AP test comes around early for Seminar students

For+most+AP+classes%2C+AP+exams+take+place+in+the+month+of+May.+However%2C+for+AP+Seminar+students%2C+their+test+takes+the+form+of+two+projects+that+they+have+already+been+working+on.
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AP test comes around early for Seminar students

For most AP classes, AP exams take place in the month of May. However, for AP Seminar students, their test takes the form of two projects that they have already been working on.

For most AP classes, AP exams take place in the month of May. However, for AP Seminar students, their test takes the form of two projects that they have already been working on.

Ava Peinhardt

For most AP classes, AP exams take place in the month of May. However, for AP Seminar students, their test takes the form of two projects that they have already been working on.

Ava Peinhardt

Ava Peinhardt

For most AP classes, AP exams take place in the month of May. However, for AP Seminar students, their test takes the form of two projects that they have already been working on.

Ava Peinhardt, Staff Reporter

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AP exams are still a couple of months away, but one class on campus is already working on components of their final test as AP Seminar students are working independently to produce the two projects they will eventually submit to College Board as part of their AP exam.

For instructor Chad Doty, maintaining communication and constructive criticism with students becomes more difficult as the class moves into their College Board assignments.

“I think it’s a harder class to teach once the students start working on components of the College Board exam,” Doty said. “Up until that point, it’s pretty similar to teaching a Pre-AP English course or an AP Language or Literature course. Once students begin their official tasks, I am not able to give any feedback, which is a big part of teaching, and especially writing.”

Due to the lack of teacher interaction, students often turn to each other for guidance and advice, especially because of one project’s heavy emphasis on group collaboration by requiring students to write separate research papers on the same topic with the only difference being the focus of it.

“Some of my biggest challenges will be time management as well as group work,” junior Giorgia Mastrolorenzo said. “Right now, we’re working on the individual research report, the topic of which has to be agreed upon by our assigned groups. At the end of our first project, we have to come back together to make a presentation based on our collective research.”

The second semester of work for students in AP Seminar requires them to be largely self-reliant, as the teacher provides deadlines they must meet to stay on top of things for the sake of their groups, as well as the quality of the papers they will eventually submit as part of their exam.

“Seminar is definitely more of a self-paced class, even though there are due dates,” junior Isabella Knott said. “You can basically choose what you research and have some hand in who you work with. However, time management and being accountable for your part of the project can be pretty challenging.”

To combat the inevitable procrastination students may succumb to, seminar instructors are allowed to act as a mediator if needed.

“My role is setting deadlines as well as holding students accountable to those deadlines,” Doty said. “It’s also to intervene if I feel like a group is stuck, so even though I can’t give specific feedback on their projects, I can still help them talk to each other and help them problem solve. I can also look at the work students turn in and then create smaller, general lessons to give feedback to all students, but it’s up to those students to figure out how to apply those suggestions.”

Even though students are subjected to a good amount of work during the duration of the second semester projects Task 1 and 2, in which they compose two different research papers and two presentations over varying topics, submitting them before the AP test allows for a fairly simple final exam.

“The AP test is pretty simple,” Doty said. “It’s made up of two writing tasks called Part A and Part B which actually are very similar to the kind of writing tasks students have in AP Language. Before the AP test, students will upload the two papers they’ve written over the course of the year. I’ll upload the scores for their presentations and that will be sent off to College Board. So the final components are the paper and presentation for Task 1 and the paper and presentation for Task 2.”