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    #244982 - 03/09/19 10:26 PM AP - how to get a non-studious kid ready
    greenlotus Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/17/14
    Posts: 566
    Per cricket 3,
    " I wonít bore you with details but try and give you the short version. All our AP and honored level classes are open to everyone, regardless of ability. There is a teacher recommendation process, but parents can override it frequently, and do. The result is that the vast majority of honors/AP classes are taught with a lot of scaffolding. For a gifted kid, that can mean a lot of frustrating busywork. My kid rarely studied, either, but she did drown in endless amounts of frustrating homework."

    This is the situation at our high school. DYS DD13 has the opportunity to take AP classes next year, and I wonder if she is ready for the busy work and organizational side. There is no doubt she can understand the classwork. I was thinking about talking to her current English teacher about the situation. What can we do to get her ready? She would be open to any AP class except probably math (good at it, but isn't excited about it either).

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    #244984 - 03/10/19 08:16 AM Re: AP - how to get a non-studious kid ready [Re: greenlotus]
    cricket3 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/09
    Posts: 663
    I donít think there is any way to really give you specific advice here, as I think the classes and our kids varied quite a bit in what they required, but it was also very teacher-dependent. Our kids have scored 5s on all the APs theyíve taken, but this may be attributable to excellent teaching as well as over-preparation (built into the classes, my kids donít study, and teachers are motivated for kids to succeed here.) A big part of AP exam success is knowing what to expect, format, speed/efficiency, etc. and a good teacher will address this.

    I guess the biggest challenge for both our kids was adjusting to the volume of reading required for history classes, and the level of detailed recall expected. Being procrastinators and unused to the high volume, it took them both a while to recognize they couldnít leave the weekís assignments until Sunday night and expect to perform well on the frequent, detail-oriented quizzes. There was high volume, both textbook and supplemental readings, and the quizzes were so detail-oriented that they required drilling down, even remembering a fact or name only mentioned once in a caption on an illustration, for example. I donít know if this is standard, or even necessary, but itís how their history classes were taught. They also benefitted from debate and discussion, which was the part of the classes they enjoyed and appreciate- this varied a lot by teachers, and according to our kids, was less related to any exam success; they did feel it was where most of the good learning happened, however.

    For math and science classes, the work was very do-able, as long as the teachers were organized. And all but one of our experiences here were good- we had a physics teacher who didnít follow a syllabus and was fairly random in what he included on exams, which were infrequent and high-stakes, grade-wise. In this situation, our daughter and friends ended up basically self-teaching using AP review books and various online sources they discovered independently. The class was very time-intensive, both because of this and because of the structure of the labs- kids regularly had to stay after school to complete stuff that should have been doable during the two-period class/lab period, because of how things were organized (poorly).

    AP English classes here are restricted not by student level, but by grade, so only seniors are allowed to take them (completely arbitrary, but our English department does a very good job leading up to this with their own curriculum which included classes focused on public speaking, lit, essay writing, etc, so we didnít complain). Anyway, AP lit was a good experience, just a lot of volume reading, but there was choice and there are really no poor choices in that canon anyway, as far as Iím concerned. It was taught with a lot of independence as far as what to read and writing assignments, perhaps because it was all seniors. My kid did not study for the exam, but thatís standard for her. Discussions were integral here, and were well-done.

    Most of the AP classes here require summer work, in part because our classes start late, after Labor Day, and in part because I think they want to make sure the students realize there will be work required, so itís sort of a weed-out thing. So some kids bail before the class begins, as the assignments for the summer can be daunting, or just a huge pain they donít want to deal with. The worst for summer work was history, readings and writing (either a paper or detailed short answer questions, sort of mini-essays). For English they had to read a couple novels and write at least one paper, maybe answer some short answer questions and do a journal. There were review packets and problem sets for some sciences and math, teacher-dependent.

    Again, Iím not sure if this was overkill, and my kids would never have done most of it were it not required. So as far as preparing your kid, I donít know what to suggest. We did help them look hard at the time commitments of their extracurriculars and other activities, as the demands on their time were heavy and required conscious balancing, prioritizing, etc- probably the toughest, but most valuable lesson learned. Motivation was also a challenge at times- busy work can be hard to sustain, particularly when there are kids cheating and gaming the system (why take your own notes when you can print off some from the internet- except these are bring graded...). Again, my kids learned lessons from this, too, but it was difficult.

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    #245002 - 03/12/19 06:23 AM Re: AP - how to get a non-studious kid ready [Re: greenlotus]
    greenlotus Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/17/14
    Posts: 566
    cricket3 - you were very kind to explain so carefully what your kids experienced. Thank you. I am going to attempt to talk with DD about AP classes as what you write and what I have heard from others is similar. I need her to understand that she will not be able to wing it, and MUST get more organized. While she manages her disorganization (ADHD) so much better, she has a long way to go. I know I read somewhere else about summer reading for AP classes. I plan to ask one of the English teachers about that although it would not upset DD because she tends to be an introvert anyway and hang out in her room. Again, thank you for your thoughtful reply.

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    #245005 - 03/12/19 02:53 PM Re: AP - how to get a non-studious kid ready [Re: greenlotus]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4206
    Originally Posted By: greenlotus
    ...I wonder if she is ready for the busy work and organizational side.
    ... What can we do to get her ready?
    Rather than focus on readiness for a particular AP subject, might you consider focusing on underlying life skills?
    Such as Executive Function (EF) skills?
    Organizational skills?
    Time management skills?
    Study skills?
    Prioritizing?

    As an example, this book addresses procrastination. It is newly listed as a resource, on the Davidson database.
    Bust Your BUTS: Tips for Teens Who Procrastinate, by Joanne Foster Ed.D.

