ROTE MEMORIZATION? FORGET IT! CHANGES TO AP EXAMS REFLECT NEW PHILOSOPHY Print
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Brittany Marietta   
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 12:55

Qualify for scholarships.  Earn college credit and stand out in the college admissions process.  Be more likely to graduate from college in four years, while still having the time and flexibility to double major or study abroad.  With these benefits, it’s no wonder AP (Advanced Placement) courses and exams have won praise and popularity, allowing students to earn college credit while still in high school.  AP has spread to more than 30 subjects, with 1.8 million students taking 3.2 million tests last year.  But many AP courses, particularly in the sciences and history, have been criticized for the overwhelming amount of material and rote memorization needed to prepare for the exam.  That is all about to change.

The College Board, the nonprofit organization that owns the AP exams, is revamping courses and exams, reducing the amount of material students need to know for exams and focusing on large concepts and exploring topics in more depth.  Revisions are aimed at reducing memorization and fostering analytical thinking.  In AP Biology, for example, a host of creative, hands-on experiments are replacing the predictable “dirty dozen” – a nickname for the basic lab exercises recommend by the College Board.  In addition, the new AP Biology exam cut the number of multiple-choice questions nearly in half and more than doubled the number of free-response questions.  The idea behind this new direction is that quality learning takes place when students spend more time going into greater depth on fewer topics, increasing critical thinking and knowledge application.  “We really believe that the new AP needs to be anchored in a curriculum that focuses on what students need to be able to do with their knowledge,” says Trevor Packer, Vice President of the College Board.   AP will implement revised courses in AP French Language and Culture, AP German Language and Culture, and AP World History in the 2011-12 academic year, and revised courses in AP Biology, AP Latin, and AP Spanish Literature and Culture in the 2012-13 academic year.  AP U.S. History will follow in 2013-14.

Rivermont Collegiate, the Quad Cities’ only private, independent, nonsectarian college prep school, offers the highest availability of AP classes for its students in the state of Iowa.  From preschool through twelfth grade, Rivermont strives to prepare students who are grounded in the basics, yet able to think analytically and creatively.  Rivermont believes students learn by doing, and faculty bring the world into the classroom through hands-on project learning and stimulating class settings, where curiosity and critical thinking are encouraged.

What are you waiting for?  Explore the Rivermont approach to learning!  Join us for Open Tours the first Tuesday of every month.  The next Open Tour will be held Tuesday, March 1st from 8:30-10:00 a.m.  No appointment necessary!  Drop in to explore our philosophy and curriculum, take a tour of campus, and see our teachers in action.  Rivermont Collegiate is located at 1821 Sunset Drive, directly off 18th Street behind K&K Hardware in Bettendorf.

For additional information on AP course and exam revisions, visit http://advancesinap.collegeboard.org

For additional information on Rivermont Collegiate or Tuesday’s Open Tours, contact Cindy Murray at (563) 359-1366 ext. 302 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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