Get Ready for AP Exams

In the middle of March students and parents look forward to Spring Break, vacations, and some needed relaxation time. After almost an entire school year of getting through another academic grade, families and their students have cause to feel worn out.  For those parents who help their children with homework, Spring Break is a needed respite from the homework routine.

Unfortunately, I have to be the bearer of bad news for some parents and students.

Those who are studying for Advanced Placement (AP) Exams have a deadline on the horizon–the two weeks in May devoted to taking AP Exams are creeping ever closer. As I mentioned in my post about why AP scores matter, which you can find here, parents and their students should use this time to begin preparations for the exams.

Many parents don’t know how to help their child succeed.  They may not be familiar with the content of the exams themselves–AP courses are on the level of college classes and require specially trained instructors to teach students the materials covered on the exam. Parents and students need to collaborate to come up with a study plan to ensure their students do the best they can when test day rolls around.

My advice is to have a family discussion to set clear goals for the student. Parents and their student should decide if the student should aim for a 3, 4, or 5 on the exam. Every student learns uniquely and at their own pace; outlining a plan is a surefire way to support the student’s education. Creating realistic goals for achievement allows students to improve their confidence.

There are many options to accommodate test preparation. Firstly, the student and parents can reach out to a teacher of the respective AP Course and ask for supplemental material. The teacher may be able to provide the student with extra practice exams so that the student can master the exam before the test date. Secondly, students and parents could prepare for the exam together with test preparation books. I have found this method to be effective.

Students and parents should also consider tutoring for the exams that they deem the most important for the student’s college goals. By adequately preparing for exams with tutors, parents and students can save money and time in the long run. If the student achieves a score of three or higher on the test, depending on the college the student attends, he or she can be awarded up to 30-40 hours of introductory college credit (depending on the number of exams taken)! Tutors, like many teachers of AP Exams, have expertise that covers the breadth of the exam’s content. Unlike many teachers, however, tutors can individualize the lesson plan for each student’s learning style. This equips the student with the best resources to tackle the exam, get great scores, and acquire college credit.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about the content of this post, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at rachelsstuart@gmail.com.

Blog Post by Rachel S. Stuart a Tutor and Featured Blogger for Academic Advantage Tutoring

rachel-close-up-good-pic (183x200)

About Rachel

I have always been a proud “nerd.” When I could, I always helped my friends with their homework because I just loved to teach them how to think about the world differently. In particular, history and writing have always been my specialties. When I was a little girl, my aspiration was to one day be a history professor! I hope to begin Master’s classes in the field of education and continue to be fascinated by changing technology in the classroom and different ways of engaging my students’ creativity!
Honors and awards: Phi Beta Kappa, Highest Honors in History Honors Program at Emory, Recipient of the Theodore H. Jack Award, Phi Alpha Theta, Pi Sigma Alpha, Dean’s List at Emory.
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Taking a Gap Year

When I was a senior in high school, none of my friends even considered a “Gap Year.” I do not think that any one of us had actually been exposed to the idea that a newly-graduated high school senior could take a year off from school before starting their college education. Now, the idea that students could, and maybe should, take time off to explore themselves, the world, and possible careers is in vogue. And why not? From personal experience, I will tell you that most college freshmen don’t even know what they should major in, much less what career they expect to pursue. It’s heinous that college students nowadays sign for thousands of dollars in loans but could not tell you what they are working toward. A year of self-discovery may give these students the necessary experience needed to see what jobs appeal to them, in addition to a year of personal growth. Many schools are beginning to encourage their students to take a Gap Year. For instance, the prestigious Harvard and Yale Universities promote taking time off to incoming freshman.[1]

For clarification purposes, students that take a gap year, like other juniors and seniors, take their SAT or ACT tests at the same time as their peers who intend to continue on to college immediately. These students would work hard to achieve their personal best scores, and then would apply to college in their the Senior year. Once admitted into a college, students who wish to take a gap year appeal to the college and ask permission to matriculate a year later.

Each of my friends who took a gap year before matriculating into college benefitted from a wider, yet more focused perspective than our peers. One friend developed an online presence through her social media in the year that she took off from school. She found her niche in creating jewelry, t-shirts, and artwork and has since been hailed as a rising star in that sector. Through her experience, she found out that she wanted to pursue a business marketing degree in order to further her ability to grow her own small business. Before her gap year, however, she didn’t have a clue as to what she wanted to study. This year of exploration grounded her in her interests, while also showing her that she lacked the skills necessary to run a business.

Another friend joined a year-long travel program that took him to countries all over the world–from islands in Oceania to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina. He encountered different cultures, learned new languages, and discovered interests that he had never known he would enjoy. In South America, for example, this young man learned that he enjoyed dancing! He had always felt uncomfortable at school dances, but when he immersed himself in the Latin culture, he found Tango and Salsa dancing exciting. He came back to school the next year completely changed by his experiences, yet he was also still uniquely himself. He decided he wanted to study medicine so that he could one day contribute to Doctors Without Borders. Some great Gap Year programs are Thinking Beyond Borders, Dynamy, and Youth International. Find some great advice and more in depth information at UsaGapYearFairs.org.

Had these two students went straight to college, they would not have had the perspective that they gained from their year off. Both of these students went back to school self-motivated and excited to learn skills that could help them in their career. Instead of feeling burnt-out from high school, they were fresh and ready to learn more.

If you want more information about the Gap Year and specific programs associated with them, please do not hesitate to contact me at rachelsstuart@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!

[1] Find Yale’s information on a Gap year at http://www.yale.edu/yalecollege/international/welcome/gap_year.html and Harvard’s at https://college.harvard.edu/admissions/preparing-college/should-i-take-time

rachel-close-up-good-pic (183x200)

 

About Rachel

I have always been a proud “nerd.” When I could, I always helped my friends with their homework because I just loved to teach them how to think about the world differently. In particular, history and writing have always been my specialties. When I was a little girl, my aspiration was to one day be a history professor! I hope to begin Master’s classes in the field of education and continue to be fascinated by changing technology in the classroom and different ways of engaging my students’ creativity!
 
Honors and awards: Phi Beta Kappa, Highest Honors in History Honors Program at Emory, Recipient of the Theodore H. Jack Award, Phi Alpha Theta, Pi Sigma Alpha, Dean’s List at Emory.
Please follow and like us: