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Sophomore English Class: 2A, or Not 2A, That is the Question

Noa Cordova

Volume 4 Issue 3

March 13, 2024

Sophomore English Class: 2A, or Not 2A, That is the Question

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Scheduling season is upon us, and recently we’ve been tasked with picking our classes for the upcoming year. For those who know which classes they’d like to take, the process is a breeze. For others, it may be a difficult decision. I remember the winter of my freshman year when the guidance counselors presented us with our options for our sophomore English classes. For students in English 1A, our options were English 2A or AP Capstone Seminar. Based on the explanation provided, English 2A would essentially be a continuation of English 1A, and AP Capstone Seminar would be a research-based class. Needless to say, both of these courses offer much more, but these were the main ideas I kept in mind to help guide my decision, and I ultimately chose English 2A. In hopes that our sophomore readers will find it useful, I’ve outlined factors I’d consider as a freshman who is undecided about their choice of English class for 10th grade.



As indicated by the name of the course, AP Capstone Seminar is an Advanced Placement course, so it entails a faster-paced course and heavier coursework than a traditional English course. The coursework you can manage is for you to decide, and counselors and parents can provide additional guidance. Apart from the amount of coursework, the kind of coursework is essential to consider when choosing between AP Capstone and English 2A. AP Capstone is research intensive; there are group and individual research projects and presentations as a part of the course. If you’re someone who enjoys researching collectively and independently, a research-based course like AP Capstone may be for you. Personally, I felt research projects would add stress to my sophomore year, and I knew there would be plenty of presentation and research opportunities throughout my school career, so I didn't feel the course would enhance my high school experience. English 2A resembles your typical English class with both fiction and non-fiction literature analysis with an emphasis on writing and grammar skills; if a traditional English class seems fitting, and if you love fiction, English 2A may be a better choice. Remember, you need to choose the class that will work the best for you and enrich your high school experience the most. 



As a traditional English course, English 2A follows an organized, set curriculum suitable for those who prefer a more structured learning environment. AP Capstone, as a research-based class, allows for more freedom in terms of coursework. Based on experiences my classmates and sophomore sister shared with me, it seems that the independence the course offered made it appealing to them. Whether you prefer a little more structure or more freedom is for you to decide. Opportunities for creative and academic freedom are abundant here at North, and you may choose to take advantage of them through other classes as well besides AP Capstone. English electives are a great way to balance structure and freedom if you’re leaning toward English 2A rather than AP Capstone.



The structure of the English 2A course does come with its benefits in terms of future exams, including standardized tests, the Regents Exam, and AP exams. English 2A is a more grammar-intensive course, meaning that teachers will spend more time on grammatical aspects often assessed on the SAT and ACT, including punctuation, clauses, redundancies, and prepositions. Although many colleges and universities have become test-optional for admission, you may still opt to take one of these standardized tests and find the knowledge from English 2A helpful in the verbal section. While not everyone chooses to take the SAT or ACT, high schoolers must take the English Regents in their junior year of high school. English 2A definitely prepares you for these exams, as the course incorporates Regents prep into the curriculum. Although AP Capstone focuses on argumentation skills in writing, the argument essay is only one of three tasks required of students on the Regents exam. English 2A not only focuses on argumentation skills through writing but also text analysis and reading comprehension skills-the other two tasks tested on the regents. Naturally, your junior year English teachers will review these skills before the regents, but I found the prior knowledge useful as a junior who took the January Regents exam.


Future English Classes

Fast forward to the winter of your sophomore year, and assume you chose AP Language and Composition for your junior year English class in anticipation of taking AP English Literature your senior year; a majority of students who take either English 2A or AP Capstone decide to continue their English studies with AP Lang and AP Lit. AP Lang concerns itself with non-fiction texts more familiar to AP Capstone students in terms of genre; however, much of AP Lang focuses on rhetorical analysis which is more prominent in the English 2A curriculum. As a current junior in Mrs. Brodsky’s AP Lang class, I can't count the times she’s started her sentences with “if you had me in 10A” when discussing something grammar-related. In my opinion, this emphasizes that English 2A provides a strong foundation for students going into AP Lang. As for AP Lit, I can't speak from experience as I have not taken it yet, but classic literature is at the heart of the course. Students who chose English 2A would likely be more familiar with AP Lit texts as we were exposed to works like To Kill a MockingbirdOthello, and Of Mice and Men. Although AP Lit texts are new for most students, AP Capstone students may find the genre more foreign unless they are avid fiction readers outside of school.


I found the English 2A coursework enriching as it had a diverse curriculum that incorporated various aspects of English education into one course. One course is not necessarily superior to the other; it is a matter of individual needs and preferences. Guidance counselors, parents, and teachers can serve as trust-worthy consultants when making your choice, but ultimately you are in control. Talking to upperclassmen about their experiences in AP Capstone and English 2A may also help you get a better sense of which one is for you. 


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