I didn’t AP out of this class

To fellow students who took those AP classes but didn’t get a 4 or 5, everything will be okay. This post is to relate to you, and to guide those freshman who will be taking a course they did not AP out of.

When you first retake the subject, you will feel defeated. Something about having to do it all over is dreadful and scary. You’ll ask yourself: Why didn’t I understand this the first time? What if I still don’t get it? Am I stupid for still not getting it? It’s easy to say not to feel this way, but it’s harder to follow through. Just know that you probably didn’t understand the first time because some subjects don’t peak your interest or need to be revisited to fully understand. You will get it if you try, and if you don’t, you have the resources to pass, such as office hours and the learning centers. You are not stupid.

Something to remember and give you faith in yourself is that since you already had background in this material, you’ll be at an advantage. You’ll understand basic ideas before the teacher explains them. I took AP Calculus BC in high school, and honestly it was awful, and I got a 1 on the exam. Yup, a 1. But I’m in the Rutgers Honors College, retaking Calculus 1 and ranked 5 out of 57. What helped me was I knew the gist of all the material, and my professor helped me remember and expand what I already knew.

However, do not let having prior knowledge get to your head. A professor once told one of my classmates that AP students who pick up a subject after skipping some courses in that subject often do worse than those who are not AP. For example, I got a 4 on the AP Chemistry exam which got me out of Chemistry 1 and Chem Lab but not Chemistry 2. From my experience, he was right. I got a 56 on my first exam after studying a lot, and my friend got a 72 after studying the bare minimum; I took the AP Chemistry class before and she did not.

This leads me to an important tip: take advice from the non-AP students who took the previous, introductory courses. They have a better idea of how the courses go at Rutgers, specifically how the exams are formatted. The one thing that killed me in Chemistry was that I understood the material but was never exposed to the convoluted test questions. After taking the advice of looking at practice problems and old tests, I got 80’s on my next two exams.

Not AP’ing out of a class does not make you any less brilliant. Use your prior knowledge and your resources, and you’ll get through the course(s) without much struggle.