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Since several folks are disappointed to discover that AP PA classes are asynchronous, I would like to mention that this is a really good thing for some of us. Live classes do not often suit our time zone, and we travel frequently. Live classes while traveling get tricky. We have one this year. At most, we could handle two lives classes. I puffy-heart-love the asynchronous forma

 

 

We appreciate asynchronous classes and I am already sweating exactly how one of our two live classes will work next year.

 

This year, AP Biology at the school happened every other morning from 7:45-9:11am. His Skype session for Spanish happens Friday mornings at 8:30am, so every other Friday there is a class conflict and ds has to make a choice. Because the Spanish students fix  the time and the majority of them are East coast, it was problematic and of course we didn't know when the Biology class would be until schedules were distributed in the fall.

 

It really does pay to know what works for your child. My child has little patience for the time it takes to settle a live class down and get to work.

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This is very different than peer review for papers that my ds had experienced in public school. The kids read each others essays and have to give very specific comments based on what they have learned. They also assign grades based on the rubric. In a way, there is as much obligation to provide good feedback as there is to write a good essay. This isn't the case of a teacher who doesn't want to do her work. Maya pays scrupulous attention to the essays. Sometimes  student grades match hers and sometimes they don't. I have seen my son spend as much as 45 minutes to an hour trying to craft good advice for a fellow student. The kids seem to care. It's like, "Oh man, you are so close, what if you tried this  or this to give more support for your thesis?"

 

The TAs answer additional student questions and lead discussion groups and they all do a very good job. The things that you are worried about have given me fits in other classes, but in Mrs. I's classes, they have all been positives and provided additional learning experiences.

 

I have written this before, but ds maintains that a high-level participation class that is asynchronous can provide far more opportunities for interaction than some larger, live classes like at ps.

 

 

Thanks! I'll need to give it more thought...

 

Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but group critiquing/grading was not part of my university experience.

 

My daughter is growing quite cynical of group projects because of the negative experiences she's already begun to accumulate. I'm not sure how thrilled she would be with the idea.

 

The amount of time you mentioned concerns me. How much time a week do you think he spent on the writing of other students?

 

ETA: To clarify...

 

Study sessions or group work by choice can be wonderful. It's not that I'm against groups entirely.

 

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Thanks! I'll need to give it more thought...

 

Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but group critiquing/grading was not part of my university experience.

 

My daughter is growing quite cynical of group projects because of the negative experiences she's already begun to accumulate. I'm not sure how thrilled she would be with the idea.

 

The amount of time you mentioned concerns me. How much time a week do you think he spent on the writing of other students?

 

ETA: To clarify...

 

Study sessions or group work by choice can be wonderful. It's not that I'm against groups entirely.

 

 

Group projects were the anathema of my graduate school experience and I share your daughter's cynicism. I have also written more than a few times in writing threads that I am not sure that finding examples of peer writing for your student to emulate is a good idea. That said, for this particular class, this particular teacher, and this set of students, it seemed to be a productive exercise.  I used the example of my son spending up to 45 minutes because I wanted to demonstrate that the student critiques aren't all "Hey, nice job. Liked your conclusion."  Although when pressed for time with other academic obligations, I would imagine my son delivered commentary that came close to that.

 

When a writer sees two very different responses to his essay, it gives him pause and he has to think about which message he is trying to convey. The students will ask questions of the writer not only to clarify their own understanding, but to help the writer tighten up his meaning.

 

Remember that there is writing involved in many of the AP exams and there are specific points to be earned on the rubrics. By applying them to other students' writing, the critic solidifies his own understanding of what it takes to satisfy the AP Readers.

 

My son loathes busy work and he could see the value in nearly everything he has done for Maya's two classes. He also is a slow reader and so the amount of time he spent working on the class may not apply for many students. His commitment was at minimum 2 hours per day and usually time spent on the weekends.

 

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Thanks! I'll need to give it more thought...

 

Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but group critiquing/grading was not part of my university experience.

 

 

 

 

I am also in the minority as far as group grading goes as I don't think the payoff for my kids is worth the time commitment. 

