Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2014
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AP Exam Prep English Language and Composition

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Extensive test-prep tool; feedback facilitates independent study

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • English Language Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
9-12
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Pros: Feedback and explanations are provided for practice questions.

Cons: Free-response and essay feedback aren't always substitutes for in-person teacher feedback.

Bottom Line: Provides a thorough and effective option for independent study or diagnostic checks.

K12 publishes resources designed for self-paced study, and AP Exam Prep English Language and Composition could be used that way, especially in a 1-to-1 or BYOD classroom. Students could chose the area to work on in Quick Study and teachers could check in with students individually through the Study Statistics section, conferencing with them on progress and questions. Teachers could also take a more direct-instruction approach and use parts of the app as whole-class exercises. The Quiz Mode in the Scored Essay section, for example, could be used for whole-class discussion, evaluating the scored essays and looking critically at the scoring rubric. Multiple-choice practice by topic could be completed after teacher instruction in each specific topic, or the full practice exams could be taken diagnostically at checkpoints throughout the year so students could see the areas they need to work on: Those concepts are automatically added to the student's Quick Study selections.

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AP Exam Prep English Language and Composition is a test-prep tool to help students study for the AP English Language exam. It includes a Quick Review section, where students can select by topic the concepts they want to focus on. Several sample questions are also included from the multiple-choice, free-response, and essay portions of the exam. In the multiple-choice practice, students can answer questions individually and get immediate feedback explaining the correct answer, or they can take a full simulation exam, complete with timer and weighted scoring. The free-response section also lets students take a full simulation exam or review questions individually, create an answer plan using the planning mode, or evaluate their confidence level for specific questions and then add them to their Quick Review, if they need more review. In the Scored Essay section, students can review scored essays, selecting each scoring point to see how it's demonstrated in the essay.

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AP Exam Prep English Language and Composition is an excellent choice as a review tool for students preparing for the AP exam. It's also an effective option for use at home or independently in the classroom by students who are ready for the exam and just need some additional review and confidence building. It is text-heavy, so students need to be prepared for lots of reading and reflection, but the examples of quality answers are well explained. Students have quite a bit of choice in how they approach the review -- taking it question by question or jumping into a full practice test.

For students not quite at the review stage, the Quick Review section offers an easy-to-navigate guide to reading analytically, nonfiction texts, literature, writing fundamentals, and study resources. Also included are a vocabulary list and a list of authors likely to be encountered on the exam. Although text-heavy and somewhat dry, this app is full of fabulous information.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Straightforward, text-based test review isn't much fun, but motivated students will find the design fits their study needs well. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Content provides students with deep explanations and examples of essay and free-response items. Students are empowered to choose the areas to focus their study on. The multiple-choice section is responsive, explaining correct answers in depth.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Help is readily available to guide students in navigating the review. Teachers or parents can view Study Statistics to see which sections of the app students are spending time in.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

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