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Finals and Schedules

On Monday, January 14th, only a week after winter break ends, the finals week will begin. The exams last from Monday to Thursday with days lasting from 8:00 to 12:20. Monday, however, will begin at 10:00. On Monday there will exams for fourth period, for Tuesday there will be first and fifth period, on Wednesday second and seventh period, and on Thursday  third and sixth period. The exam schedules are also on page five of the school planner.

Lately, there has been discussion over whether or not the finals should be before or after winter break. Las Lomas has already made plans for future school years to start a week early so the finals are before winter break. “I think in an ideal world they should be before the break, but it’s going to lend itself to a lot of stressors happening before the break. As you know, the calendar is changing next year. Finals will start happening before the break next year,” said Ms. Schwab, a history teacher. “Time will tell, but I think having them [finals] before the break seems like a really good idea because then you don’t have the loss of retention over the break. You don’t have to study over the break. But what I’m afraid might happen is that there might be a lot of holiday events and sports events on top of academics at the end of the semester.”

Some students, such as senior Tiffany Choi, are in favor of finals being before Winter Break. “I’d much rather have the finals before the break because I think it’s less stressful than spending the break studying.”

Another senior, Shayna Trivedi, offered her studying advice for the finals. “The way I study is that I look at the schedule of what tests are on what days for what classes and I study backwards. I study for my last final and then I work my way up to my first final.  The night before my first final I study for that. The night before my second final I review for that. That way I’ve already gone over all the material I’m supposed to learn and now I’m just reviewing it.” Ms. Schwab also had some advice for students. “Take a deep breath. Have a protein-rich breakfast the morning of your finals. Get a good night’s rest and just do your very best. What teachers want to see is improvement. And they want to see that their teaching is effective and they’re encouraging academic curiosity and the desire to learn and improve over the course of the ear. It’s just intended to assess what you have learned.”

Unsurprisingly, there’s also a lot of pressure that students feel during the weeks leading up to the finals. “I think the stress is justified.” Trivedi continued. “But at the same time, I know that 10% or 15% of a grade sounds like a lot but in reality, if you perform how you normally do in the class, your final isn’t going to have much of an impact on your grade. As long as you stay true to how you’ve been performing all semester, it’s not going to do very much to your grade.”

As Tiffany Choi added, “Just manage your time wisely and you’ll be fine.”

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Are AP Classes Useless?

by Jessica Hill

Knowing the difference between electives and AP ones can better help students decide which classes they would like to take and what they might want to pursue. AP subjects are more difficult than regular ones, so without a proper look into the process that taking one of these classes involves, it might seem like these classes have no purpose other than giving students a challenge where needed.

AP classes function differently from any other kind of class because the curriculum is meant to prepare students for the corresponding AP Exam, a test graded out of five points, and the score is sent to any colleges upon application. Unfortunately, taking an exam costs $110 each, but having good scores sent to future schools can significantly improve a student’s chances at getting in, so enrolling in Advanced Placement can give you an advantage.

Along with the exam, the actual class is relatively difficult—there can be an abundance of assignments or material to learn. In this respect, a B is a pretty decent grade, but colleges look at students’ grades in AP classes, so it would benefit someone to shoot for higher than that. It depends on how the student approaches the class and what the material is— a lot of people fare just fine when faced with an AP class. “I don’t think that it’s actually that difficult; however, there is quite a bit of reading involved,” said Alexandra Osorio, sophomore in AP Human Geography. “The homework load is quite nice, and [our teacher] gives us enough time to complete our assignments—  it’s up to us what we do with that time.”

AP classes vary based on what is being learned, but they may also differ by teacher depending on the learning style that is found applicable. While most students find their AP classes interesting, there can be some aspects of the class that they would like to change in order to make learning more efficient. An anonymous student in AP European History explained that they  “would rather do a lot of work for something that helps us learn the material than just do a lot of excess work.” Perhaps it would be a good idea to consult students on suggestions at the end of semester or year in order to improve classes academically and make them more enjoyable.

Besides being beneficial to college entrance chances, there are a wide variety of AP classes, and it can be motivating to choose subjects that seem interesting. Plus, about half of them have predecessors, such as AP French or AP Physics, but there are also classes like AP Psychology or AP European History which do not require any prior knowledge.

Students can also get ahead in subjects that they are planning to take in college by taking the corresponding AP course. “I think it would be beneficial to take an advanced chemistry course since I am planning on going into the medical field as a career,” said sophomore Sarah Long. This can also be convenient as classes can be taken as advanced placement that  may be available in university, so students do not have to waste their time learning that material in post-secondary school.

High school is one of the best places for self-discovery, so trying out both Advanced Placement classes and electives can be a great way to find interests or possible subjects to pursue in college. Though it seems like a good idea to pile them on during the last few years, it can be extremely overwhelming to juggle so many demanding classes. It is recommended to have a maximum of two to three AP classes per year and to develop organizational skills because balancing all your classes makes doing well in them easier and less stressful. Staying healthy and getting enough sleep are extremely important, so it would benefit students to only take AP classes that they are truly interested in instead of piling them up for college credits. Your happiness and well-being should always be prioritized over getting into a prestigious university or anything like that— make sure you choose a path that will bring you contentment.

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Outside for Academy

During the Academy period, many students enjoy sitting outside in the fresh air to work on projects and chat with friends. Students should be able to continue to sit in this beloved place during the free period.

It is always nice to be outside whenever one has the chance. The free hour is utilized by many to work on school projects and chat with friends, but keeping close eyes on the students and attempting to regulate their activity has affected our opportunities to sit outdoors. Being outside can help your mental health and sharpen focus, so why not allow an opportunity to relax in a non-cramped classroom environment for a change? Having the ability to sit outside is definitely an added benefit to Academy, and students that have proven themselves responsible enough to sit outdoors should be able to do so.

We already are stuck in cramped classroom with small, uncomfortable chairs at least six hours a day,  five days a week, thirty-six weeks a year. Being able to spend another hour outside, if only two times a week, is fun and much better than being indoors.