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AP World Exam May 15, 2014

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AP Parent Page

This page is meant as a place for parents of AP World History students to hear about AP WH from the voices you trust most - other parents.
Below are comments (grouped by topic, as much as possible) from former AP World History parents. 
The letters do not have signatures but instead can be identified by the letter number. At the very bottom are all of the letters (unedited, including mis-spelling my name) that can be viewed in Microsoft Word form.  You can read the letters in full, based on the letter numbers.  (Note: these letters were written at the end of the school year.) Also, those letters without numbers refer to letters from 2011, while letters from later years include the letter number AND the year.)
 

AP classes are college classes!

In conclusion, your son or daughter is taking a very difficult course which will provide them with key study strategies to facilitate success at the University level.  Despite its challenges, this course promotes decision making and critical thinking and will make your child’s college experience better.  (Parent letter 21 2013)

 

The college experiences that AP World History will expose to your student are those required to be successful in a typical college classroom.  AP World History is run in cooperation with local universities and can serve as college credits for your student’s upcoming college program.  This is exciting in itself.  But, your student will also experience the need for the study skills required to be successful in a real college course.  Practicing these skills, prior to actually participating on-campus, will prove to be a valuable confidence-building exercise.  Then, at the conclusion of the course, your student will have the opportunity to take his/her first college-style final exam.  During this test, your student will be exposed to the type of test (ie. format and content) that he/she can expect to see on campus.  Upon successful completion of this optional final exam, your student will have successfully earned his first college credits.  This is big; your student is now on his/her way to achieving that all-important college education. (Parent letter 19 2013)

 

Your child will need to be focused and driven to succeed in this class, there is approximately 1-2 hours of reading every night for homework which in my opinion is the minimum amount of time. In the classroom they have questions that

pertain to the reading from the night before as well as lectures and quizzes that will be given through out the year. I feel this is a good class so the student can prepare the future and what advance classes can offer them. Provided they score high on their AP exams, this is also a great way to earn college credit. (Parent letter 17 2013)

 

Do not get discouraged (and do not let your child get discouraged). As I stated, it is a tough class. You and your child need to remember that this is a college level course and just being in the class as a sophomore is pretty amazing. The class is graded on a weighted scale so it will not affect their overall GPA that much.  (Parent letter 2 2013)

 

Your child will need to take the initiative to seek out help ~ either from the teacher or other students.  Study groups work well for reviewing the materials learned but keep in mind that study groups are meant to be used only for preparing for quizzes and tests not for working together on worksheets/homework.  (Parent letter 8 2013)

 

I now have finished the second round of a student in AP World.  My girls are totally different students and it was very interesting to see how they changed their study habits as the class progressed.  This class has been valuable beyond what I can express for both girls as they head toward college.  One child who was a straight A student and thought it would be fairly easy and she came to realize college courses are more involved and required a lot more than she was used to plus it was wonderful to see her challenged and the other girl who was never big into study until the night before an exam now realizes what is really required to better prepare for exam day which gives her better study skills for the future. (Parent letter 4 – 2012)

 

You can expect that your child will need to prepare/study for this class more than for other classes, and in doing so they will be developing their study and writing skills as well as their time management and organizational skills.  It will be helpful if you encourage your student to devote the needed time to their course work, and create an environment that makes it easy for them to do so.(Parent letter 2 – 2012)

 

Not only has this class helped my child get ready for college, it has also influenced her to step out, have more self-confidence and achieve steps to further my child’s goals. Next year my child is taking two AP classes because of the love of challenging her brain and wanting a head start in college. (Parent letter 5 – 2012)

 

The most important thing to remember is that when your child struggles in the class then you need to understand that it is a college level class and continue to encourage them.  Also, make sure that they can focus on their studies in AP world by taking away distractions. (Parent letter 20)

 

This point comes from me, not just as a parent but also as a college instructor.  At the college level, we are seeing more and more students not prepared for college.  Please teach your child to accept personal responsibility for the class.  The grade your child receives in this class is the grade they earned, not the grade given to them.  This is a very important distinction.  Help them learn time management and organizational skills.    Teach them to use a planner.  If they make a mistake and perform poorly on an exam or other assignment, don’t fix it for them and don’t let them blame somebody else for their poor performance.  You can give them hints on how to fix it and what to do going forward but make them discuss with the teacher what should be done. (Parent letter 16)

 

I am glad my son took AP world.  He got the college experience and I think he learned more by falling and having to pick himself up.  He didn’t quit and stuck with it.  Now will he get a 3 on the test?  I don't know.  He did get his grade up to a C. At the end he did realize the tools were there for him to succeed he just didn’t use them and I am hoping he will not make that mistake again.  I think it was good to learn this lesson in High School instead of away from home at a college campus where there is so much more to distract you. (Parent letter 9)

 

Ok, so they can read but my son needed to learn that reading for content, detail, concepts and chronology is quite different from reading your favorite Harry Potter novel.   I hope he’s learned that you have to study where it’s quiet and where there’s no cell phone and there’s no laptop to be Face-booking or You-tubing on.  The importance of how to study and how much to study will become apparent.  It’s better that your student realizes this now well before their freshman year of college. (Parent letter 7)

 

How can a parent help their student?

