How Teachers Are Preparing Students for AP Exams

With teachers and students racing to the finish line for the end of year AP exams starting on May 9 and ending one May 18, teachers still have to worry about preparing their students for exam success.

Teachers throughout the school have different study tools in order to help students remember material learned throughout the school year such as review packets, technology based learning, and practice test that started since the beginning of the semester.

AP English Language and Composition teacher Paula Singleton encourages her students to stuff their brains with as much information as possible before the exam by practicing the use of rhetoric in several types of essays writes.

“We spend several weeks going over what actually involves rhetoric which is the art of persuasion and there are some specific elements that can be taught to further enhance their ability to persuade readers in about any argument,” Singleton said. “After we cover those elements, we practice writing certain kinds of essays that we know will be on the exam, one being an argumentative essay in which the students take a position using evidence based on their own observations from history or literature. Another essay is a rhetorical analysis essay which you read something and you identify the rhetorical elements the writer used to persuade an audience to think a certain way. And the last essay is called a census essay which is like a mini research paper where they use sources to argue a prompt.”

In addition to writing the essays in class,  the students are given practice essays to take home and are given reading selections with multiple choice questions at the end.

“I give them essays to write as homework assignments maybe once or twice a week to get the ball rolling with essay writing and then I after I have the chance to grade it and give it back to them to provide feedback, they make corrections on the writing to show what they did wrong and right ,” Singleton said. “I also give them a timed multiple choice test that includes several reading selections because it helps them further grow on how to read certain passages much like an EOC.”

With using paper for writing and answer multiple choice, Singleton as well uses technology based learning techniques that she believes works at for the best of each student.

“Out school is very fortunate that we have a program called Testing and Educational Resource Center, which can be found on the media center website,” Singleton said. “This works out for the best of the student because it is on the go and provides plenty of resources and questions that will help them practice for the AP exams. Another great thing about this program is that it will score the test for you and will identify which ones were right and wrong and then show why one answer would be better than another answer.”

AP Seminar teacher Elizabeth Gurkin has helped her students study for the final exam by giving them 5 different versions of mock exams.

“To prepare my team for the exam, I had them perform various AP level exams just like the ones that would be seen on the exam day so my students would know what to prepare for,” Gurkin said.

Along with mock exams, Gurkin uses group activities and online study tools since it is a more interactive way of learning.

“In class we would have group activities where each students would grade other students responses on a text with a rubric and then I would get them to read the commentary provided by the College Board  from previous released responses,” Gurkin said. “I also try to include technology based learning. I would probably say 60 percent of my class is done through google classroom. To me I believe it is more effective for my students and it seems to be pretty successful.”

AP United States Government and Politics teachers Kimberly Drown prepares her students for the AP exam by giving out review packets and going over free responses content that would be on the exam.

“I usually prep my students by covering the material and content that I have taught all semester long,” Drown said. “ I also provide a variety of strategies that will appeal to my students like practice multiple choice and free responses that would usually appear on the exam. With the multiple choice style questions, I try to do them repeatedly throughout the semester to get them used to answering the questions on the exam.”

Not only does Drown use basic tests to help her students, she provided several options that would be a better choice for some students.

“I know that just doing test is not all that helpful if I am trying to review so I try to create a different way of learning by using online techniques,” Drown said. “I try to incorporate video clips, online review games, and projects divided throughout the class that are on google classroom.”