The AB-BA effect

Students debate what best approach to ideal semester grades

Christina Liu
front page editor

As the first quarter draws to a close, the stress on grades has never been higher. At some point in every high school student’s career, the question to go either AB or BA has been asked.

The most common tactic for the school year would be to earn all A’s quarter one and quarter three in order to put off as much stress as possible for the following quarters, which means that more time can be allocated to extracurricular activities and relaxing. Although there shouldn’t be a lack of motivation at any time, it’s important for any student to know how much they can handle per quarter.

The second quarter is a busier time for sophomore Merril Heitz, which is why it’s more difficult for her to concentrate on school then. “For me, I have many out of school activities that take up a lot of time around winter break such as Nutcracker rehearsals, so it’s harder to spend as much time studying since I have more to worry about,” Heitz said. “Also, my favorite time of the year is the holiday season, and I want to be able to enjoy myself then and not spend my break stressing so hard.”

Instead of pushing through every single class every single quarter, it would be most beneficial to dedicate more of your time to specific classes each quarter, especially for AP students. This isn’t to tell any student to completely drop a single class, but only to bring attention to making smarter, long-term decisions; for example, set aside more time to bring up a class with an 89 percent rather than trying to bring up an 85 percent, especially at the end of the quarter. The class with an 85 can wait for the next quarter.
Sophomore Liza Broydo finds that it’s most helpful to focus on a few classes one quarter, and the other classes the next quarter. “I work extra hard on maybe three or four of my classes one quarter and then I switch them the next quarter so it’s not as stressful,” Broydo said. “That way, my semester grades are fine, and my quarter report looks fine too.”

If possible, quarter straight A’s is something for everyone to aim for. “Honestly, I think you should aim for A’s for both quarters because it’s important for us to stay motivated,” sophomore Victoria Chai said. “Not only that, some colleges still ask for quarter transcripts, and more A’s could give you an edge.”

The content of each course is another factor that influences motivation for quarterly grades. “The following quarters are always more difficult because the retention of information is declining now, and the school system is making it easier for people who only care about their grades to get by,” chemistry teacher Jeffrey Charuhas said. “[The science department] knows that following topics get more difficult so we allow two retakes instead of one the next quarter but that’s all you get from us, but going AA is obviously the best choice because if you can get an A one quarter, you can get one the next.”