Category Archives: Advanced Placement

AP Exam Reviews Available


IOAPAAttention:
All Iowa high school students taking AP classes.

Now Available: Online AP Exam Reviews for AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, AP Psychology, AP Spanish Language and Culture, AP Statistics, AP U.S. Government and Politics, and AP U.S. History.

How Do I Get It? IOAPA students enrolled in the courses listed above for the spring semester are automatically set up. Students in on-site AP classes can be signed up by their schools. (Students cannot register themselves for the exam reviews.) Information about registering can be found by visiting our website.

How Should I Study?

Everyone knows that studying is an important part of academic success. Not all study methods yield equal benefits, though. So, what study techniques should IOAPA students employ to get the most bang for their academic buck? This article from Scientific American Mind reviewed the literature, and we’ll sum it up here.

The Top Two

  1. Self-testing: Practice tests helped improve learning across subjects, and retention lasts longer than other study methods. It works even if the format of the practice test differs from the real one.
  2. Distributed practice: In other words, don’t cram! Research suggests that spreading your study sessions out over time is more beneficial. Tell your IOAPA students — don’t put off your studying for finals or the AP Exam until days or weeks before. Avoid the tendency to procrastinate!

What else works?

Three other techniques were found to be useful, but less robust: elaborative interrogation, self-explanation, and interleaved practice. These methods may be less varied in their applications and/or less practical to employ, but still yield benefits for students.

What doesn’t work?

Five techniques under analysis were found to be of low overall utility: summarization, highlighting, keyword mnemonics, imagery use, and rereading. Research demonstrated that these methods were only effective for individuals with certain prerequisite skills, for certain content areas or task demands, or that they were generally ineffective.  For example, summarizing can be useful for older students (undergraduates, mostly) or students who have been trained how to effectively summarize, but does not yield positive results for students who lack those skills. Highlighting/underlining, on the other hand, yielded few benefits beyond those of simply reading.

The findings presented in this summary and in the article linked above come from the following study: Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., and Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4-58.

Another discussion of this article was shared by one of the authors here.

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APTTI Registration Opening January 30

While the snowflakes are flying in Iowa City, think warm thoughts and start making plans to attend this year’s AP Teacher Training Institute (APTTI)! Registration opens Monday, January 30. The institute runs from June 27th to 30th on the University of Iowa campus. This year, we are offering workshops in AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science A, AP English Language & Composition, AP English Literature & Composition, AP Physics 1, and AP US History. (If there’s a course you’d like to see us offer in the future, send the course name to Katie Schabilion at katherine-schabilion@uiowa.edu and we’ll consider adding it in future years.)

Who says teachers can’t have fun, too? Last year’s APTTI included social media giveaways, Twitter competition between science workshops, and a whole lot of learning. Who knows what might happen in 2017!

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Financial assistance is available through IOAPA and through the College Board. College Board scholarship application materials must be submitted by February 15, so don’t wait too long! For more on funding opportunities, visit our website.

To learn more about our workshops, instructors, and schedule, and to register for APTTI 2017, visit www.belinblank.org/aptti. We’d love to see you there!

IOAPA Spring Dates and Deadlines

Welcome back to another semester of IOAPA! As we all get settled back in for the semester, we wanted to share some important dates and deadlines relevant to IOAPA students and teachers.

  • January 27, 2017: Last day to drop IOAPA courses without a fee.
  • January 31, 2017: Last day to add online/distance learning courses (including IOAPA courses) to your school’s Course Audit.
  • February 17, 2017: Last day to submit disability documentation for students with disabilities seeking accommodations for AP Exams. See this recent post for more on that process.
  • Mid-Spring: Registration for AP Exam Review through IOAPA opens. See our website for more information on available courses and registration.
  • April 14, 2017: Last day to order AP Exams.
  • May 1-15, 2017: AP Exams occur. See the AP Exam Dates page for specific information about your courses.
  • May 6, 2017: IOAPA spring courses end.

Stay tuned for more information about AP Exams, including study strategies and our AP Exam Reviews (available to all Iowa students taking AP courses). o-calendar-facebook

End of the Semester Celebrations

We have made it to the end of another great IOAPA semester! Now is the time to rest, recover, and celebrate accomplishments. Whether your student is new to IOAPA this year, or has participated before, accepting the challenge of above-level coursework and putting forth the effort required to complete it is a huge achievement, and deserves to be recognized.

These celebrations do not have to be large-scale. Something as simple as a note to the student or a message to parents about how hard their child has worked this semester can encourage students to continue seeking the challenge that IOAPA provides and working to achieve success. Note that while getting a high grade is valuable and important, many students benefit more from hearing specific praise about things within their control, like their behavior and effort, than from vague compliments about their grade or their “smarts.”

Often, students taking IOAPA courses are experiencing work that is more challenging than anything else they have encountered. It’s important to talk with students about how they handled any challenges they faced, and how we can support them moving forward. Recognizing their accomplishments is one way to support students on their educational journey.

Don’t forget to celebrate your own hard work, too! Our students couldn’t succeed without the support of the important adults in their lives. Thank you for providing that support!

Accommodations for AP Exams

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If you have IOAPA students who receive accommodations at school through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan and are planning to take AP exams, now is the time to start thinking about requesting accommodations through the College Board. The deadline for submitting requests is February 17th, 2017, because the approval process could take up to 7 weeks. (Ugh.)

Good news! The College Board is making this process a lot simpler beginning in January 2017, which means that many students with existing school-based testing accommodations will be automatically approved for AP exam (and other College Board test) accommodations this year. Check out their press release or this Education Week blog post for more information. The tests to which this applies include: all AP® exams, the PSAT™ 10 and PSAT/NMSQT®, and the SAT® and SAT Subject Tests™. In the future, the College Board is also planning to expand accommodations for English learners.

This change also means that now is a great time to consider reevaluating students’ existing accommodations to ensure that they are still appropriate.

To find out more about eligibility, requesting accommodations, and steps to take after approval, visit the College Board Services for Students with Disabilities website. According to their website, most students work with their school counselors to submit these requests, but now is the time to start discussing the process at your school so that everyone is prepared to submit requests after returning from winter break.

Stay tuned for more on motivating students to take AP exams and preparing for exams. Are there other topics you’d like us to blog about? Let us know! Email us at kristin-flanary@uiowa.edu and/or katherine-schabilion@uiowa.edu.

APTTI 2017 – Save the Date!

We are so excited to announce the dates for next year’s Advanced Placement Teacher Training Institute! APTTI 2017 will take place on the University of Iowa campus June 27th-June 30th, 2017. Registration for the institute is coming soon.

APTTI is a College Board-endorsed AP Summer Institute that provides teachers comprehensive preparation for developing and teaching an AP course. 2017 courses include AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science A, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Physics 1, and AP US History.

For more information, visit our website (belinblank.org/aptti) and check back to the blog for updates on registration and course availability. We hope to see you this summer!

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