Battle of the APs: AP Biology or AP World History?

AP World or AP Bio—that is the question.

AP World or AP Bio?

It’s a question that KIS students are all too familiar with; every year, sophomores are confronted (or rather inevitably confronted) with this dilemma. With two, rather heavy, choices to choose from, we, as sophomores, must carefully consider advice from upperclassmen, unreliable rumors, parent’s suggestions, and most importantly, whether we would enjoy and be able to handle that certain AP course. Ultimately, with our minds somewhat-set, we sign up for the course that will define our entire sophomore year with a trembling hand.

Now with the school year already on its third month, Blueprint has brought to you a comprehensive analysis comparing the two AP choices backed up by answers from our very own students.

The Argument for AP Biology

Having a somewhat more positive prestige, AP Biology seems to be the more preferred course among sophomores. It is a well known belief that AP Biology is the “more relaxing and easier-GPA” course taught by a more “chill” teacher, Mr. Hopkin, and that it is a better way to enter the terrifying world of APs. Now that two months have already passed since the start of the school year, sophomores should have experienced more than what they have simply heard. There have been a variety of responses from students taking AP Bio. Some seem to be pleased, even complimenting the joy the course gives.

Mr. Hopkin gives a thrilling lecture on glycolysis to a few sophomores. (Clare Kwon, ’18)
Students observe the growth of turtles in the middle of class. (Clare Kwon, ’18)

Many students have nothing but compliments for the class. They have truly learned the importance of enjoying what you learn.

“AP Bio is such a fun class! The subject itself is very interesting. Unlike most subjects, it connects to what we see in our daily life. So, it’s fascinating when I learn how things work inside other organisms and myself.”— Sarah Mirae Kim (’18)

Yet, quite inevitably, there are struggles along the way, too (that are still somehow positive).

“I would have to admit that AP Biology is a challenging class. Especially because it’s my first AP course ever, I’m struggling over the tests. However, there’s also fun to it. Bio is life, so we’re literally learning more about life!”— Alice Yoo (’18)

“It’s a fun and challenging course, as the materials go a lot more in depth than what we learned last year. Lots of memorization is required, and at the same time I have to understand, which makes the course even more challenging. Taking notes is also a bit time-consuming, but as for now, it’s still doable.” – Anonymous

Maybe, the belief about AP Biology is quite true. With more positive responses, it seems that the start hasn’t been as painful, although some have trouble handling a never experienced amount of work.

The Argument for AP World History

On the other hand, AP World History is known to be the opposite—a complete GPA killer. Thus, the number of sophomores taking Mr. Yanuszeski’s AP World History classes is actually far less than those taking AP Biology. There has already been many reported cases of mental breakdowns, tears shed, and of course, outrages from the students. Starting the year with a million historic knowledge and mind boggling similarities and differences between various civilizations, AP World History classes have already written three essays.

Mr. Y
The course may be rough, but Mr. Yanuzeski’s enthusiasm is an encouragement all on its own. (Clare Kwon, ’18)
Sara Kim ('18) reviewing her notes (Clare Kwon '18)
Sara Kim (’18) studiously reviews her notes. (Clare Kwon, ’18)

But what do the students have to say about this course so far?

“Well, I would say most of the students taking the course are struggling quite in this subject, especially the essay writings, because we’ve never done anything quite like it before. Also, history has always been a subject where it is fun, but there’s a lot of memorizing along with it, which is always a challenge too.” – Anonymous

“AP World? Challenging, arduous, but rewarding.” – Amy Kim (’18)

“I have a weird love-hate relationship with this course. I love the subject because the course itself offers so much fruitful knowledge, but I want to cry when I realize that I have around 10,000 years of history to study for our lovely exam in April. AP World History is like a train. It never stops, it just keeps rolling. If you fall behind, Train Yanuszeski will not wait for you.” – Sara Kim (’18)

With the overabundance of effort, care, and attention needed, essays seem to be the greatest labor and agony of AP World History. Nonetheless, the feeling of triumph after finishing an essay or completing a unit, catching the train of AP World is incomparable with any other pleasure.

The Verdict

Whether taking AP Biology or AP World History, we still have to put in endless effort. In the end, it is not always about the grade or the exam score; it is the process, the experience, and the knowledge we gain that really matters.

Stay strong sophomores!


– Yoo Bin Shin (’18)

Edited by: Faith Choi (’16)

Featured Image: Clare Kwon (’18)

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