You will see a difference in your child this year. And so will he. He will be ready for college. He will be ready for anything. Respect him for taking this class. It’s hard. It’s also very rewarding. And most of all, don’t ever forget to tell him how proud you are of him. (Parent letter 20 2013)

It is amazing at how many things a student can be involved in outside of school these days as well as the constant social distractions that is now part of their culture. If things aren’t going well early, you may need to monitor your student a little more closely until they are back on track or ask for them to get extra help after school. (Parent letter 24 2013)

 

Most important, if your student tells you he/she does not have homework that night --DON’T BELIEVE THEM. The truth can be found on the Parent Portal and on the AP link from Mr. Clarke that will be emailed to you. There are readings, online assignments, essays, and so forth. And even on vacations, students should be reviewing an hour a day to keep facts fresh in their minds. (Parent letter 16 2013)
 
I would advise you to communicate and check in with your kid early on and often.  Mr. Clarke was always there for her if she went in for extra help or questions.  He was also there for me when I needed some direction.  He welcomes and even answers his e-mails. (Parent letter 15 2013)
 
Try to create a nice after school study area, plenty of fluids, a snack so the child isn’t hungry but not too much to cause the child to get tired with no TV for fewer distractions, music could be helpful depending on the music and child. Encourage group study get togethers. (Parent letter 7 2013)
 
I am a seasoned parent of two AP World students. One who did extremely well and one who did okay. Both are above average students, so their achievements in AP World were entirely based on their individual personalities. . . . Reviewing was critical for the child who did extremely well. They found that going back on a regular basis to review was a key to their success. Looking at prior tests in the Learning Center also seemed to be critical to their improvement.
(Parent letter 6 2013)
 
Try to create a nice after school study area, plenty of fluids, a snack so the child isn’t hungry but not too much to cause the child to get tired with no TV for fewer distractions, music could be helpful depending on the music and child. Encourage group study get togethers. (Parent letter 7 2013)
 

The most important part of all of this is not to give up or let your student give up.   The challenge will make them a better person and student and prepare them for future AP classes and college.

(Parent letter 1 2013)

 

AP classes are about more than just college credit. They also encourage study habits that will stick for a lifetime! No one promises that this will be easy for either you or your child, but it is worth it in the long run! (Parent letter 3, 2013)

 

I helped her study for some of her tests, so I learned some history facts as well. I think encouraging your student to get extra help if needed, to form or join a study group, and to keep up with the work would benefit anyone in AP World. Prioritizing what should be done and when also helps, especially if your child is in sports, or extra-curricular activities like my daughter is. (Parent letter 10 – 2012)

 

If possible, have your child join or organize a study group.  My son didn’t and I think he suffered on the test because of it.  My daughter did, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed!   I suggest doing this sooner rather than later in the year.  (Also, talking among their peers may help with their class participation).  If not, YOU may have to be their study buddy which is fine if you love history and have time to spare. (Parent letter 1 – 2012)

 

Of course, keeping an eye on Infinite Campus to make sure he wasn’t getting into a hole with no way to dig out. One of the most important things I’ve come to observe is the understanding about timeliness. The worst thing to do is get into the habit of turning things in late. It really affects the points a student earns and immediately affects their grade. Not only in this class, but all their other classes as well. (Parent letter 11 – 2012)

 

Encourage your student to seek out learning opportunities within the class and challenge themselves in ways that they haven't in the past. If your student works hard and puts forth their best efforts, they will gain a sense of pride in their accomplishments. They may even find that they really enjoy it as our student did! (Parent letter 6 – 2012)

 

I believe that the most important thing you can do as a parent is to encourage independence in your teens, therefore, you should resist the temptation to “bale” your child out if they are struggling in this or any class. Talk to them about taking responsibility and initiative by watching their own grades on Infinite Campus, managing their time, and choosing when/where to study or do papers. I always encourage my sons to go to the teacher first if they have questions about assignments or material. I think that parents need to foster independent learning and AP World is an excellent time for the apron strings to be cut. (Parent letter 7 – 2012)

 

As in all things in life, a good attitude plays a large role in the success of your child.  Sometimes you will find that you are going to have to become a cheerleader to your child.  This applies to even the most self-motivated child. (Parent letter 13)

