AP Spanish kicks it up a notch

Students enrolled in Advanced Placement Spanish take on the listening, reading and speaking requirements of the language course exam through methods that differ from techniques used to prepare for other Advanced Placement courses.

“It’s hard. [It’s] a college-level class,” AP Spanish teacher Luis Martin said. “Of course, the difference between a high-school class and a college-level class is that you have to take more time than just the regular time you spend for a high-school class. [In a high school class] you’re going to get extra credit here, you’re going to get credit for your homework, you’re going to get credit for doing [projects]. Once you go to college, it’s over. Your entire career for that class balances on [a few] grades.”

Martin keeps students on track by testing them throughout the year to see how they measure up to AP standards.

“What I do in my class is I give them a beginning test to see where they are,” he said. “Then, after the first semester, I’ll give them something similar to see if they [have progressed] any more. Usually they realize they haven’t done as much as they need to do for the class, and then they need to say they’ve got five months to correct all the mistakes.”

Sophomore Elena Abascal says students shouldn’t underestimate the course.

“It’s a very interesting class, but despite what people think, I actually think it’s a really tough course,” she said. “It’s basically the equivalent to AP Lang and AP Lit, except in Spanish.”

Martin explains the difficulties and stresses of AP courses, and he talks about the importance of preparing students for them while they are in high school.

“It’s overwhelming — especially when you don’t take one, two, or three, but you pick four or five AP classes,” he said. “We have students at our school that take four AP classes, and that’s a lot.”

By Natalia Marmol