 

My oldest took AP English Language with Lili Serbicki last year.  He did not have 2 hours a day to devote to English and this class was perfect for his goals.  He learned a ton and the workload was about 1 hour per day.  Here were the pros for us:

1. The weekly live lecture was optional and was recorded so he could watch it later.

2. Typically, the class would spend one week reading, and then the following week writing.

3. My son received detailed feedback from Lili Serbicki on every writing assignment he submitted

4. While the kids didn't critique each others' essays, Mrs. Serbicki would post the top couple of student submissions for each assignment.  Reading excellent student essays was a very effective teaching tool for my son.

5. The class was flexible - there were no daily assignments due each day.

6. My son was very prepared for the AP exam.

 

I friend's child took AP English Literature with Mrs. Serbicki and had the same experience.  While my son was unable to take the AP exam, her child received a 5 on the Literature AP.

 

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My son took AP English Language and Comp with Walker.  It has been great.  She has been great.   We both liked that the assignments were given weekly and due a week later.  That gave us more flexibility when things came up.  It also gave him the experience of managing a workload without having it broken down into daily assignments.  My son has really enjoyed the class.  She has given very helpful comments on writing assignments as well as answering his many questions and she has also graded quite a few extra practice AP essays that she did not assign.  The class "met" for discussion about every two weeks.  That was optional and there were 2 time slots for it.  There was a written discussion board post for those that couldn't or didn't want to attend the online meetings.  My son could do a better job of reviewing than I have, but we highly recommend her.

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I am also in the minority as far as group grading goes as I don't think the payoff for my kids is worth the time commitment. 

 

My oldest took AP English Language with Lili Serbicki last year.  He did not have 2 hours a day to devote to English and this class was perfect for his goals.  He learned a ton and the workload was about 1 hour per day.  Here were the pros for us:

1. The weekly live lecture was optional and was recorded so he could watch it later.

2. Typically, the class would spend one week reading, and then the following week writing.

3. My son received detailed feedback from Lili Serbicki on every writing assignment he submitted

4. While the kids didn't critique each others' essays, Mrs. Serbicki would post the top couple of student submissions for each assignment.  Reading excellent student essays was a very effective teaching tool for my son.

5. The class was flexible - there were no daily assignments due each day.

6. My son was very prepared for the AP exam.

 

I friend's child took AP English Literature with Mrs. Serbicki and had the same experience.  While my son was unable to take the AP exam, her child received a 5 on the Literature AP.

 

 

 

My son took AP English Language and Comp with Walker.  It has been great.  She has been great.   We both liked that the assignments were given weekly and due a week later.  That gave us more flexibility when things came up.  It also gave him the experience of managing a workload without having it broken down into daily assignments.  My son has really enjoyed the class.  She has given very helpful comments on writing assignments as well as answering his many questions and she has also graded quite a few extra practice AP essays that she did not assign.  The class "met" for discussion about every two weeks.  That was optional and there were 2 time slots for it.  There was a written discussion board post for those that couldn't or didn't want to attend the online meetings.  My son could do a better job of reviewing than I have, but we highly recommend her.

 

Thanks! I will look into both of these! The classes sound like they might be a better fit.

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Thanks! I will look into both of these! The classes sound like they might be a better fit.

 

One note about Mrs. Walker's class -- we did have two 'book clubs' with other students. However, we were allowed to choose the book we read and who we wanted to read it with. Also I think we had one or two peer reviews over the course of the year, but Mrs. Walker always also gave feedback, so we never just got a peer review. I normally hate group work, but I've found a huge difference in group work between my PA Homeschoolers classes and other classes. I've never had a bad experience with group work in PA Homeschoolers classes, because I'm never the one doing all the work; everyone does their fair share. Workload was about an hour a day, sometimes more when bigger papers were due. My writing has improved this year, and I've been very happy with the class. If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to try to answer them.

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We appreciate asynchronous classes and I am already sweating exactly how one of our two live classes will work next year.

 

Marking this for future peeks because I probably need asynchronous solutions later.

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Stephanie, thanks for doing this.

 

I really feel a sense of gratitude towards the Richmans for providing this opportunity to stretch our kids without making ourselves crazy. Sailor Dude's first AP class with them last year provided him with a clear view as to what a highly engaged, challenging, learning environment with like-minded peers could produce. It set the bar.

