How to think like an AP Rater/Reader on the AP English Language “Synthesis” Free Response Question 1

Posted by Cassandra M. on 10/7/20 9:28 AM

As someone who tutors AP English Language and Composition (lovingly referred to as AP Lang) and as someone who struggled with timed writing herself, I know how daunting a task it can be to score a 5. Luckily for you, I’ve also served as an AP Rater/Reader and can offer some additional insight into what we are told to look for while scoring a student Free Response Question 1 Synthesis essay on the AP Lang exam.

Read More

Tags: study skills, test anxiety, English, expository writing, AP exams

Question Breakdown: How to Solve a 6 Grid-In Question on the AP Biology Exam

Posted by Sandra on 11/2/16 6:00 PM

On the AP Bio exam, there will be 6 grid-in questions that will require you to do some math. Yes, math. These questions will require you to do some simple calculations and thus you are only allowed a four-function calculator to do addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication. That being said I’ll breakdown an example grid-in question to familiarize students with the type of questions they may be asked.

Read More

Tags: biology, AP exams

Question Breakdown: Real AP Biology Exam Solutions

Posted by Sandra on 9/21/16 7:30 PM

The AP Biology Exam date has been set for Monday, May 8, 2017. Beginning at 8 am that morning, everything you learned over the course of the year will be tested with 63 multiple choice, 6 grid-in and 8 free response questions. Although the AP exam seems far off, it’s a good idea to master the basics now and set a good foundation off which to build future knowledge. That being said Question 4 on the 2016 AP exam is a good starting point.

Read More

Tags: biology, AP exams

Question Breakdown: Real AP Chemistry Exam Solutions

Posted by Sandra on 7/8/16 5:00 PM

This month, Sandra breaks down Question #2 on the 2015 AP Chemistry exam.  Read step by step instructions on how to solve this tricky question, and get tips on how to avoid getting tripped up on questions like this in the future!

Read More

Tags: chemistry, AP exams

SAT & AP Tutoring Approaches with Eric

Posted by Eric on 4/11/16 9:30 AM

Eric is a doctoral candidate in the Urban Planning program at Columbia University.  Prior to enrolling at Columbia, he earned a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from NYU and a Bachelor’s degree in history from Bowdoin College.  Learn about different strategies Eric uses to approach SAT & AP Exam preparation! 

Read More

Tags: SAT, AP exams, Tutoring Approaches

Odor Perception on the AP Biology Exam

Posted by Sandra on 3/25/16 9:30 AM


Last year, AP Biology students did a great job applying their math skills to the test. On average, 55% of math related question were answered correctly compared to 35% in 2013! That’s great news but there were still many questions that students struggled with such as free response Question 7 about odor perception.  This question gave students a particularly tough time with 70% of students earning 0 out of 3 possible points. So, let’s break this question down and review neuronal signaling. 

Read More

Tags: biology, AP exams

A basic guide to the AP Chemistry Exam

Posted by Sandra on 3/14/16 9:30 AM



The AP Chemistry exam is on May 2nd, leaving less than two months to prepare!  You might still be struggling with where to begin, and that’s how this blog post can help.

In 2014, the exam was revised to focus on six big ideas in chemistry. The new format is intended to test your understanding of big picture concepts and apply them to the practice of chemistry. Thus, it is critical that you be able to think deeply about concepts, draw connections across topics, and interpret experimental data.  Reviewing everything you need to know for the exam can seem daunting, but these effective studying tips will ensure that you can maximize your score:

Read More

Tags: AP exams

How to Study for AP Biology – a General Method

Posted by Kisha Clune on 3/7/16 9:00 AM

When I was in high school, it was actually my AP Calculus teacher who gave me this AP Bio study tip. I used it with great success that year in AP Bio, and it continued to serve me well throughout college as I majored in molecular biology.

Read More

Tags: biology, AP exams

The DBQ (The Writing Sample) on AP Exams

Posted by The Aged Tutor on 4/9/13 9:14 AM

One of the trickiest tasks in the humanities AP tests – whether it’s for AP World History, AP U.S. History, or AP European – is the dreaded Document Based Question, or DBQ. 

As an experienced high school academic tutor in New York City, I’ve seen students take many different approaches to these essays.  It’s too bad that high school students get so little practice on these types of essays, as they test such specific techniques and really require some serious attention in order to master.  The only way to improve your writing style on the DBQ is to write as many practice essays as possible and to have someone who knows what they’re doing offer you corrections.  But by learning how to structure your mandatory planning time effectively, the whole process becomes so much easier. 

Read More

Tags: expository writing, AP exams

Crunch Time for Advanced Placement and SAT Subject Tests

Posted by College Corner on 3/28/13 9:14 AM

So spring is definitely here, and we’re well into the time of year when you’ll be hearing plenty about the Advanced Placement (AP) and SAT Subject (SAT II) exams. 

You might be thinking that there’s very little difference between the two and that both test your knowledge of a specific subject or skill – and to an extent you’d be right.  But there are subtle differences in timing, in testing method, and in how you share these scores that our team of experienced standardized test tutors and academic tutors in New York City, in Boston, and online are ready to share with you all year round.

Read More

Tags: study skills, math SAT subject test, literature SAT subject test, french sat subject test, chemistry SAT subject test, biology SAT subject test, AP exams