AP Test Prep with Digital Tools

Featuring Advice from AP Teachers

As district leaders and AP teachers prioritize making advanced placement courses and exams more accessible to all students — especially those who have been traditionally underserved— time spent on AP test prep is even more crucial. AP exams have the potential to change a student’s college preparedness, and those learners who put forth the effort, time, and expense to take an AP course and exam will need extensive preparation to reap the benefits of a strong exam score.

Technology can be a useful tool when designing an AP test prep strategy, but only when integrated with purpose, not strictly for the sake of including tech in a lesson. Technology that adapts to student needs by identifying knowledge gaps enables teachers to further differentiate instruction. If you don’t have access to adaptive technologies, there are a plethora of tech tools that can boost student engagement and help them review challenging content right up to the test day.

Many educators are already purposefully integrating technology into their AP test prep. We asked a few of the AP Teachers in the Art of Teaching Project how they leverage tech in the months and weeks leading up to AP exams. Here’s what they shared:

“I use screencasts to model approaches, demonstrate thinking, and capture exemplar techniques. These can then be curated for extension, to flip the classroom, and to help students who cannot spend the in-person time with the teacher. I can also have students create screencasts for deeper learning, for fun and creativity, and to help show me their thinking on a poem, passage, or test question. These screencasts can be made on all kinds of devices and can be done using free software.” — Steve Kucinski, AP English Teacher, Ohio @specialkdchs

Read more from teacher Steve Kucinski:

“Each Monday my students do multiple choice practice. My non-AP classes work on SAT reading comprehension questions while my AP students focus on AP exam type questions. Tests vary in length each week from 10 questions to a full AP practice exam of 55 questions. Multiple-choice practice can often suck the life out of a class, yet practice is necessary in order to increase reading comprehension skills and prepare for the exam.
I have started using Socrative in all of my classes for several reasons. Students benefit from Socrative because it provides a game-based feel for an ordinarily mundane activity and gives immediate feedback on questions. Teachers benefit from Socrative because valuable class time is not wasted on questions the entire class answered correctly, and data can be saved from each practice test in order to tailor future lessons to class weaknesses.” — Susan Barber, AP Lit Teacher, from her blog, AP Lit Help

Find more from Susan in the Art of Teaching Project:

What tech tools and digital learning strategies do you use to prepare your students for AP exams? Comment below, and check out stories from other AP teachers in the Art of Teaching Project:

Explore tech tools to drive your AP test prep strategy here.

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