The Student News Site of The American School in Japan


The Student News Site of The American School in Japan


The Student News Site of The American School in Japan


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The Unreasonable Pressure to Take AP Classes

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The “Advanced Placement” distinction indicates that classes are above the level of an average high school class. These classes are supposed to be very rigorous and academically challenging, yet for ASIJ upperclassmen, AP classes are the standard.

At ASIJ, 10th grade students have the option of taking AP World History or Modern World History. For most students this is the first time they are able to take an AP class. 

The decision to take AP or Modern World History should be based on personal preference and whether or not a student feels capable and comfortable to take the AP course. Unfortunately, most students base the decision off of what other people say, and whether or not taking Modern World History instead will make them seem “dumb.”

Last school year, a total of 12 students took Modern World History out of 145 students in the entire grade. Around 91% of the class of 2025 took AP World History. 

The academic culture at ASIJ is very competitive which, to a degree, is good. This competitiveness turns toxic, though, once it forces students to take a ridiculous amount of AP classes, not because they want to or are interested in the subject, but because they want to seem smart and avoid judgment from their peers.

Going into junior year, for the first time students have a wide range of classes they are able to take that are more specific to their interests. Along with this comes an abundant amount of AP options for the juniors. 

However, it is unrealistic for an 11th or 12th grade student to be taking seven AP classes in one year. Not only this, but it can be very damaging for a student to be put under this much pressure and overworked to this extent.

The purpose of taking AP classes is to boost one’s appeal to colleges and universities and to get college credits if possible through strong performance on the AP exam. But at ASIJ it seems the purpose of taking AP classes is also to save face.

High school is about academics, but it is also about experiencing new things, having a social life, and making memories. If a student takes six or seven AP classes a year, it is simply not possible to be able to balance everything.

ASIJ students need to stop promoting the mindset that the more AP classes you take, the smarter or better you are. AP classes should be taken because the subject actually is of interest to a student and not because students feel pressured by their peers.

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About the Contributor
Gigi Isenberg, Writer
Hi readers! My name is Gigi and I am a junior at ASIJ. I have been at ASIJ for 12 years and apart of the Hanabi for two. Some of my hobbies include basketball, reading, writing, and listening to music. My favorite part about writing is being able to voice my opinions and perspective on topics. That's is why you can find most of my pieces in the opinion section!

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