By Shira Kalish,
With classes this school year cut down to just two quarters each, AP teachers are working to ensure student success in AP exams despite the loss of class time. This loss is especially pressing for AP classes set during the second and fourth quarters as AP exams will take place midway through quarter four, leaving just a quarter and a half of class time before the exam.
AP Biology teacher Tim Peevyhouse has not received any guidance as to how the testing will play out with this new schedule.
“Unless there is an alternative testing date in June that the College Board allows, then it appears that the students in the quarter four AP classes will not have covered all of the material before the exam date in May,” Peevyhouse said.
Doug Wright, an AP Art History and AP Ceramics and Sculpture teacher, is utilizing office hours to meet with his AP Art History students to do chapter reviews, as well as his AP Ceramics and Sculpture students to discuss their portfolios which they will submit for the AP exam.
“Teachers really will need to focus on teaching to the test and on essential knowledge and skills to do well on the exam,” Wright said.
To best prepare for the exam, Wright suggests that AP Art History students focus on their writing, specifically their timed essays.
“Being able to coherently express thoughts and information in essay form and to do it under the pressure of a timed write is a crucial skill,” Wright said.
He urges students to memorize as much information as they can about the 250 required works of art. He also recommends students continue their studies throughout their quarters off from the class.
AP Literature and Composition teacher Eileen Guerard has all of her AP classes first and third quarter. Since the exam will take place one month after the third quarter, Guerard intends to make review materials available to her students for studying during the time between the end of the class and the date of the exam.
“I feel like I’ll be able to handle it, and I feel like my students will be able to handle it too, because since it’s an AP class I’ve got a lot of people who read for pleasure,” Guerard said.
Like Wright, Guerard is making difficult decisions about which material to cut from her class.
“Right now we’re in a poetry unit, but I don’t think we’re able to get through more than about 15 poems. And there’s an entire free response question on poetry on the exam. So they’ll get another 15 or 20 next quarter, but I’m not sure that that’s enough,” Guerard said.
To prepare for the exams, Guerard encourages students to take usable notes by hand during Zoom classes.
“Taking notes by hand — and scientific research bears this out — is actually better for your brain than typing in notes while you’re listening to a lecture. There’s something about forcing it through your brain and out your hand that makes you retain it better,” Guerard said.