With a week to go, Advanced Placement highschoolers set their sights high

The College Board’s Advanced Placement exams give students the opportunity to demonstrate, through their commitment to academics and their mastery of the course material, that they’ve achieved readiness to do university-level work. In the lives of our public school students, it can mean that this is a time of the year when a huge amount of effort is expended. Indeed, from Hawaii to the East Coast every spring, high school kids study and coach themselves mentally in the hopes that the AP Exams they take (which cover Human Geography, Microeconomics, United States History, and more) will earn passing scores that are almost required to be a strong candidate for institutions like the University of California, San Diego and Claremont McKenna College. And in June, hundreds of teachers join college academics to grade AP Exams and determine whether students really know their test subjects on the next level.

Classes like this one, led by English teacher Daniela Kim, are counting down days until testing separates the excellent from the pack.

The first AP Exams for 2012 are less than a week away, and our most college-focused students know it. We wouldn’t even be surprised if we didn’t see some of them around (they might be studying in seclusion). But there’s another AP matter on our minds, too: 826LA’s tutors are devoted to the needs of local schools, and that means helping make AP season a success.

Over the next week, we’ll be bringing in field trip classes from Ánimo Venice Charter High School and directing tutors to be there for all the things that students need in the eleventh hour of the AP year: asking review questions, strategizing for document-based questions, even figuring out a healthy breakfast for the morning of the test. We start Monday morning, when AVCHS’ mega-knowledgeable master of all things Art History, John Kannofsky, bring his AP Art History classroom to 826LA in Venice for five hours of cramming and discussion in the adjacent SPARC Gallery. We’ll cover everything from different column styles in the days of Antiquity to Bruegel the Elder to the foundations of Modernism.

Later in the week, Daniela Kim‘s AP English Language students will hurry over on a walking field trip to 826LA in order to get one last round of tutor feedback on their writing. When he or she sits down to take the AP English Language Exam, each student will have to postulate a thesis and form a convincing, well-organized argument about a totally unfamiliar topic. We think, though, that they’ll be ready to do just that … with the help of our volunteers.


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