Last year I had a pretty well thought out AP Review program. The intent was to give students exposure to the most common material. In the end, it proved somewhat effective, but time was the enemy. A big lesson I've learned in Calculus is knowing when to stop and let the students rehash through a bunch of material. Last year I gave them a huge stack of free response and integral/derivative mechanical work a few weeks before the exam hit. The eternal truth is that students take forever to do anything. As we progressed through the material students were waiting for my review sessions to get the answers straight from the source. Or they were working problems alongside the answer key, nodding along on the assumption they were doing all sorts of learning.

That learning didn't happen. I answered way too many questions. It was too late in the game to be answering so many rudimentary questions.

New strategy for this year, recognize that the review material I came up with is still good, but introduce it earlier. Force the kids to work through it before giving up the goods. Minimize questions. And more importantly, expose them to free response material in smaller batches, allowing them time to internalize some things.

Currently my kids are working through my big set of integral and derivative mechanics and two FRQs that are similar in scope. I allotted 3 class days plus a weekend for this. My observations so far is that kids are able to progress better on their own because a) the material is more current b) I haven't overloaded them and c) it's February and time is not yet the enemy.

If this goes well, I free up more precious time in April to let them work through a (now) less dense set of review material.

AuthorJonathan Claydon