d recommend the class. If it is, do.

Biggest piece of advice: read the summer work instructions carefully (iykyk)

Favorite memory: arguing about the interpretations of poems


AP Calc:

Ellyse: 9/10

I really enjoy my AP Calc class. I think a lot of it is because Dr. Cassidy is such a good teacher, and never fails to make me laugh. She makes the class not feel overwhelmingly stressful and always reminds us that school isn’t everything. As for the content, I like math so I enjoy learning about it. I will say that the content seems to get harder as the class goes on, but maybe that is just my experience(the content builds off previous materials, so you really need to understand everything). Overall I would say the workload of the class is manageable, although some of the tests can be difficult. If you’re a math person though, it’s definitely worth taking. It’s also not necessarily considerably harder than Pre Cal, for example.

Best piece of advice: ask questions if you’re confused

Favorite memory: going on a 10-minute discussion about Raquetball

Lilly: I’ve taken both AB and BC, and I want to say two very important things. 1) Don’t go from precal to BC. It isn’t worth it. 2) Just because you’ve gotten an A in every math class before this one doesn’t mean you’ll get an A in this one. I really like calculus. It’s my favorite type of math, but unlike the majority of math classes before it, it isn’t about memorization at all. You probably memorize like 15 rules the entire year, and the rest of the class is learning how to problem-solve and understand things. It’s a hard class and the exam can be brutal, but if you like math, and are going to take calculus anyway, take AP.

Advice: A 75 will get you a 5 on the exam, don’t worry about your “bad” grades

Favorite memory: the car lab in BC where we got to race around the loop- shout out to my driver Peighton for not crashing