Out of the 15 AP classes offered at Clovis West, nine of them held after school review sessions, calling into question the obligation of additional hours beyond the allotted class period.
After a year’s preparation, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC and AP United States History classes all offered at least three after hour sessions during the week. Along with these courses, AP Spanish also offered an optional review session on the first Saturday of spring break.
According to Learning Director Matt Verhalen, teachers cannot require that kids come to an AP review but they can highly recommend it. “Most teachers will give you two opportunities so that as many kids can make it if they would like to go,” he said.
“The review sessions were just to help the kids with any areas they may be struggling in,” AP United States History teacher, Steven Rocheford, said.
“I think the reviews are helpful as long as they are not mandatory and review all of the content,” senior Anmol Bhatia said.
“I find the review sessions very helpful because they focus on test taking strategies,” senior Nigel Quinn said.
Though those taking AP Calculus AB or AP Calculus BC were not required to come to after school review sessions, they did have a mandatory free response portion of their final administered after school April 30 from 6-8 p.m.
“We need three hours to do a final like the AP test and we are able to split it into the multiple choice portion and free response questions portion but because of STAR Testing, we have the free response after school,” AP Calculus BC teacher, Denise DenHartog, said, “We want the students to be able to take it in the AP format.”
“I did not like how the calculus final was given on a Monday and I would have preferred taking it during school hours but I survived,” senior Shannon Basara said.
“I feel like the calculus final was well planned because it timed in perfectly with our AP test, even though I didn’t enjoy coming at night,” senior Nicole Shinkawa said.
The instructors of AP Biology, AP Government and AP Composition opted to offer incentives for those who took advantage of the after school AP practice.
According to AP Composition teacher Ellen Melocik, the reviews are optional but students who attend more than four sessions can receive extra credit or extra points in the grade book.
Those who are not able to come, are excused from the sessions without any deduction towards their grades, according to Melocik
“Anyone who can’t come, are given the test materials and they can do them on their own,” Melocik said.
AP Composition instructors also list these after school review sessions on the class syllabus, which is given to the students at the beginning of the school year.
“I think the AP Composition after school reviews really helped last year and made me do better on the exam,” senior Lucas Karahadian said.
According to AP Biology teacher, Rebecca Avants, she did make her review sessions mandatory and also gave students points for coming to the two after school review sessions.
But those who could not make it were excused from the scheduled review date and were offered an additional day to come practice the material and gain extra points.
“The reviews were strictly review where the students received actual tests,” Avants said, “We cover 50 chapters so it’s impossible to review all of those chapters during the class time only.”
AP Government teacher, Kristin Oliveira, also scheduled mandatory after school sessions with Mr. Price with extra credit available if students showed up to at least one session.
For those unable to come, Oliveira offered a time right after school with her to review but if that did not work, they were excused without any detriment to their grades.
“All good grades come from practicing,” Olivera said, “The AP exam is a college test and I want to make sure everyone is prepared.”
“I think it’s weird how the AP Government sessions were mandatory and extra credit; I feel like it should have been one or the other,” Shinkawa said, “However, I think Mr. Price and the reviews were very helpful.”
Classes that did not offer after school
practice included: AP Psychology, AP Statistics, AP Literature, AP Physics, AP Economics and AP Chinese.
According to the instructors of these classes, there is enough time for review in class so meeting after school is not necessary.
“By switching to cumulative tests this year we covered a lot of review throughout the year,” AP Statistics teacher, Jason Berg, said, “All of the review is done in class so there is no need for after school sessions.”
“I’m not speaking for other teachers, I just feel I can cover the material in the context of class,” AP Literature teacher, Jeff Williams, said.
AP Physics instructor, Charles Chortanian, recognizes the difficulty in getting students to come for review after school hours.
“We have one month of structured review in class. Outside of class it’s hard to get all of the students here,” he said.
Students taking multiple AP classes struggled with choosing which review sessions to attend since the times overlapped.
“My math review sessions overlapped with my government sessions so I had to choose one over the other,” senior Namita Kumar said.
“When the review sessions overlap it makes students pick between two AP classes,” senior Sung Joon Baek said, “This could be avoided if teachers met earlier and made a schedule of review sessions so students can attend all of them because they are helpful.”