We’ve been shouting our delight with Will, our new intern, from the rooftops. Will is not just any intern, he is a BASIS Oro Valley Alumnus, heading into his third year at Princeton University. Will is spending the summer helping us spread the word about BASIS Independent McLean in the northern Virginia community. Could you imagine a better way of spending your summer? We thought we’d bring some of Will’s brilliance to you, put him on the hot seat, and ask him to share with you, our readers, answers to some tough questions about his experience as a BASIS.ed student.

Question: How are AP courses at a BASIS.ed school? 

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are central to the BASIS.ed high school curriculum.  Unlike at other schools where only top students are selected to take APs, all BASIS.ed students are required to take at least six AP exams in order to graduate. This may sound intimidating, especially if you are starting in the ninth grade like I did. But don’t let the thought of having many AP courses scare you too much. You’ll adapt - I did. My teachers always covered the subjects far more in depth than the AP exam tested, and the high level of analysis that was required of us more than prepared us come exam time in mid-May.

In every AP class, we wWill_1.jpgent through countless practice problems and whole AP practice exams from previous years. In fact, in several of my classes, we had touched material from every exam since the 1980’s, and by then we would feel so prepared that we just wanted to take the tests to get them out of the way. Even with this extensive prep, it never seemed like it was just “teaching to the test.” Yes, we mastered the fundamentals, but we always were accessing material above and beyond what the AP required, and often that’s where I would find the most stimulating material.

Don’t get me wrong, the AP program is very challenging. You will definitely struggle sometimes. We all did. But with your own diligence and intellect and the very effective instruction you have received throughout the year, these courses and exams will become second nature to you. You’ll be psyched when you get to place out of boring 100 or 200 level courses in college because you have so many AP credits.  And for those of you who are taking your very first AP exam, you’ll be greeted with a BASIS.ed school tradition—the playing of “Eye of the Tiger” as you get ready to walk into the exam room, feeling just as pumped as Rocky Balboa.

(This unique BASIS.ed tradition is mentioned in Amanda Ripley’s The Smartest Kids in The World, which you may have seen copies of around our Admissions Office. We are giving away copies of this great read—enter to win by August 1, 2016.)

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