How to Prepare for your First AP Course

 
Advanced Placement Courses are hard for high school students. Are AP Courses the right fit for your teenager? Guest blogger, Louisa Porzel, writes about how to prepare for an AP Course.  #highschool #study  Marni Pasch Team Pasch Academic Coaching www.teampasch.com
 

Guest Article By Louisa Porzel

On occasion, I host guest writers to educate on particular topics. Louisa is a certified teacher with extensive history in AP Classes.

I (Louisa Porzel) taught AP U.S. Government & Politics for years. On the first day of school, I could usually tell who was taking the class for funsies (they were the ones discussing the latest political scandal with me), who had signed up because they wanted a sweet transcript for college, and who had no idea what they were in for.

It was usually that last group that ended up having the hardest time in the course. They didn’t expect the workload, the difficulty of the textbook, or the rigor of the curriculum. Some students had to make some major changes to be successful in the course. Others simply dropped the course altogether.

If you or your teen are considering signing up for an AP class next year, I’ve got some tips to make sure you know what you’re signing up for and so you can be successful in the course.

It was usually that last group that ended up having the hardest time in the course. They didn’t expect the workload, the difficulty of the textbook, or the rigor of the curriculum. Some students had to make some major changes to be successful in the course. Others simply dropped the course altogether.

If you or your teen are considering signing up for an AP class next year, I’ve got some tips to make sure you know what you’re signing up for and so you can be successful in the course.



Tips for Thriving in AP Courses 

What are your Interests?

AP courses are a jump in workload and rigor. If you’re going to be working that hard, at least do it in a subject that you enjoy. If you love science, sign up for a science AP class. As you get used to the demands, you can branch out into harder or less interesting subjects.

 

 
 

Speak to your Current Teacher

Your current teacher knows 2 things probably pretty well - the AP courses in his or her subject area and you. While talking to the current AP teacher is useful, she doesn’t know you - how you learn, your level of self-motivation, that you get antsy from sitting too long and need to “get a drink” of water every 20 minutes.

Your teacher can help you pinpoint some things that might be challenging for you in an AP course and give you suggestions for what to work on.


Speak with Current Students in Advanced Placement Courses

 
Should all students take Advanced Placement classes? Learn how to choose an AP Course in this week’s guest blog post by Louisa Porzel.  #highschool #APclasses  Marni Pasch Academic Coach Team Pasch Academic Coaching www.teampasch.com
 

The teacher may have one understanding of the course, but current students may have another. What is the workload? How well-prepared do they feel for the AP exam? Would they sign up for the class again?

Be sure to talk to a variety of current student, not just the 2 kids on your soccer team. You’ll get surprisingly different answers from different students. You want to look for any similarities among their descriptions of the course - those are more likely to be accurate.

Take an AP Boot Camp

If your school offers a summer boot camp or course to prepare for AP, TAKE IT! These programs often cover such important skills as scheduling, taking notes, reading college-level textbooks, etc. And they are usually taught by teachers in the school. It’s a chance to meet your future AP teachers and learn what skills they want you to master.

 

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Prepare for tests with less stress and more success!

 

Complete your Summer Assignment

PLEASE, please, please complete any summer assignments that are given. Summer assignments are your first grade of the school year and how you introduce yourself to your new teacher. Don’t mess the school year up at the very beginning!

Teachers usually hand out summer assignments in the spring and will provide contact information for over the summer. However, it’s easiest to ask questions when you and the teacher are in the same building, so read over the assignment and ask any clarifying questions before school ends.

At the beginning of the summer, make a quick plan to finish the summer assignment before the last second. Break down the assignment into smaller steps and create your own deadlines to complete them. Then be sure to post that plan someplace you will see it on a regular basis!

Prep over the Summer

Remember when I had you ask the AP teacher and your current teacher about what skills to work on? It’s time to do that. Summer vacation is the ideal time to dust off those skills and get ready for next year.

If you’re taking an AP course in which you’re not familiar with the content (say, AP World History), do some reading over the summer. Grab a book or textbook meant for a lower grade level (middle school usually works well) to give you a firm background in the topic. This will make the actual course content easier for you when school starts.

Practice using a Planner

AP classes usually assign more work outside of class - reading, writing, and studying. You will need to take control of your schedule. If you don’t already use a planner, it’s time to start. The one the school gives you is fine, but there are many more options.

I hope my suggestions help you prepare for your AP course! While I can’t guarantee that you will sail through the course, you will be more prepared for the class and more likely to succeed!

Louisa Porzel

This post contains affiliate links - If you feel inclined to purchase from the provided links, a small portion will be provided to the running of this blog.


Louisa Porzel LPtutoring.com

Meet the Guest Blogger

Louisa Porzel is a certified teacher and private tutor who helps teens improve their study skills and grades. Before starting a tutoring business, Louisa taught Social Studies and Study Skills for 15 years. Louisa now coaches teens on how to get organized, improve their study skills, and prep for high-stakes exams.
Louisa is available for online tutoring and consultations. You can read her blog at lptutoring.com or contact her at louisa@lptutoring.com.


 
 



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