More Fun Ways to Review for the AP Exam

Just had dinner with a very good friend and outstanding AP teacher from Houston.  During dinner we discussed some fun things we do/have done in the past to help kids prepare for the exam.  Here are a few ideas. 

T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) Activity:  Regular readers of this blog know that I do everything I can think of to get my kids to work together and talk to one another about the material.  I truly believe (and research backs me up) that you solidify your understanding of things when you have to explain to someone else.  This week, my students took a mock exam and have gotten back their multiple choice and free response.  About 2/3 of them could take the AP exam tomorrow and do great, but about 1/3 still have significant work to do.  I went over the 6 most commonly missed multiple choice questions in each class and did one of the free response questions (a different one in each class).  We didn’t have much class time this week due to state-mandated testing.  They have to correct every other problem they missed by working with classmates.  For the next week, they will keep a record sheet where they will record what and with whom they are studying.  As they work together, they will add to that record sheet:

_______________(fill in name) taught me how to ________________ (fill in skill or topic learned) and get that person’s signature. 

I taught ________________(fill in name) all about ________________(fill in skill or topic) and again get that person’s signature. 

When they hand in their record sheet, they need to have signatures of at LEAST five different people.  They must have helped at least two different people and be helped by two different people.  I am encouraging them to use this as an opportunity to expand their social circle and work with and talk to kids they might not know too well.  I have kids who have vowed to bring me 20 signatures next week.

70’s Day:  I had forgotten about this until my dinner companion reminded me and told me about his additions to the idea.  Basically, the kids are in groups and have to choose a group name and symbol reflecting the 70’s (Disco Queens, Bicentenniel Bozos, whatever).  A team can get extra points if someone comes dressed appropriate to the era, brings music or food that was popular at that time.  We alternate working AP free response questions from the 70’s and doing 70’s trivia.  My friend has also done an 80’s Day with a similar approach.  You know you’re old when your own high school days become the kids’ nostalgia.

Chalk Talk:  I got this idea from our fabulous AP Economics teacher.  On the Saturday before her exam, she meets the kids up at the school and divides them into groups, giving each group a bucket of sidewalk chalk.  Each group works out a different free response question on the school parking lot and then they go around to learn what each of the other groups has written.


Our AP classes should be challenging AND fun!  If you have a creative idea you use to review for the AP exam, send me a comment and I will post it!


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