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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High Schools senior circle in 2015 before renovations began and changed the look of the school.
Reminiscing on the Senior Circle
Jillian Brown '24, Reporter • December 4, 2023
Nonnewaug boys soccer starters stand in a huddle before their game. This 2023 team, although down 13 seniors from last season, proved to be more successful than people had thought possible.
Nonnewaug Boys Soccer Rallied for Surprisingly Successful Fall
Brian Mohl '24, Reporter • December 1, 2023
Connor Bedard donning the Chicago Blackhawks home jersey on the ice for the first time. The picture was taken the day before his first-ever home game Oct. 21 where the Blackhawks would lose to the Vegas Golden Nights by a score of 5-3. (Blackhawks/Instagram)
18-Year-Old Connor Bedard the NHL's New Golden Boy
Sean Classey '24, Reporter • December 1, 2023
The Woodbury FFA Holiday Plant sale includes a variety of holiday-themed items for sale, including yule logs, wreaths, poinsettias, and more.
Behind the Scenes of FFA Holiday Plant Sale Prep
Culinary instructor John Dominello, left, and culinary student Case Hackett help to deliver one of the 140 meals to community senior citizens Nov. 30.
Senior Citizen Meal Continues to Bring Campus and Communities Together
Brianna Johnson '25 and Grace Nelson '25December 1, 2023
Students in Culinary Arts enjoy tending to the indoor classroom vertical gardens. Opportunities like these can be extended to even more students should a potential eight-period day be introduced.
Electives Courses Weight Impact of Potential Schedule Change
Dayton Griffin '24, Reporter • December 1, 2023
NHS News: November 2023
NHS News: November 2023
NHS NewsDecember 1, 2023
As the talk of schedule change flows throughout the school, opinions vary. For some, the current schedule is time consuming as it is. Will 8 periods be too much for students to handle?
Could an Eight-Period Day Take the Role of Friend or Foe?
Lana Manganello '25, Reporter • December 1, 2023
The Nonnewaug girls basketball team poses after a win against Gilbert last season.
NHS Girls Basketball Sees Underclassmen as Assets
Arabella Rosa '25, Reporter • December 1, 2023
An image of the six nominees for “Game of the Year” at the 2023 Game Awards. Each year, six games are chosen for this nomination, with the first Game Awards premiering in 2013.
Celebrating an Industry: The 10th Annual Game Awards
Tyler Timko '24, Reporter • November 30, 2023

The ABCs of APs: Advice for First-Year AP Students, From AP Students

Gianna Lodice
Seniors Sam Duncan, Skylar Chung, and Nicole Cappelli utilize the quiet environment of the Nonnewaug media center and CCRC during their period 5 study hall, in order to study for their AP courses.

WOODBURY — A and P: two letters which, when put together, immediately set off a panic alarm in the minds of high school students everywhere. 

This mental alert is understandable – Advanced Placement classes are synonymous with fast pacing, heavy course loads, and requisite stress. While this may be true – to an extent, anyways – taking AP classes can be highly beneficial to those students looking to bring their transcripts up a notch, and challenge themselves to a higher level of learning. 

For those who are new to the world of AP, there are plenty of tips and tricks that are worth knowing going into the school year. At Nonnewaug, plenty of students and staff know what AP is all about, so there’s no need to look far for advice.

Take, for example, Megan Keating – a senior who is enrolled in not one, not two, but six AP courses this year, one of which she is taking as an independent study course.

“I am taking AP Calc AB, AP Spanish, AP Chemistry, AP Statistics, AP Literature, as well as AP Physics as an independent study,” Keating said of her course load. “[Last year I took] only AP Lang and AP Biology.”

Without even knowing much about APs, anyone could tell that these are some heavy hitters. Yet somehow, Keating is balancing all of them – and when she breaks it down, her organizational system is actually pretty simple.  