 

Lastly, let your child advocate for themselves as it improves their communication skills and helps prepare them for college and life situations.   Self-Advocating does your son or daughter good and helps them to breakdown those nervous feelings . . . (Parent letter 2)

 

I think my biggest piece of advice I can give to parents new to an AP class is that you have to make sure your child understands that they can’t slip behind in their work especially in this class.  There is a lot of reading and it is really difficult to catch up once you fall behind.  There may be some late nights so make sure they are getting enough sleep and eating healthy. (Parent letter 6)

 

If your child is a straight A student, don't expect him or her to get an A in this class, at least not right away. My straight “A” student has earned a "B" all year, and we are very, very proud of her. Expect your student to work very hard, perhaps every weekday evening, to succeed in this class. Ask him or her often about how the class is going and stay informed. (Parent letter 11)

 

I have just finished the experience of sending my second child through the AP world history course and all I can say is I'm a little sad that it's over!!!   I have never had either of my 2 kids come home so eager to talk about the topic of the day. (Parent letter 14)

 

Even good students may struggle at times:

I encourage you and your child to stick with the course even when it appears to get a bit challenging and frustrating; because the benefits outweigh the obstacles. Help is always available so don't be afraid to ask. (Parent letter 22 2013)

The kids were to expect to spend at least an hour each night on AP to keep up with the class. I would have to say that this is a pretty accurate expectation. I do not believe that the reading is any more difficult than other subjects. The difficulty, at least for my student, was to keep up with that hour per evening of reading and work. (Parent letter 23 2013)

Mr. Clarke’s AP World class was full of surprises for my daughter. She, I think for the first time, showed an interest in History. Perhaps it was because of the many long hours she spent studying for her AP tests, quizzes, essays and of course the dreaded AP exam. I could see how much time and energy she spent on this class when, after I told her what time it was 10:54, she shared with me what took place in History in the year 1054. (Parent letter 18 2013)

 

I am not trying to make you feel scared or to stress you out, but this class is very time consuming and hard, but well worth it. Your child will be frustrated and a little hesitate regarding the amount of work and homework given in this class at the beginning of school. It was a shock to my child. Your child may feel overwhelmed , but please encourage them to hang in there and to spend as much time as needed doing the notes the correct way and studying for their quizzes and to participate in class. I would also recommend your child do note cards per unit so when it comes time to study as this class is cumulative, they will have these note cards already. Another good recommendation is to visit the website and to get a study buddy as this will reassure them that they are not the only one struggling or feeling overwhelmed. This class is WELL worth the amount of work your child will put into it. The teacher does a great job of communication with the parents and is willing to help the students when necessary. The child must spend time on this class and must study. (Parent letter 14 2013)

AP World History (WOW)  What an experience, it brought things into my home I have never dealt with during my daughters education.  I never knew there were grades below an A.. . . Personally, I think this class taught her more life lessons then history she will remember and that is great.   Its back to Math and Science and great lessons learned.  I am even more proud of her now if that was possible. (Parent letter 11 2013) 

I am a proponent of finishing what you start. Some kids dropped the class after the first ½ of the year. I wouldn’t let my daughter. She stuck it out and feels confident of the AP World Exam. Even through the ups and downs with difficulty in the class, the information she learned has been valuable for her in the future. (Parent letter 9 2013)

 

Have your child take the College Bound Study Skills Class as this is helpful in giving them a taste of the homework requirements. (Parent letter 5, 2013)

 

And quitting is not an option.  They chose to take this class and they can do it.    All the tools are in place for them to succeed.  They need to find a way and use them.  There are study groups, you can review tests that you have taken and see the mistakes you made, and you can make an appointment with the teacher to get tips.  If you are having a problem, do this early.  My daughter’s only regret is not seeking help earlier. (Parent letter 3 – 2012)

 

I would strongly encourage parents to watch the transformation of their child.  They will start AP World History scared and overwhelmed at times.  Many times they will be ready to walk away and just forget about this class, but know that in the end you will have seen a remarkable thing happen, a gifted and confident student ready for any challenge placed at their feet.  Don’t be afraid of the hard work, many many hours and late nights, it will pay off! (Parent letter 8 – 2012)

 

My previous experience was that it was easier to stuff toothpaste back into the tube with a wet noodle than it was get our student to apply himself fully.   Since AP classes have raised the expectations and taxed the growing mind there has been a noticeable improvement of responsibility and maturation.   The challenges may seem many and may seem insurmountable, but the thrill of completion and being able to succeed is…. Is… to steal a phrase “Priceless”. (Parent letter 3)

 

