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                   Introduction to the Advanced Placement Program
    The Advanced Placement Program started in the mid-1950s as a result of the
    pressures, which the cold war put upon American education. America needed a
    well-educated populace to combat the “communist menace.” It became a
    common belief that if the nation was to be competitive, it needed to add
    challenges to its high school curriculum. The first AP exams were administered
    in May of 1954. Only 27 schools participated in the 1954 exam. The first
    APUSH exam was administered in 1956. In 2009, over 15,000 schools
    throughout the world will took part in AP exams. While there are exams
    covering 37 subject areas, the AP exam with the largest number of participants is
    the APUSH exam. Over 310,000 students took the APUSH exam in 2008 and
    this figure is growing rapidly. On average 62.9% of students who took an AP
    exam passed last year. However, the pass rate for AP US History last year, was
    only 53.1%. Yes, this is a difficult exam but I have had students pass every year
    I have taught APUSH. If you dedicate yourself to studying, memorizing facts and
    learning how to write FRQs and DBQs you will be able to pass the APUSH exam!


    The following material will help you understand the tools necessary to pass the
    exam:

    Colleges and the AP Exam
    There are many advantages to taking the AP exams. Advanced Placement can
    give you college credit for courses you have already taken in high school. Thus,
    for the first time in many students’ lives they can become a financial asset to their
    family. You can also receive as many as six semester college credits with a
    successful exam. Colleges differ as to how they allocate their credits. It
    depends on your score and the college policy. Check with the colleges of your
    choice to determine their criteria.

    AP can develop in you the study skills and habits of mind necessary to be a
    successful college student. Studies have shown that AP students perform
    remarkably better in college classes than those students who have not taken an
    AP course. AP courses will also give you a better chance at university
    admission. Colleges look favorably upon students who have taken AP exams.
    Just taking an AP class without taking the exam is a waste of time (yours and
    mine). Remember your transcripts change to US History Honors if you do not
    take the AP exam. Thus, it is very important for you to take an AP exam if you
    are taking an AP class. Even if you don’t score a 3 or higher, the colleges will
    look more favorably upon you, than if you took an honors class.

    Signing Up for the AP Exam
    The following are key dates to remember for the Advance Placement exam.
    December to January: AP bulletins are distributed for students.
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Early March: Miss Cooper receives the exam order forms and fee reduction
forms.
April 1 (no foolin’!): The order form listing the number of exams must be sent
from each school to the ETS. If you do not inform Ms. Cooper, that you plan to
take the AP exam, an exam will not be ordered for you. The usual cost of the
exam is $80. This amount varies depending on the state and school district
funding. The ETS provides fee waivers ($75) as a way to lessen the cost if you
meet certain financial criteria. When you sign up, remember to let your
coordinator know if there are any special circumstances, which impair your test
taking. Students with certain learning or physical disabilities can have additional
time on the exam or special versions of the exam if needed.
May 7, 2010: The US History AP Exam!!!!! 
Mid May: the completed tests and fees are sent to ETS.
July: AP grade reports are sent to the high schools, colleges and individual
students.

SAT I, SAT II and the ACT
The SAT I is a major test taken in your junior AND senior years for mainly west
coast colleges. The ACT is a major test taken in your junior and seniors years
for mainly east coast colleges.

The SAT I is test that colleges use to gauge your general knowledge, reasoning
and writing skills. I recommend that you take the SAT I for the first time between
January and March after you have studied all Christmas Break. Take it a second
time in September of your senior year after you have studied all summer.

The SAT II are subject tests that colleges use to measure how much you know in
a given topic. You must take a minimum of two subject tests to start off and then
you may increase the number by one. In June of your junior year take the SAT II
subject tests after you have spent 9 months preparing for your AP tests. DO
NOT take the SAT I or the SAT II in May!!! THIS WILL DIRECTLY CONFLICT
WITH OUR SATURDAY PRACTICE AP EXAMS!

The Day of the Exam
On Friday Morning, May 7, 2010, you will arrive at about 7:00 AM at HTPA. The
site at HTPA will vary from a classroom to a gymnasium. Bring with you two blue
or black ink pens, two number 2 pencils and an excellent eraser. The essays
must be written in blue or black ink. The number 2 pencil is for the scantron
scored multiple choice section of the test.

The test itself contains 80 multiple choice questions to be completed in 55
minutes. To monitor your time, bring a watch to the exam. At this point you will
turn in your multiple choice exam, so you will not be able to go back to this
section later. After a short break, you will begin the second half of the test. This
part of the test is the writing of three essays. You will receive a green test
booklet that will contain the essay questions. It is this green booklet that you
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plan and outline your essays. You also receive a pink booklet. This is where you
write your scored essays. Both booklets are turned in at the end of the test, but
you should get the green one back, in a week or so from Mr. Groven. You are
required to write the first essay, the Document Based Question (DBQ) in 60
minutes. Then you must write one essay from a choice of two (questions 2 and
3) and a third essay from a choice of two (questions 4 and 5) in 70 minutes.
Thus, you will write three essays in 2 hours 10 minutes.


                                  Grading the Exam
ETS scores the multiple choice section by computer. The essays have to be
graded by people. This grading takes place the first week in June. For the past
several years, the grading has taken place at Trinity University in San Antonio,
Texas, but has now moved to Nashville Tennessee (alas, it seems Mr. Groven
will now never be able to lift his stout and toast President “Teddy” Roosevelt at
the Maingor Bar – across the street from the Alamo). The readers of the essay
are either high school AP teachers with a minimum of 3 years teaching AP or
college professors with an expertise in American history. Before the bulk of the
readers arrive, exam leaders and table leaders set up rubrics and range finders
to assist the readers in evaluating the essays. The goal of the whole process is
to give each student a fair assessment of his/her essay. You will have only one
reader for each of your essays, however you are guaranteed that you will have a
different reader for each of your three essays. To provide a safety net for
students, the readers are back read at random to check for accuracy. New
readers are also back read until they have proven that they are scoring the
essays accurately. Also the essay scores are correlated with the multiple choice
results. If a student performs well on the multiple choice it seems likely that
he/she will do well on the essays. Discrepancies in scores are reexamined.

In addition, the reader has no way of knowing who you are. The seven hundred
or so readers are handed a booklet of 25 complete essay tests and a scantron
sheet. You are guaranteed your anonymity. This is a very objective read.


This year will be rigorous and require our dedication to pass the APUSH exam,
but I know that we will become the honored few who are able to say we have
passed the APUSH exam. In the words of the great UCLA basketball coach,
John Wooden, “There’s no great fun, satisfaction or joy derived from doing
something that’s easy.”

Yours Truly,
Mr. Groven

				
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