Sunday, May 2, 2010

Successful FRQs

One more bit of old advice from a 2006 blog entry:

AP Comparative Gov and Politics FRQs

While I'm on the subject of AP exams, let me add one more thing.

The key to "doing what you're asked to do" in the AP FRQs is to pay attention to the verbs. I think it's the natural tendency when we're confronted with exam questions to focus on the nouns, i.e. what the question is about. But doing what you're asked to do with those topics is vital for success...

See the rest of the entry for more advice and encouragement.

And good luck tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Advanced Placement exams

Here's some of what I wrote for the Teaching Comparative blog back at the end of 2006. It's still good advice.

Since the early '90s, the written part of the AP exam has been called the "Free Response" (or FRQ, for Free Response Questions) section, not the essay section. Nonetheless, many teachers and students have continued to use "essay" when discussing the written half of the exam...

My advice to students in the face of changes remains the same. "Do what you're asked to do in the question." And "Answer the question that's asked."

Former chief reader for AP Government, Dr. Joe Stewart of Clemson University (quoted on p. 23 of my book) and Alberta provincial standardized test assessors both note that students often try to answer questions they expect rather than the questions they confront. That's never a good idea.

Students can do more than they're asked to do -- like write formal essays -- but they will only be graded on the specifics to which they are asked to respond.

Readers (those wonderful people who devote an eight-day week each June to grading the FRQs) are looking for relevant and accurate responses.

Students do not earn points for anything else.