# 3 Review Tests = 1 AP Exam: An AP Exam Prep Strategy

Jeff Eicher teaches AP Stats and Math III at Classical Academy HS in Escondido, CA. He is an AP reader and has served on the Instructional Design Team, reviewing and editing the questions that would later appear as Personal Progress Checks on AP Classroom. He also serves as a NMSI Coach and Content Developer.

After teaching AP Statistics for 10 years, I feel like I’ve reviewed for the AP exam in 10 different ways. Here are a few of my phases:

**The “Let the Students Figure It Out” Phase**

In the first years of teaching AP Statistics, I was just glad to finish the content without doing too much damage to my students’ statistical souls. I hoped I didn’t skip too many of the difficult topics, such as “blocking” (whatever that is), stratified and cluster sampling, sampling distributions, interpreting P-values, anything about power, and inference for the slope (what do you mean the slope can vary from sample to sample?!)

How did I review then? Give students gobs and gobs of released FRQs and expect that they’ll pore over the scoring guidelines and figure out the nuances of how to earn a partial. I sat at my desk, poring over the FRQs myself, hoping students wouldn't ask something I didn’t know (which means much of the content!)

Like a savvy teacher, I assigned student pairs one of the chapters in the textbook, and had *them* review it with the whole class, while I sat and watched from the safety of my desk.

**The “I Should Probably Assess Them – on Everything, All at Once” Phase**

After a few years of teaching statistics and gaining more confidence with the material, I decided I would give several mock exams, testing students on everything, all at once. The AP exam was going to do that, right? Some years I’d fit in three mock exams over 5 weeks. We barely had time to review the completed mock exam before we jumped into the next one.

This phase could also be called over-test-them-so-they’re-exhausted-and-fed-up-with-full-exams-by-the-time-the-real-exam-arrives.

**The “3 Review Tests = 1 AP Exam” Model**

About two years ago, I realized I’d get better results if I actually tested the students each week on smaller amounts of content. The AP Calculus teacher next door had done this for many years, so I figured I’d give it a whirl. This model takes three weeks. On the last day of each of the three weeks, the students take a Review Test. Combining these three Review Tests makes 1 full AP Exam (40 MC and 6 FRQ).

Here’s the basic idea, on my school’s 4-day schedule:

**Week 1: Exploratory Data Analysis, Regression, Study Design **

**CED Units 1-3**

**Days 1&2**: Reteach and emphasize the most important topics in these units, using 2 released FRQs each day as practice (including an investigative task).

· __2014 #6 fuel consumption rate (FCR)__

**Day 3:** Do MCQ practice on these units using questions from a secure exam.

**Day 4:** Give a test ~13 MC and 2 FRQs, trying to scale the time to fit the class period

**Week 2: Probability, Random Variables, Sampling Distributions **

**CED Units 4-6**

**Days 1&2**: Reteach and emphasize the most important topics in these units, using 1-2 released FRQs each day as practice.

I like the following (but beware of 2015 #6 and 2013 #3, there are tricky parts in those!)

**Day 3:** Do MCQ practice on these units using questions from a secure exam.

**Day 4:** Test on ~13 MC & 2 FRQs

**Week 3: Confidence Intervals and Significance Tests **

**CED Units 7-9**

**Day 1:** We review the various intervals and tests with “Which Procedure?” on __Larry Green’s website____.__

**Day 2:** Reteach and emphasize the most important topics in these units, using 1-2 released FRQs each day as practice:

**Day 3:** Do MCQ practice on these units using questions from a secure exam.

**Day 4:** Test on ~13 MC & 2 FRQs

**Week 4: Day 1**

Take a day to revisit all three tests, give the students a scoring sheet, and have them calculate their composite (raw) score, and then convert it to an AP exam score 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (see handout at the bottom of this blog post). These are great opportunities to encourage students that it’s within their reach to score at least one level up: “Pick out 2-3 MC that you can get right next time, pick 2-3 parts out of the total 6 FRQs you did that you can increase from an I to a P or a P to an E.” Use a test corrections page (see handout at the bottom of this blog post) to organize their work and as a study tool for reviewing for the real AP exam.

**Other helpful notes**

Consider using the 2012 released MC and FRQs because (a) you can let students take them home, and (b) they form a full exam with cut points provided. Don’t let students take them home until after you’ve scored them in week 4.

As I grade their tests, I like to write the number of MC correct and their FRQ scores at the top of the first page to make it easier for students to find when they tally their results on Week 4, Day 1.

Grade the FRQs as strictly as possible. If the students gets a 2.5, round

*down*(except a 0.5, I’d round up to encourage the poor kid that they got*something*, known affectionately as “a glimmer”).To practice with taking the timed AP exam, take the # MC * 2.5 + # FRQs * 12, so, for example, a test with 13 MC and 2 FRQs, you’ll need a 13*2.5+2*12 = 56.5 minutes in a class period.

If possible, it’s nice to finish your third exam (on CIs and STs) the Friday before the first week of AP testing.

I find this new model, *3 Review Tests = 1 AP Exam*, keeps students engaged in learning and reviewing, gives them valuable feedback on their progress, and puts passing the AP exam within their reach.