Should All AP Sciences Be Offered 3rd Period?

As the school year begins, students are finally starting to settle into their new schedules. Many find themselves taking two, three or possibly four AP/Honors classes while trying to have the best schedule for college applications. One trend that has developed over the past few years is that all AP science classes are only offered 3rd period. This is an advantage for students at West High because it gives them the chance to succeed at the AP test in May because students are in their third period classroom for seventy one minutes rather than fifty four.

The four AP sciences offered this year at WHS are Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Physics. Each course includes labs and discussions which take up the entire period. Mrs. Cortina comments, “Labs take about an hour so we use every minute of class time including SSR.” Many classes spend the first fifteen minutes in third period reading, but these students often find themselves in deep discussion or in an exciting lab by 10:20 a.m.

Some students have schedules that can only accommodate all desired classes in one combination. Ryan Donahue (12) says, “I don’t see the problem but if someone wants other classes that are offered that period it must be hard on them.” Although it seems like a good solution to move any AP science to a different period, Mrs. Black explains, “That move wouldn’t be possible because we already don’t finish certain labs or discussions with the extra SSR time and the AP exam is already eight days earlier than it usually is.”

For some students in these classes the school year is already off to a fast start and they are glad they have the extra fifteen minutes. “We had a lab today and we used the entire class time to finish,” says Stephanie Orpilla (11), who is currently taking Biology AP. These students need every minute they can get in order to be prepared for the AP exams in May and by offering these classes 3rd period they will get the time they otherwise would not have.