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Diving into Difficult Classes

As West Seattle gears up for class registration this spring, questions are arising over the difficulty of classes. Oftentimes the first consideration when choosing classes is “How hard is it?” During my time in high school, I have generally taken three things into account when describing what makes a class challenging. 

  1. The difficulty of getting an A in the class. This is mostly determined by the teacher. Classes without retakes and with strictly graded essays are normally more difficult. Classes with lots of work graded on completion and loose retake policies are much easier.
  2. The workload. This is a combination of the classwork and homework provided by the class. A class can be easy in terms of content and grading but can still have a difficult workload.
  3. The difficulty of the content. This is how challenging it is to understand the concepts in the class, regardless of your grade. A good judge of the content difficulty can be your performance on AP tests in AP classes.

These three factors vary across every class, and many classes have different levels of all three. The hardest classes are difficult in at least two of these areas. For example, AP World is difficult to get an A and has a big workload, and Spanish 3 has difficult content and is difficult to get an A. Normally, classes are manageable if they are not extreme in more than one of the factors. 

 Based on this definition, is it worth it to take hard classes? My answer is yes. Hard classes help you strengthen your college resume, increase the learning you get out of classes, and better prepare you for future life. According to the College Board, more than half of first year college students wish they had taken harder classes in high school. This is because the effort that harder classes require yields much more future reward. When choosing your classes during these next few months, consider these factors and don’t be afraid to take harder classes. 

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