Education Technology

Top Tips From a Science Teacher for Taking AP® Exams in 2023

Posted 03/24/2023 by Jessica Kohout, former AP® Biology teacher

Preparing students for AP® science exams is a year-long process, but as we get closer to May, students will benefit from resources to help them review and refresh. One important update from the College Board® is that all AP® science exams now approve the use of most TI graphing calculators, which includes Environmental Science.

Here’s a look at the upcoming schedule for science exams in 2023:

  • Monday, May 1 — Chemistry
  • Tuesday, May 2 — Environmental Science
  • Tuesday, May 9 — Physics C: Mechanics, Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
  • Wednesday, May 10 — Biology
  • Thursday, May 11 — Physics 1 (algebra based)
  • Friday, May 12 — Physics 2 (algebra based)

Check the full AP® Exam Schedule for all the details.

Resources available to you

There are many resources available as you prepare to take this year’s AP® exams.

  • Review concepts by watching videos: College Board® has put together AP® Live Courses to review content, including exam prep for each course. Texas Instruments Education has videos posted on math and science concepts, including “Office Hours” for AP® Calculus and AP® Statistics.
  • Practice: If you are enrolled in an AP® course, you should have access to AP® Classroom where you can complete practice problems that are aligned with the new tests. Set up a space that will mimic what it would be like on the day of the exam. Try to reduce distractions, and time yourself to get a feeling of what it will be like on test day. Sit down with what you need: snacks, water, scratch paper, pen/pencil, formula sheets and a calculator. If you do not have a calculator at home, you can download software for the TI-84 Plus or TI-Nspire™ CX families of graphing calculators to use on your devices.

The TI-Nspire™ CX II is one model that is approved for AP® exams.

Preparing for the test

We have been preparing all year for this exam. We have covered the content. We have practiced constructing free-response questions, analyzed data, made connections, explained phenomena and many other things to prepare you for this.

In these final weeks leading up to the exam, try creating a few condensed note sheets. You can use these sheets to summarize main concepts, draw diagrams and show connections. Also, take any opportunity to explain this information to anyone who will listen. Create a video, teach a family member, or just talk to yourself in a mirror. By verbalizing the information, you can reinforce what you know and realize what material you need to review more. Remember, these questions will be asking you to analyze presented information or apply your knowledge to a new situation, not rote memorization.

On the day of the test, read the question carefully. Remember “ATP,” not just for cellular energy as in Adenosine Triphosphate, but A-T-P as in “Answer The Prompt.” Be sure you know what is being asked before you start answering, and try to answer completely. Review the Task Verbs you will need to determine how to answer the questions. For example, will you be asked to describe or explain, calculate or determine, identify or justify? Use these task verbs to help direct and complete your response. However, do not panic if you cannot completely answer all parts to a question. Do your best. It is better to turn in an incomplete answer than not finish in time.

With these free-response questions, you can show what you know and earn college credit. Take a deep breath and know that you’ve got this!

For a comprehensive look at exam resources available from Texas Instruments, visit the test preparation page on the website, including a chart that shows which TI technology is accepted on all high-stakes exams.

About the author: Jessica Kohout is a National T3 Instructor and enjoys introducing students to STEM through environmental issues. She is the Youth Climate Institute Manager at the Howard County Conservancy where she develops programming for high school students and mentors the STEM Action Team. Prior to this, she taught high school Biology for 17 years. In or out of the classroom, Jessica believes that teaching students STEM skills along with collective action are the ways to improve the future for all. Follow her on Twitter @MrsKohout.

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