AP Saturday Review Sessions

AP Saturday Review Sessions

courtesy of Amazon.com


As the students trickled into her class, AP Statistics and Pre AP Pre Calculus teacher Kay Kubena watched them with excitement. After weeks of planning, her idea for having review sessions on Saturday mornings had finally come together.

“Because of Harvey, I wanted to put something together so that we could earn back some of that time that Harvey took from us,” Kubena said. “Other high schools are what are called NMSI High Schools. They offer Saturday sessions all throughout the year if the school has been designated a NMSI school. Bellaire is not a NMSI school, so we do not have access to funding of that structure. To make sure that we get some of that time back, I wanted to give the opportunity to teachers here if they were interested, to be able to do some kind of review sessions.”

After emailing the other AP teachers, Kubena focused on preparing for her own AP Statistics review sessions. She described the process she went through to choose which topics to cover during the review sessions.

“What Mrs. Anderson (the other AP Statistics teacher) and I did is we looked to see what were the topics that we felt needed the most help,” Kubena said. “Even though we beat the global averages for many of these particular topics, even at Bellaire, experimental design is one of our lowest scores. I looked at the data, and we knew we wanted to do a Saturday on experimental design. From hearing the students’ feelings about doing inference, I thought we needed to have a session on how to choose what test and interval because the students suggested that as something they needed to work on a little bit more.”

Junior Abby Chopra went to Kubena’s review sessions, along with ones offered by the AP United States History (APUSH) teachers. She talked about her reasons for attending the sessions.

“My main reason was extra credit, but at the same time, it was also good review,” Chopra said. “I got caught up on things that I hadn’t thought about for a while. They brushed up on things from first semester, and it made me feel more confident in what I was doing and it helped with all of the review that was going on the FRQ’s that were going on for Stats.”

With so much course material to review, Kubena had to make decisions about how to fit it into the hour long sessions she had. She talked about the process she went through to figure out what activities to do.

“From what we decided to cover, there are tons of ideas out there,” Kubena said. “It is amazing how fast an hour goes in an AP course. Sometimes, in an hour, you can only do a handful of problems. The time just goes by in an instant. We looked at where the needs were, where we compressed during the first time through of the course so we knew where to hit a little bit harder when we reviewed.”

Since each teacher had to cover different topics, their review session looked very different. Chopra talked about the different things she did in the different review sessions.

“For AP U.S. History, the first time I went, the teachers were doing multiple choice with us,” Chopa said. “We were doing multiple choice and a brief history in the beginning and the second time we did a multiple choice. For Statistics, they went over worksheets with us, and they went over the different formats and what you have to include on the AP.”

Despite this being the first year, Kubena was happy with the way that the review sessions turned out. Even though the sessions went better than expected, Kubena still had thoughts on how to improve them for next year.

“I think that there is a good chance that we might do the review sessions next year, but maybe not to the degree we had,” Kubena said. “I hope it was helpful, but maybe it won’t be to the same extreme. Maybe it will be two Saturdays instead of four, but I do think there is a place for the review sessions.”

Chopra also noticed some things that could improve the review sessions for next year. She talked about what improvements she thinks should be made.

“For APUSH, I feel like it could have been a little bit better in the sense that they could have gone over a little bit more with us in that much time,” Chopra said. “We could have more APUSH sessions because we only had four review sessions in total, and a lot of people could not make it to all four. I could only make it to two, so have just a few more.”

At the end of the day, the review sessions were aimed to improve students’ scores on AP tests. Kubena described how she viewed her students’ scores.

“We want our students to do well, but when the students do well, we take joy and we reflect on that in terms of changing our teaching strategies and how we cover things,” Kubena said. “You get a personal grade, but all of our students make scores and that is how the teachers personally grade ourselves. The students get the fives, but guess what, I got those fives too. It means a lot to me when students do well.”