What You Need To Know About AP Psych

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Read to find out if taking AP Psychology would interest you!

S. Manku, Student Life Section Editor

Throughout high school, students take around 32 different courses. Although some classes like English I or Math III are required for high school graduation by the state, students also get the opportunity to take electives of our own choice. In this recurring feature, some of the different electives that are offered at Green Level will be discussed so that you can pick classes that you’ll enjoy! Please keep in mind that every course discussed in this series may not be offered and that there are no guarantees that you will get every elective you want or choose. 

 

Today, Mr. Thorpe will introduce AP Psychology. Mr Thorpe has taught in Wake County for 10 years, and this will be his seventh year teaching AP Psych (which he says is his favorite class to teach)! AP Psych is a social studies elective which is also taught at the honors level. When describing the difference between AP and Honors Psychology, Mr. Thorpe said “In terms of rigor you’re going to have more responsibility than you would in an honors class… you’re going to be expected to read more outside of class at the AP level.” In addition to the added responsibility, you have the option to take the AP exam for free which you wouldn’t get in Honors Psychology. Although Psych is an elective, it could count as your social studies elective for your graduation requirements. After AP Psychology, high schools don’t offer any more psychology classes. “The closest thing that you would find in the high school curriculum is sociology.” said Mr. Thorpe. “It is very similar to psychology although it looks more at large groups.” Green Level does not offer sociology yet. 

 

Psychology is involved in many fields of study. “It lends itself to a lot of careers” Mr. Thorpe explained. Some of those career fields include medicine, education, social work, and law. “In terms of age range, I think that anything after freshman year [is good].” Mr. Thorpe went on to explain that junior year would be the best to take AP Psych because some concepts are easier to understand as you get older. “The kids I’ve had over the years that seemed to enjoy the class the most are the ones that are almost inquisitive by nature.” Mr. Thorpe explained that although every student gets something out of taking AP Psych, those inquisitive students are more engaged with the content. “If you were a kid who liked to ask questions about why something happened, this is a good class for you.”

 

“The whole [course] is centered around thinking and human behavior, and the relationship between the two… and then applying that to various areas of our lives.” Mr. Thorpe explained that the unit which exemplifies the course the most is social psychology. “We do talk about how our thinking and our actions vary depending on the social situations or the social experiences that we’re in.” Although psychology teaches about numerous interesting concepts, Mr. Thorpe says “I think one thing I’ve done over the years that students tend to like is when we talk about dreams and we talk about analyzing our own dreams.” In psychology, you will be able to explore some aspects of your own mind and learn more about why you do certain things.

 

Aside from learning about social psychology and dreams, you will learn how to apply and compare theories, ideas and perspectives to different scenarios. These application skills come in handy in other classes to help you form connections. “You’re going to have to do a lot of abstract thinking, you’re going to have to do a lot of application.” Mr. Thorpe explained. Psychology is different from other social studies classes because you don’t take an event in history and explain a cause and effect relationship.

 

If any aspect of this class interests you, consider selecting it as an elective for next year. If you need help with picking classes, set up a meeting with your counselor here. For more information on this or other courses, visit the official WCPSS high school planning guide.