What Do Students Think is Best for AP Exam Review?

I survey my students every year after the AP Exam, because I want to improve my practice and adjust for needs the following year. For review ideas, read this post. Remember, every school, teacher and students are different. What my students need or do not need is unique to them. As a professional, you will do trial and error and your own surveys to find out the best way to prep your own students for the exam. To see a copy of my survey click on this google doc.

I have a lot of students take my course and the exam (140+) and these numbers give me good insight. Overall, my students do well on the exam and have a good amount of self-reflection afterwards. Here are the major points from the past two years of survey data:

Review Materials that Students Think are Very Helpful

  • Students reported sticky notes were the best in preparing them for the AP®  Exam (75+% average in the past two years said they were very helpful).
  • Released exams and diagnostics were also highly rated (75+% average also said they were very helpful).
  • Mastering Environmental Science coaching extra credit assignments were very helpful (70+% average). This is the online program that comes with the Withgott book. It has tutorials called “coaching” assignments. I make several “coaching” assignments as extra credit due the night before the AP®  Exam. Students drag and drop and sort content, watch videos with questions and graph analysis practice.
  • Binders were very helpful to about half my students.
  • Remind texts were very helpful to over half my students. (I do my own texts the weekend before the exam with helpful hints texted every 2 hours or so).
  • Bozeman videos were very helpful to about half my students. I give links and guidance for Bozeman videos in relation to my textbook on their 6 Week Study Plan.

Please note: There are a lot of other review ideas and materials out there that are great. These are just the ones I pick for my students.

2018 results
2018 results

Review Material not as Helpful

  • Review book that the school owns. My school has a copy of a review/test prep book for each student to check out. It is from the textbook publisher. It has not been highly rated by my students. Perhaps this is because they cannot write in it. I will have to ask this year.
  • Google folder with lots of review items–vocab lists, study cards, etc. Anything I think is helpful is uploaded into this folder, but less than 20% thought it was very helpful. (Sorry, I cannot share my review folder, because some items in it are copyrighted).
  • Other review books that the student purchased. Now, this may be skewed, because not every student bought a book.

Class-time Review that was Helpful

I do not spend class time on content review. Instead, my students take released exams (which cannot go home as homework according to the agreement you acknowledge with your AP audit). Most students thought these were valuable to do in class:

  • FRQ strategies lesson-I pass out 4 FRQs from a recent year and I have students write all over the four with hints and strategies and have them decide how they want to tackle in 90 minutes.This is the video I record for my online section of APES. https://youtu.be/ZuPGKKFklc4
  • Mathematics review–most said the review was helpful to spend time on.
  • Experimental design practice— I give students practice problems from released APES exams and also AP Biology exams (since they have more released questions) along with the experimental design FRQ from 2012.
  • Geography review
Results from 2018. A 5 was very helpful and 1 was not helpful

* AP® is a trademark registered and/or owned by the College Board which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this site.

3 thoughts on “What Do Students Think is Best for AP Exam Review?