AP coursework often includes a lot of textbook reading, note-taking, and analyzing information – items that students often try to avoid at all costs. (Aaron Burden via Unsplash)

“I have a folder with eight folders inside of it which each is separated and labeled by subject. I use this to put all documents and papers in according to the subject,” she said – a fairly standard strategy. “I also have a notebook for each class so that everything is separated.” 

So, tip No. 1: basic organization to keep each class’ work separated and make things less cluttered. But what about the work itself? Keating has some AP-level methods for staying on top of that, too.

“When doing homework I usually begin with the assignment I think will take the longest and move up to the one that will take the shortest amount of time,” Keating said. “This way my energy is used well for what I need to get done.” 

Simple, organized, and efficient – a surefire regimen to stick to for students like Keating and anyone looking to take on the challenge of AP courses. 

As for note-taking and studying, Keating emphasizes that remembering the little things helps to make note-taking the most effective it can be. 

“I find that writing a header is always a good start, no matter how important or unimportant the notes are,” she explains. “Each page has the class I’m taking notes for written at the top of the page, usually color-coded, and a slight header on the side indicating what will be written below. I always write down definitions as well as examples.”

Keating also emphasizes that when studying, it helps her to “have a clean room and all other things done” before she begins studying, so that there aren’t any little distractions present. 

“Once I do I will play some study music, usually lo-fi or piano and sometimes guitar,” she said. “I will begin with all studying that pertains to using a computer and then switch to everything that is to be written on paper.”

Overall, Keating’s advice comes down to this: Pay attention to the small and often overlooked things to make your habits the most effective. As the saying goes, when you take care of the small things, the big things take care of themselves.

It’s not just Keating that believes this, though. When asked what their top piece of advice concerning AP classes was, other members of the senior class had similar remarks.

Skylar Chung’s advice: “Stay focused in class – don’t doze off, pay attention.”

Sam Duncan: “Set aside time per week to study specifically for AP.”

Nicole Cappelli: “Take notes, do all your homework, and study.”  

Luke Cenatiempo: “You’ve got to really dedicate some time to it. Don’t wait until the last minute.”

While all offer slightly different comments, the overall focus is on remembering the small details. Setting aside the time to take organized notes, study, and get the most out of homework assignments is what sets aside the best from the rest in AP classes. 

After all is said and done, here’s the big question: while these strategies may all seem legit, is it really worth students’ time to take the APs, even if they might not pass the big exam come May?

Jack Rubacha, last year’s salutatorian, seems to think so. 

“AP classes helped in my preparation for college academics,” the Nonnewaug alum, who took 11 AP classes during his high school career, said of his AP experience. “I learned about how to better take notes and manage my workload. Additionally, I can study and analyze real-world problems better than many of my peers who never took the opportunity for APs.” 

Rubacha was able to transfer all of the AP test scores he received to his college education at Northeastern University, although he says that some were more useful than others due to his major track. 

Nevertheless, taking the APs “put me a semester, [and] in some cases, two semesters, above my classmates,” he says.

While they may be intimidating, success in AP classes lies in focusing on the small things. Learning how to take notes, do homework, and study may seem monotonous, but conquering these skills with a few simple processes can change the AP game for students who are new to the rigor. And as Rubacha describes, that impact goes beyond your high school transcript.

“Overall, there are almost zero downsides to taking APs,” he says. “Even if you don’t get that 4 or 5, you will be in a better position come first semester of college.”

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About the Contributor
Gianna Lodice '24, Reporter
Gianna Lodice is a senior at Nonnewaug and a first-year reporter for the NHS Chief Advocate, having finally found the space to fit journalism into her schedule this year. A three-season athlete, Gianna is captain of the soccer, indoor track, and outdoor track teams, a testament to her passion for sports. She is also serving as the president of Nonnewaug’s National Honor Society for this year, and she is a member of the agriscience program. After high school, Gianna aspires to run track at her dream college (wherever that is) and potentially major in history on her route to law school. As a writer for the Chief Advocate, she is excited to write about things that interest her and have new experiences.
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