With the AP Spanish Exam quickly approaching, teachers may be wondering what they can do to help their students prepare. Here are the things that have worked for my students! Feel free to email me at contactspecialtyspanish.com if you have any other questions about Test Prep!
Run a Practice AP Spanish Exam
If your school allows you the luxury, run a practice test! One of the big challenges of this exam is preparing students to complete the sections in the amount of time they are given. Even if you school cannot give you 4 hours to do a practice test, it is worth the class time to give students as many tasks as you can and time them using the real time limit. (I say this because when we are learning how to complete these parts during the course of the year, I often give my students more time than the real exam allows.)
Run a Review Session
In the spring, our high school always administers some kind of standardized test. This year it was the SAT. Teachers are assigned to proctor the exam, but the AP teachers are asked if we would like to hold an AP Exam Review Session. Can your school do that too?
During the exam review session, you have a good block of time, usually 3-4 hours, where you can work on one or more sections of the AP Spanish Exam with your students. You can choose to do a whole practice exam, or you can choose to focus in on sections with which your students are struggling this particular year.
Other options would be to hold an exam review session during a vacation day or on a weekend. Your district should compensate you for your time, of course.
If you have been teaching AP Spanish a while, you may have noticed that one of the biggest differences between teaching this course and the Spanish Year 1-4 courses is the amount of planning that goes into it! Over the years, I have learned that the best thing I can do for my students is plan ahead and find ways to work in AP Exam-style questions and tasks during the course of the whole year. Trying to teach students strategies for doing all the sections in a short amount of time isn’t nearly as effective.
It’s hard work, but planning out a whole unit leads to deeper learning, well connected sources and activities and better preparation for the AP Exam. This is how I see it. You either spend a big chunk of time planning an entire unit, or you spend smaller chunks of time (but usually MORE time overall) trying to survive week to week or day to day.
Teacher friends and colleagues- I was there. For a LONG time. And now I’m not…. and if you’re new, or stuck in survival mode, I see no shame in purchasing lesson plans. If I had known such a thing existed, I would have purchased some long ago!! I don’t want you to think that this is a shameless plug to purchase my resources, because I now have them available. But wow. The amount of time, blood, sweat and yes, TEARS that I shed over the years trying to do a good job with this course was worth FAR MORE than the price of buying unit plans! And now many schools will allow you to spend school budget money on TpT resources and/or have School Access through TpT!
Do ONLY Review The Week Before The Exam
My last piece of advice is to block out the week before the exam for Review Only. Drill the multiple choice sections. The more experience they have with the AP Spanish Exam, the easier it will be for them to detect patterns in question types, to get a sense of how much time they have, etc.
Assign the open-ended tasks. Students can do 4 Simulated Conversations or 4 Cultural Comparisons in one class! They can read/listen to the sources for an Argumentative Essay and develop an intro paragraph twice in one class period! They can do 2 email replies in one class period!
Next week’s blog will focus on exactly what I do the week before the exam, so stay tuned!