What’s the Deal with AP Research?


Nadir Mohamed, Student Writer

AP Research is an advanced placement course focused on building skills in critical thinking, analysis, and of course, research. The course comprises two significant portions, the 25-30 page essay, which accounts for 75% of your grade, and the 15-minute presentation and oral defense, which accounts for the other 25%. This year is the first year the class is offered, and because it is being taught in conjunction with AP Lang and Comp, there is some confusion about how the classes work.

In an interview done with Ms. Gossett, she clarified some of the questions surrounding the class. The class is a “ghost class,” as it won’t appear on PowerSchool. Because it isn’t on PowerSchool, it won’t help your grade throughout the year but will be added to your transcript at the end of the year. The class is also a prerequisite to AP Scholarship Capstone, an academic accolade highly coveted by colleges and can be substituted at some colleges for an elective credit. Unfortunately, there will be no actual class time dedicated to the class. Any time designated will be derived from AP Lang and Comp or theoretically could be pulled from advisory. That means most of the class will be done individually outside of school hours.

In an interview with Mr. Schmidt, we discussed the curriculum. AP research demands that you be extremely well versed in your topic. That means independent and unique research that goes beyond the surface level or even intermediate level understanding of a topic. You also have to produce your own research in this class. When asked about that, Schmidt specified, “You can go and do surveys, polls, conduct experiments, etc. If your topic doesn’t allow for that, you can also compare and analyze advanced data in a new way that has never been done before.” When asked for his final thoughts, Schmidt stated, “If you are on the fence about doing this class, don’t.” He then further elaborated on how time-demanding the class is and how students shouldn’t feel pressured to take an AP class on top of the AP class they are already taking. If you are a motivated student with a topic you want to research at length, then take AP research. If you don’t find much interesting, are known for procrastinating, and are doing this just for the AP credit, don’t take this class. This class will be work, but it will build valuable skills all students can use, regardless of career.