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  • Writer's pictureJunto HKIS

Humanities Course Registration Article


Every year, during course registration, students struggle to select their classes for the coming year. They have to consider their personal interests, the rigor of their schedule, and their post-secondary goals. Through personal accounts, this article will give you insight into five challenging and popular AP Humanities courses: English Language & Composition, Economics, Government & Politics, World History: Modern, and U.S. History.


AP English Language & Composition is a junior course designed to help students improve their reading and writing skills. From my experience, the course is quite straightforward. It moves through the three essays (rhetorical analysis, synthesis, and argument) at a pace that will allow you to master each. Fortunately, this class does not have any content that you have to learn or memorize and is more skills-based. There is no need to worry about reassessments because every test, whether aligned or unaligned, is technically a reassessment. For most rising juniors, this will come as a relief, especially for those who plan to take two more content-heavy APs along with AP Lang. If you enjoyed Humanities II and believe you are remotely interested or strong in English, take AP English Language and Composition. 


AP Economics is divided into Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. The former analyzes the behavior of consumers, firms, and markets, while the latter studies the economy as a whole. A current AP Econ student, Dana Kim, says, “So far, the course has been pretty challenging in terms of the content as everything is new and unfamiliar, but it has also been really interesting to learn about. The workload isn’t too much, and I found that test prep is not too difficult or time-consuming as there are many helpful resources online.” She believes that “⁠students who enjoy reading the news or are interested in current events would enjoy Macro. For Micro, anyone interested in continuing economics, business, or finance studies in college would enjoy it.” If you plan to take AP Econ, she advises that you keep up with the homework, watch AP Classroom videos, look up past MCQs and FRQs, and memorize all graphs.


AP Government & Politics is similar to AP Economics in that it involves two separate exams. I spoke to Victoria Kong about her experience with the course. “I believe that students who are interested in the principles and structures that shape American politics (including the Constitution, federalism, civil liberties, civil rights, and the role of political parties and interest groups) and take an interest in comparing the political institutions and processes of different countries (China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the U.K.) would be suitable for this course,” she tells me.


She suggests that it is helpful to regularly follow news and updates on U.S. and global politics to perform well in the course. “This will allow you to give concrete, substantial examples right off the top of your head to strengthen your arguments for essays.” Another tip she has is to “regularly watch AP classroom videos to further enhance your knowledge of key concepts and ideas.” She explains, “As this is a special course that integrates two AP exams (AP Comparative Government and Politics and AP U.S. Government and Politics), it is pertinent to regularly go through topics with regards to both U.S. and international systems when learning a topic such as voting, where you should simultaneously learn both the U.S. voting system and the other six countries’ voting systems.”


AP World History: Modern, unlike all other courses covered, is a sophomore course. Zahra Brady told me, “APWH was one of my favorite classes in sophomore year. Whether that might be because of the teacher, the subject matter, or the classmates is anyone’s guess; honestly, it was probably a combination of all three. It’s a course that challenges you academically but rewards your understanding and your hard work handsomely. In a way, I would describe it as a very ‘full’ course: content heavy, and by the time of taking the AP test, you feel satisfied and prepared.”


She told me that any student with an interest in history would do well: “While I wouldn’t call it a very difficult course, it is suitably heavy in workload for any rising sophomore looking for a challenge. Plus, if you’re a history buff, you’ll enjoy it in spite (or even because) of all the reading you’ll be doing.” She encourages students to think about selecting APWH in relation to other courses. She elaborates, saying, “While choosing a rigorous course load and stepping out of your comfort zone is important, it’s also important not to underestimate how much work it will really be. Ultimately, it is your own call to make, but I would advise going with what you think challenges you earlier on so that your resilience builds up in time for junior and senior year. Honestly, just take APWH; you definitely won’t regret it for all the reasons listed above.”


AP U.S. History is an AP History course available to juniors and seniors. Most students take it after AP World History: Modern, and it is considered to be one of the more difficult Humanities courses you can take in high school. The most critical advice I can give someone planning to take APUSH is that you must take thorough notes from the textbook. You should only use other resources, including AP Classroom, study guides, and chapter outlines, as supplements to the textbook. The readings can be tedious to complete, but if you enjoy American history, you will find the textbook’s details, fun facts, and metaphors fascinating. For those who have not taken an AP History course prior, this will also be your introduction to the document-based question (DBQ), long-essay question (LEQ), and short-answer question (SAQ). These essays will require you to recall notable figures and concepts from memory and relate them to given documents or stimuli. I only recommend APUSH to students who are passionate about American history and already possess essay-writing skills.

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