    As another resource, Understood.org has articles and tips covering many of the life skills listed above.

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    #245008 - 03/13/19 03:33 AM Re: AP - how to get a non-studious kid ready [Re: greenlotus]
    cricket3 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/09
    Posts: 663
    I hope itís helpful in some way. As you can tell, I have spent way too much time thinking about this! Primarily because I had misgivings all along the way. In the end, I think it was probably the best path given our specific situation, but there were a lot of downsides. The positive? My DD feels super-prepared as a college freshman. She is at what most would call an elite college, and though got no credits for her APs, was able to place out of a lot of classes, and began the year in a small honors science class and an accelerated/compacted math class (where she felt challenged, first time (!!) but prepared). She placed out of foreign language requirements at every college she looked at, And handling the transition to college was a breeze- she still canít beleive how much free time she has (which is more of a sad commentary on high school, IMO).

    I realized I didnít talk about social sciences at all- neither of our kids have taken any APs there (the classes they took are DE and they didnít take the AP exams). And foreign language- I think this was a lot of work, but it comes easily to both our kids and their classes have been excellent so I donít have much to say. There is a lot of reading, they watched videos, newscasts, tv programs, wrote essays, had to do lots of presentations, etc, but this was all part of their curriculum leading up to the AP year, so it just seemed like normal progression to DD. We also didnít have any experience with some of the ďlighterĒ APs like human geography, etc. Just no room in the schedule, and most are not offered here, probably for that reason.

    Best of luck!

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    #245049 - 03/16/19 03:13 AM Re: AP - how to get a non-studious kid ready [Re: indigo]
    greenlotus Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/17/14
    Posts: 566
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    Originally Posted By: greenlotus
    ...I wonder if she is ready for the busy work and organizational side.
    ... What can we do to get her ready?
    Rather than focus on readiness for a particular AP subject, might you consider focusing on underlying life skills?
    Such as Executive Function (EF) skills?
    Organizational skills?
    Time management skills?
    Study skills?
    Prioritizing?

    As an example, this book addresses procrastination. It is newly listed as a resource, on the Davidson database.
    Bust Your BUTS: Tips for Teens Who Procrastinate, by Joanne Foster Ed.D.

    As another resource, Understood.org has articles and tips covering many of the life skills listed above.


    Oh yes, we attempt to work on overall organizational skills. Gets tricky when one's child does not want the help. She only recently accepted a calendar in her room. Sigh. Understood.org is a great resource, BTW. I share it with many parents. I am using the meeting with the English teacher as a means to find out how our school's AP classes are structured. Plus, he was the only one not at our daughter's 504 meeting so I want to talk with him.

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    #245056 - 03/17/19 07:26 AM Re: AP - how to get a non-studious kid ready [Re: greenlotus]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1523
    Cricket3 could you explain the foreign language requirements? DD is going to do AP Chinese next year and she will have 3 years of Spanish, she dropped french (we are in canada). She could do AP Spanish online in 12th grade, after what her school offers. What is the requirement? If you have an AP language, does it matter if you have 4 years? I keep hearing that you need 4 years of a language in high school.

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    #245057 - 03/17/19 08:51 AM Re: AP - how to get a non-studious kid ready [Re: greenlotus]
    cricket3 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/09
    Posts: 663
    Wren, the requirements will vary a lot- each school has their own; I can only speak to our specific experience, which was mainly liberal arts schools and/or places with a core curriculum or requirements. DD found that having a 5 on a foreign language AP (spoken, not sure if same is true for Latin) was enough to exempt her from taking further foreign language requirements at all the places she was considering. Some schools will have their own placement exams instead, but I suspect that being capable of achieving a 5 on the AP exam is a good indicator of doing well.

    I donít recall that there were specific requirements for years studied; I suspect lots of kids here use the Chinese exam without studiying the language in school. The years taken thing does seem to come up when schools are looking to see if kids took the most rigorous courseload offered at their high school- I donít know, but suspect that taking the minimum year requirements for English, for example, even if the kid has APs, might not look great, but obviously it depends what the kid took instead of that fourth year of English. (I have mainly seen this kind of thing when kids who have accelerated then take no more math, or science, for their last year or two- I do think certain schools could view that as a lack of interest or curiosity, but that is JMO).


    Edited by cricket3 (03/17/19 08:56 AM)

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    #245404 - 05/06/19 10:01 AM Re: AP - how to get a non-studious kid ready [Re: greenlotus]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1523
    Curious about how many AP classes seem to be the norm now. I asked someone, who entered Princeton about 8 years ago how many AP classes she had taken, her response: "all of them". DD is striving to take AP Chinese next year (10th grade) and AP computer science (since she has been in computer club for several years and AP CS is expected to be easy). Then the expected: English, Calc, Bio, Chem and Physics. She is taking AP Chinese through CTY, because it is the only way she can, and then doing the same with Spanish in 12th grade, since her school only offers 3 years of Spanish and not AP. When I was in school in Canada, we had grade 13. That was AP. Grade 13 physics was basically first year physics at university. Not exactly. And you did not get any college credit, it was to show you could do the work or something.
    Since we talk about acceleration here a lot. You can do acceleration through these online programs. Have people applied for scholarships? Are there scholarships for high schoolers to move ahead? Maybe that should be a thing.

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    #245406 - 05/07/19 02:36 AM Re: AP - how to get a non-studious kid ready [Re: greenlotus]
    ruazkaz Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/23/12
    Posts: 128
    My understanding is there is no norm for APs as it really depends on your high school. Colleges look at the rigor of which courses you took and how many compared mainly to your high school as that is the main option you have.

    Also, I do not think they highly value APs that kids self-study and do well on, instead want to see them take what is offered.

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