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Have all the kids taken classes as high schoolers? I noticed that maybe 1-3 of their classes only allow 11th graders. Has anyone asked for an exemption?

 

Dd is signed up to take AP Music Theory from AP Homeschoolers next year as a 10th grader.  She had to take an entrance/placement test to show that she was ready (the class normally only allows 11th or 12th graders).  It's probably worth it to contact specific teachers to find out if they will allow younger students.

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Have all the kids taken classes as high schoolers? I noticed that maybe 1-3 of their classes only allow 11th graders. Has anyone asked for an exemption?

 

I know computer science has had a couple 7th or 8th graders, and I've seen 9th graders in other classes. Wouldn't hurt to contact teachers and ask.

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My ds took AP Chemisty and AP Computer Science in 9th grade, and AP Physics B in 10th grade. I just had to list the math a science classes he had already completed. My son had a 12 year old in his AP Chem class the year he took it.

Whoa, just looked at your siggy, what PA classes has your son not taken? :D

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest maried123

My son took US History with Mrs. Susan Richmond and it was a great class. It gave us a wonderful intro to AP classes.

 

AP Psychology was also great.  Mrs.Bonnie Gonzalez is a great teacher and provided on-line in person lectures and chat times. The projects are all very interesting.  My son loved this class.

 

AP English with Maya Inspecktor - massive amounts of work.  Too much work.  Every morning there is a huge long morning message that requires work, then on top of that  there is the daily work.  There was a contest that the kids had to enter and find topics and write on a scientific research topic. No sooner was that completed then they were thrown into more work. No break, no let up. A bit too intense and we are definitely burnt out from this class.  Another class with Mrs. Inspector - no way!

 

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AP World History with Gwen Smith (this year, dd 12th grade): -- C/D+. Avoid, IMHO. Unnecessarily heavy workload with many assignments. Delayed grading and difficult communication on feedback. Too much quantity vs too little depth/quality. It is, however, good for learning how to skim and do half-assed work, which is not a completely useless skill. Dd liked the teacher personally, but we were not happy with the class. 

 

 

DS took this class and was also frustrated with the many assignments that didn't seem to add anything to his understanding of world history or his preparation for the AP exam.  Several of the assignments encouraged thoughtless work, like the class competition that required comments on other classmate's work - any kind of comment.  The results were sometimes hilariously off.  We did find her responsive and helpful, though.  DS had some health challenges, and she was very understanding.  He also wanted more practice writing timed essays, and she was willing to read and respond to several extra essays (one thing we found odd -- she never assigned any 40 min. essays, which is what the exam requires - only 60 min. ones, so DS did several 40 min. ones on his own.)  He also felt he knew exactly how he wanted to prepare for the exam, and she was willing to flex her requirements in the last few weeks for him.  I think it was a great learning experience for DS, to take responsibility for his own education and understand that the instructor is on his side and worth working with.

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AP Statistics with Carole Matheny ~

 

My daughter took this class as a senior.  She's now a college graduate, so some years have passed.  This was the only class my daughter took through PA Homeschoolers, but we would certainly have considered more had there been more time.  We were very pleased.  She learned a lot and went on to score a five on the AP exam.  This was one of the two high school classes that my daughter felt was most beneficial to her when she went to college.  (She majored in Latin and minored in Geology.)

 

Regards,

Kareni

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My son took US History with Mrs. Susan Richmond and it was a great class. It gave us a wonderful intro to AP classes.

 

AP Psychology was also great.  Mrs.Bonnie Gonzalez is a great teacher and provided on-line in person lectures and chat times. The projects are all very interesting.  My son loved this class.

 

AP English with Maya Inspecktor - massive amounts of work.  Too much work.  Every morning there is a huge long morning message that requires work, then on top of that  there is the daily work.  There was a contest that the kids had to enter and find topics and write on a scientific research topic. No sooner was that completed then they were thrown into more work. No break, no let up. A bit too intense and we are definitely burnt out from this class.  Another class with Mrs. Inspector - no way!

 

That is unfortunate that you son did not enjoy Mrs. Inspektor's class. While my son does find her classes do require a significant amount of time, he also finds the work always to be relevant and the instruction to be excellent.

