Thursday, March 12, 2015

How do you review for the AP Psych exam?

The AP Psych exam is on May 4th (first day of testing - whew!) and we'd love to hear your best ideas about how to help students review before the exam. Here's a list of previous blog posts that might be useful:
  • The AP Central Website is a goldmine for information about previous exam questions (multiple choice and FRQs) as well as scoring guides, etc. Here's a post filled with links to AP Central: "AP Psychology Free Response Questions-Updated to 2014"
  • Many teachers use previously released exams for review, and one useful technique is to analyze the previous exams and make a "table of specifications" that shows items organized by chapter. Students can use these tables to figure out areas of strength/weakness, and modify their studying plans accordingly. "2014 AP exam Breakdown"
  • Many teachers are wondering about how changes to the DSM (current edition = DSM5) might impact the test. Pat Santoro posted an explanation on AP Central: "Brief Update about the DSM5 Changes"
  • The Twitter discussion "#psychat" continues to be a great resource for all kinds of useful teaching ideas, including review ideas: "#Psychat Archive for Review Ideas and Activities"
  • Chuck authored this "megapost" of AP review reources last year and it still looks up to date (and great!) "AP Review Resources"
We'd love to hear about how you help students review materials. On a personal note, I'd love to hear your wisdom about using flashcards (full disclosure: I'd like to help the Barron's company improve the AP Psych flashcard product!)

posted by Rob McEntarffer


Taterthegator said...

We do traditional methods but we do 3 things that kids seem to like.

1. Hot Seat. In class, we put a student in a "Hot Seat" that's back is to the board. We put five words/concepts/or names on the board and the class goes around in order giving clues as to what words are on the board. The kids love it because they get an idea of how well they know the material and how concise their notes are.

2. We like to meet during the evening the week before the exam to review during a pizza party. This helps spring athletes a lot!

3. On the Sunday before the exam, we book a room at our local college and have a long review. The kids get great info, answers to last minute questions and get on a college campus in an academic setting.

Michael Corayer said...

I have two activities for review that students seem to enjoy more than just repetition or doing practice questions.

1. Since the weather starts warming up around this time I take my class outside and we basically go for walking tours around the campus. The kids get moving and get some fresh air (sort of, I'm in Shanghai...) and I'm a bit of a nerd for mnemonic techniques so we review terms and concepts for different chapters in different locations on the campus, which should help them to organize their thoughts and later they can mentally walk through the campus to remember what we reviewed.

2. Another thing I do is just hand out a bunch of board markers then give a general topic like sensation and perception. The students go to the board and write or draw something they remember from the chapter. In a few minutes the board is filled with eye diagrams, Weber's Law, key terms, etc. Then as a class we go over everything they came up with, correcting any inaccuracies and adding related terms along the way. It's a bit more interactive and an easy way to get some of the quieter students more involved in the review since they usually hesitate to ask questions or yell out answers.

For flashcards I encourage my students to make their own online decks using Anki, which they can then share with each other, allowing them to divide up the work of creating the cards.

Rob McEntarffer said...

Thanks for the great ideas, Taterthegator and Michael! If either of you would ever like to do a "guest post" on one or more of these ideas (or anything else) let me know? I especially like the Hot Seat and the white board activity - really efficient and engaging ways to get students "deep processing" about content. Cool stuff - thanks!

Sarah Koves said...

I start reviewing after midterm exams by adding a review to each new unit we do second semester. For example, we just finished personality and had a Unit 3 review with it. I save the chapter reviews in the book to do during second semester as a review.

I also use their third MP test (a released exam) to review. They have to analyze each question (20 at a time).

My students like making flashcards as one of the options I give them to show they looked at vocabulary. I have those Barrons ones, but don't know how to improve them...add some blank ones for us to add words we choose?

Kovescence of the Mind

Scott Reed said...

As far as flashcards, the Barron's cards should be for reteaching or review. So this is a good thing as the students can use the cards to go back and see what they can remember. I like them better than a book that I think can be overwhelming.

I think flashcards on most tests are not effective. The students often just use the textbook definitions which they really do not fully understand. I think some students do this instead of reading the book to get a true understanding of concepts.