As we approach the end of the year, students appear to have more and more on their plates. What may ultimately break their plate, though, is the rollout of Advanced Placement Exams, which began this year on Monday, May 2. The two-week stretch of these exams is understandably one of the most stressful times for students, especially for those sitting for multiple tests. Taking one or two of these exams seems to be the norm for most students over their time at Jamesville-DeWitt, but some overachievers will take as many as five or six in a year, in addition to other college-level courses offered that don’t fall in the Advanced Placement category.
Senior Lucy Heflin is one of those overachievers, having taken twelve AP classes over her time in high school. Heflin is currently taking three AP classes during this academic year. This course load includes AP Literature, AP Physics 1, and AP Statistics, as well as SUNY Environmental Science. Taking four college-level classes, however, is not extraordinary for Heflin. In fact, it’s a lightened workload compared to her previous year.
The stereotype that junior year happens to be the most stressful year of high school was, in fact, true for Heflin, who took seven college-level courses last year. These courses included the French language offered through Onondaga Community College, AP U.S. History, AP Biology, AP Language and Composition, AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics, and AP Calculus BC. The last three weren’t offered at J-D, so Heflin had to venture out of a traditional school schedule to self-study and receive the credit for these exams.
Even as an underclassman, Heflin strove for greatness. In her sophomore year, Heflin took two AP courses: AP World History and AP Calculus AB. In her freshman year, she took AP Computer Science Principles, making her a thirteen-year-old in an off-site college class.
She does not take on these classes without consideration. “I wanted to stand out in college applications and prepare myself for a college-level education,” said Heflin.
Heflin not only challenges herself to succeed in these classes but also to excel on the exams. Her last few Aprils have been filled with reviewing hundreds of lessons of learning content in order to get the credits. “It depends on the subject, but I usually take a lot of practice tests, complete the exercises on AP Classroom, make and study flashcards,” said Heflin about preparing for the exams. “It’s so important for me to make a schedule for my studying and hold myself accountable to stay on top of it.”
Next fall, Heflin will be attending Oregon State University to study Natural Resources. Although she’ll be entering as a freshman, her 68 college credits will qualify her as a third-quarter sophomore, making her almost halfway done with her undergraduate education. Although she doesn’t plan to graduate early from college, it’s no doubt that her hard work in high school will help her succeed in her studies over the next four years. Best of luck, Lucy!