 

In years prior to this one, Mrs. I's students have competed in the National Peace Essay contest. The prompts are sophisticated and require students to craft thoughtful, well-articulated arguments. However, that contest was discontinued due to lack of funding. It sounds as though perhaps the new contest was not all it could have been? Or do you object to a college-level research paper being assigned in an Advanced Placement class?

 

Fortunately, if your son decides to take the other AP English class, he has several excellent teachers to choose from at PAHS.

 

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In years prior to this one, Mrs. I's students have competed in the National Peace Essay contest. The prompts are sophisticated and require students to craft thoughtful, well-articulated arguments. However, that contest was discontinued due to lack of funding. It sounds as though perhaps the new contest was not all it could have been? Or do you object to a college-level research paper being assigned in an Advanced Placement class?

 

I thought the contest was wonderful. Ds was not even vaguely interested in scientific writing and was not at all interested in the contest. However, he found a topic of interest (topics varied WIDELY) and ended up learning a TON about how to craft a persuasive paper on a topic that is far outside your area of expertise.

 

Mrs I's class is a lot of work, but the work in Mrs. I's class is a very few assignments per day or week with a lot of effort expected on each. They were really able to put effort into each assignment and work for perfection. The workload is high, but the opportunity to learn and grow was tremendous. You should know going in that you are looking at a daily commitment, not weekly assignments. Also, her grading is really quite generous. Not her scoring of individual assignments, but her grading for the course.

 

I'm sure it isn't for everybody, but no regrets here.

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I thought the contest was wonderful. Ds was not even vaguely interested in scientific writing and was not at all interested in the contest. However, he found a topic of interest (topics varied WIDELY) and ended up learning a TON about how to craft a persuasive paper on a topic that is far outside your area of expertise.

 

Mrs I's class is a lot of work, but the work in Mrs. I's class is a very few assignments per day or week with a lot of effort expected on each. They were really able to put effort into each assignment and work for perfection. The workload is high, but the opportunity to learn and grow was tremendous. You should know going in that you are looking at a daily commitment, not weekly assignments. Also, her grading is really quite generous. Not her scoring of individual assignments, but her grading for the course.

 

I'm sure it isn't for everybody, but no regrets here.

 

Debbie, what essay contest did they do this year? Sailor Dude had to write on security sector reform last year and that work is part of what prompted his interest in his intended major.

 

Also, I think "work load" is probably relative. Ds thought Mrs. I's work load was heavy until he took AP Biology this year. I think his term for the pacing is "unforgiving." 

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It was the DuPont essay contest this year. I read quite a few of the papers. They were fascinating! 

 

I was pretty sure that Mrs. I's workload was in the mid-high range as AP classes go. It may lean toward heavy, but I have heard of several classes that are much more intense. I don't know how it compares to other AP English classes. I think for some the fact he assignments are daily, rather than weekly causes problems. However, there is not a single assignment I would have wanted her to leave out. I appreciated that every assignment was of value, there was no wasted time.

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  • 2 months later...

Do they administer the exams online? No AP testing schools in our neck of the woods. :/

 

AP exams are not offered online. You have to take them at a high school. But I know some on these forums have had to travel hours away to find a school where they could take the exam. Maybe your nearest city has schools that offer the exams?

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AP exams are not offered online. You have to take them at a high school. But I know some on these forums have had to travel hours away to find a school where they could take the exam. Maybe your nearest city has schools that offer the exams?

Thank you. Yes, there are some AP testing sites three hours from here.

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Thank you. Yes, there are some AP testing sites three hours from here.

 

That is a long way. Have you searched the College Board's AP ledger?

 

Sometimes a school that offers AP exams but doesn't offer the one you want, will still proctor for you. Also, the fact that they offer it, doesn't guarantee they will let a homeschool in. You have to contact each individual school to find out if you can test. I even found that in one large nearby district four high schools told me no and one said yes, so don't make assumptions based on district either. Finding a testing center is a mess. The college board doesn't help at all. I contacted them for their list and they gave me one district over an hour away that said no. This is a sad fact of APs. If your local district doesn't offer them or won't let you participate, then you will have a job on your hands, but it can be done!

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  • 1 month later...