I have seen my son study and work hard for the grades he earned in this class. There is something “intangible” about the course that has made my son mature and believe in his abilities. (Parent letter 19)

 

Admittedly our daughter struggled to maintain a good grade in this class and we would highly recommend getting into a study group.  This is something our daughter did not do and we feel that her grades would have been better had she done so.  We can also tell you that even though this class is tough and a lot of work, our daughter felt it was her best class of the year and will be taking another AP class next year. (Parent letter 4)

 

Too many kids to this point in their academic career have not been stressed or challenged. We pat them on the back and continue to say “wonderful job” but also in the back of our mind think “where is all the homework?”, “when does the tough point in school come?” Or are we oblivious to the fact that there have to be some classes that fundamentally challenge them to be greater than they have already been?  It cannot come down to avoidance of failure or a challenge, it must be a well thought out plan of how to balance students’ need to succeed while providing a basis for their future.  AP World History and AP classes do all that. (Parent letter 5)

 

At the beginning of the year I saw her doing hours and hours of homework with a very high frustration level. My daughter felt wore down and frustrated. Things began to change when she began to understand what was being taught and why the work was being done. Her horizons started to expand and a renewed sense purpose began to appear in her homework demeanor. (Parent letter 15)

 

In the beginning, my son spent 3-4 hours a night reading the AP World book and I didn’t think his grades matched the amount of time he spent studying. He was used to “A’s” with little effort and now with lots of effort he was at a “B”. This really bothered him. He said he didn’t like being a little fish in a big pond, he preferred being a big fish in a little pond, in other words there was a lot of competition in AP World as he was competing with the best and the brightest in this college level course and he was only a sophomore. When I spoke with Mr. Clarke during conferences he said my son was not studying correctly. He should read a paragraph, make sure he understood it, take notes and move on. When he was done reading he should review what he just learned. That advice made such a difference and I hope the advice helps your child also! (Parent letter 21)

 

On the Exam, in May:

Just before THE AP World exam in May, she had a stress blow-off “meltdown” in our kitchen saying there’s no way she can remember everything needed for the exam. At this point I calmly told her that all anyone can do is the best they can, which I knew she would. I also told her that even if she doesn’t pass the exam, the study skills and time management skills she learned are huge. Of course we’re very hopeful she passed the exam, but it is certain that this course was a great stepping stone on the way to college. (Parent letter 12 2013)

 

Also, I highly recommend that you have your child take the AP exam even if you think they may not pass. The skills they will learn in being part of that process are actually more important than the result. We always learn more from our so called “failures” than things we just breeze through. So if your child was “not successful” on the actual AP exam in May don’t view it as a failure but instead an opportunity from which to learn!  (Parent letter 10 2013)

 

Encourage your child to take the exam.  My daughter was hesitant at first.  She feared getting a score below a 3 or a fail.  Therefore, she didn’t want me to waste spending the $89 exam fee.  I encouraged her to take the exam and assured her that I will not be disappointed whatever happens.  If she gets a score of 3 or higher, this will be to her benefit.  If not, her experience from this will prepare her for future AP course exams and for college.  Taking the exam is stressful enough.  So as a parent, I didn’t want to add additional pressure.  My daughter’s AP World exam was on a Thursday, and we celebrated afterwards. I took her to the movies that evening.J (Parent Letter 4 2013)

 

Study with a group - my daughter and 6 friends had study parties throughout the year.  Pizza and 3 or 4 hours is all that you need.  It really helps them to talk about all this information out loud to solidify it in their mind.  Remember the end exam is on everything! (Parent letter 9 – 2012)

 

The AP test is important but there is so much more to this class than the college credits.  This class teaches the students about time management, study habits, writing habits, and many other things that cannot be quantified on an AP test with a score of 4.  These are the skills that will make the students successful in other college classes that they take. (Parent letter 12 – 2012)

 

You should be seeing your child reading and studying nightly for this class.  He/she may also attend study groups.  I think it’s also important to know that your child might be a little nervous prior to the AP World History Exam and may need extra support and comfort.  Make sure he/she gets adequate rest and nutrition prior to the Exam.  It would be extra special to get up early and make a great breakfast for them to start the day in preparation for the exam, which is what I did. (Parent letter 17)

 

On Hale’s Annual AP Nite:

Our recommendation for beginning AP parents is to first attend any and all AP informational sessions (especially those with previous students who provide comments on their experiences with AP classes) – and drag your child with you!  It really helps to set the stage and makes them “think” if they truly want to tackle these types of classes.  (Parent letter 13 2013)

 

. . . GO TO IT! I am so glad that I did because even though we were already into the school year I then truly began to understand what really AP classes were all about and what these colleges are really looking for. (Parent letter 1)

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