 

Ds has now taken four PAH classes and there hasn't been a miss in the bunch. He will be taking both government classes next year from Ms. Reed. My goal has been for him to take Susan Richman's US History class after reading all of the rave reviews on the board, but we are leery of having too much going on senior year after the overload of this year and will have to give that up.

 

 

Is your son taking classes with Ms. Reed? If so, I would love to hear how they are going. We are considering her classes for next year.

 

I'm still in the early research phase....would you mind sharing the differences you heard between her classes and Susan Richman's? 

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Is your son taking classes with Ms. Reed? If so, I would love to hear how they are going. We are considering her classes for next year.

 

I'm still in the early research phase....would you mind sharing the differences you heard between her classes and Susan Richman's? 

 

I'm interested in hearing about both, as well!

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This past year: AP Calculus AB, AP Chem, AP Bio, AP Latin

 

Next year in addition - AP Government, AP Stats and AP Environmental Science

 

 

You are right. We don't offer as many as we would like. We will be adding each year. Which ones would you like to most see?

 

 

AP Human Geo, AP Physics and AP Calc (both of the offered tests- i believe there are two?)

 

DS wants to take AP human geo in 9th but not sure where he should take the course at this point. If WH were to offer it, we probably would take it there.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Because I have heard such good things about Maya Inspektor I signed my ds up with her for AP English Lit as soon as registration opened.  I am sure it would be wonderful!

 

AP Chem (Mr. Moskaluk): ExCELLENT

 

AP Comp Sci (Cynthia Lang): GOOD (it was an organized class.  Ds had taken programming previously and he just liked his other class better)

 

AP Physics B, AP Physics C (both classes), and AP Calc AB (all taught by Jeff Lanctot):  EXCELLENT (ds has enjoyed all of these classes.  Mr. Lanctot even called me over the summer when I had questions about the AP Physics C class.  The work load has seemed very reasonable)

 

Ds is taking AP English Lit, AP Biology, and AP Calc BC next year.  PA Homeschoolers has been a life saver for us!   

 

After taking AP courses do the kids write AP Subjects exam also? If a child get stuck in any course ,is there any teacher support/office hour in PA Homeschoolers?

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We're loving AP Composition with Mrs. I, but this is my writing-loving kid. She's thrilled, and so am I. She's thinking of an English major with a focus on technical writing.

 

My older one was more of a foreign languages kid and wouldn't have liked it at all.

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After taking AP courses do the kids write AP Subjects exam also? If a child get stuck in any course ,is there any teacher support/office hour in PA Homeschoolers?

 

I'm guessing you might have meant SAT subject tests.  Some AP exams do not have equivalent subject test -- for example, my daughter took AP Statistics through PA Homeschoolers; however, there is no SAT subject test in Statistics.

 

My daughter took AP US HIstory (not through PA Homeschoolers) and took the SAT subject test a month later.  She also took AP Latin (not through PA Homeschoolers) and subsequently took the SAT subject test.

 

As I recall, my daughter's AP Statistics instructor was available to answer her questions throughout the course. 

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Can I share a funny story about Mr. Moskaluk from AP Chemistry?  When you join the class the student is asked to submit a photo to be her avatar.  Since we err on the side of privacy, my dd submitted an old photo of one of our foster kittens as her avatar.  Later she realized most students were posting actual photos of themselves, so she switched to her photo.  

 

Later she takes a test.  Mr. M returns it to her with the photo of her foster kitten at the top of the test paper and writes: "Purr-fect!"  

 

You could have knocked me over with a feather.  I mean, to take the extra bit of time to do that, particularly when an online class can seem so impersonal and the teacher so distant, it really humanizes everything.  We love Mr. M.  

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Can I share a funny story about Mr. Moskaluk from AP Chemistry?  When you join the class the student is asked to submit a photo to be her avatar.  Since we err on the side of privacy, my dd submitted an old photo of one of our foster kittens as her avatar.  Later she realized most students were posting actual photos of themselves, so she switched to her photo.  

 

Later she takes a test.  Mr. M returns it to her with the photo of her foster kitten at the top of the test paper and writes: "Purr-fect!"  

 

You could have knocked me over with a feather.  I mean, to take the extra bit of time to do that, particularly when an online class can seem so impersonal and the teacher so distant, it really humanizes everything.  We love Mr. M.  

 

My DS used a picture of himself holding his little brother (who was about 18 months old at the time), Mr. M sent him a picture back of himself with his grandson.  Yes, he was great about making it personal even though it was a huge class with out face to face interaction.

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I'm guessing you might have meant SAT subject tests. Some AP exams do not have equivalent subject test -- for example, my daughter took AP Statistics through PA Homeschoolers; however, there is no SAT subject test in Statistics.

 

My daughter took AP US HIstory (not through PA Homeschoolers) and took the SAT subject test a month later. She also took AP Latin (not through PA Homeschoolers) and subsequently took the SAT subject test.

 

As I recall, my daughter's AP Statistics instructor was available to answer her questions throughout the course.

 

Regards,

Kareni

Thanks.What about AP exam for AP Chemistry,AP Calculus and AP Physics?

Isn't AP exam more challenging than SAT subject test?

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Thanks.What about AP exam for AP Chemistry,AP Calculus and AP Physics?

Isn't AP exam more challenging than SAT subject test?

 

My daughter didn't take any of those particular AP classes or exams.  My understanding is that AP exams cover college level content while SAT subject tests cover high school level content, so in theory AP exams are more challenging.  That said, the specific material covered in each test might differ.  It would be wise to do some preparation for each test.  I've heard, for example, that the SAT subject test in Chemistry uses a challenging format in some of its questions.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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So AP courses will prepare students very well for SAT subject tests?

I am only familiar with the Chemistry and Physics SAT II's. For these exams, there is some overlap with the AP's, but your child should review an SAT subject test prior to sitting for the exam. There is some memorization required for the Chemistry SAT II that is not required for the AP exam. There is also a section of weirdly formatted questions on the Chemistry SAT II that you should be familiar with prior to taking the exam.
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I am only familiar with the Chemistry and Physics SAT II's. For these exams, there is some overlap with the AP's, but your child should review an SAT subject test prior to sitting for the exam. There is some memorization required for the Chemistry SAT II that is not required for the AP exam. There is also a section of weirdly formatted questions on the Chemistry SAT II that you should be familiar with prior to taking the exam.

 

Snowbeltmom:  My dd is a freshman and taking AP Chem.  The SAT II is just the day after the AP exam, and she'll need a couple of SAT II's for the colleges that interest her.  Does it make sense for her to take the SAT II right away?  (Reading this, I'm thinking obviously it would make sense, but I am wondering if I'm missing something.)  

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Snowbeltmom:  My dd is a freshman and taking AP Chem.  The SAT II is just the day after the AP exam, and she'll need a couple of SAT II's for the colleges that interest her.  Does it make sense for her to take the SAT II right away?  (Reading this, I'm thinking obviously it would make sense, but I am wondering if I'm missing something.)

This is what my oldest did as well. Sparknotes has a good summary online of the topics covered on the Chemistry SAT II. If I remember correctly, there were some questions on the SAT II that dealt with identifying an element based on the color of the flame test that I don't think was tested on the AP exam.

ETA: I see from your signature that your D is taking AP Chemistry with PAHS. If your D lets Mr. M. know that she plans on taking the SAT II exam, he can provide her with practice questions for the SAT II in addition to the AP exam.

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ETA: I see from your signature that your D is taking AP Chemistry with PAHS. If your D lets Mr. M. know that she plans on taking the SAT II exam, he can provide her with practice questions for the SAT II in addition to the AP exam.

 

Thank you!!  It never would have occurred to us to ask.  We'll do just that.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

After reading about AP Chem and Mr. Moskaluk, I wish I had known about this class last Spring.  It sounds like a much better fit for my daughter than AP Biology is right now.  I'll have to remember this class for my son in a few years.  Thanks for all of the reviews...they are very helpful.

 

Pauline

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  • 6 months later...

Bumping.  Hope anyone who took the AP Environmental Science exam this Monday did well and is now getting to relax.

 

Would anyone care to share details of Molly Olsson's AP Environmental Science class? What kind of assignments are given? Are there lots of videos students are required to watch, or is it book based? What kind of teacher interaction is there?

Thanks!

 

 

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