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Thread: SAT Subject Tests, Honors Classes, and AP's

  1. #1
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    In answer to SAT prep, I am enjoying Stobaugh's SAT prep and Literary Analysis books for Jr/Sr High. Also Greek Morphemes is a great way to process vocabulary from roots.

    My question is in 3 parts:

    I am homeschooling a student who might have the ability to apply to ivies...although we may not due to other reasons..but I don't want to close out any options

    1. Can I denote TOG History/Lit as Honors Classes (I assume yes) What would it take to make them AP or do I need to go elsewhere?

    2. For more credible transcript, it would be great to use stdized tests at the end of 10th and 11th....I am thinking a combination of SAT Subject tests and perhaps some AP's spread out of over 10th and 11th (and then some in 12th.)

    3. Thinking of testing AP European History after Year 4, ....does anyone have suggestions about which AP's or SAT Subject tests fit TOG curricula better than others?

    I have a lot more questions, but...wow...that's enough for now...

    Any thought you can give...anyone having gone through this...it would be greatly apppreciated!

    Blessings <><
    Jennifer

  2. #2
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    AP has a list of all their AP tests at:
    http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/Controller.jpf

    Based on my readings, the more AP tests your child can take and do well on the better. We live in the district of a top rated public high school (often ranked in the top 100 nationally) I hear of a lot of students taking a couple of AP courses in 10th and adding more so that their next year is almost all AP courses and then the final year will have at least a few if not all.

    I would also write a nonstandard transcript. Based on those readings, elite colleges evaluate a student's academic record based on two factors: one, is not average by class rankings and the the other is degree of difficulty of course load. They want a student who has taken the hardest course load possible at their school. Students at schools without such a course load will receive a lower but noted score in this area. Based on knowing this, I don't think a standard transcript will really help at this level. Instead being honest and clear about what they've read and done might go a long way to convincing a college admissions officer to rank your child highly in both these scales.

    I wrote reviews of some of the books I read (which are not books about how to get in, but books describing the admissions process) and posted them in the files section of my file sharing group. You are welcome to join and read them:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Myvariousfiles/

    I have recently read The Price of Admissions which is about how money plays a part in the process. Much of it won't be usable by the average home school parent (unless you can give away upwards of $100,000 to the schools your child applies to), but some of the information on sports and girls could be helpful.

  3. #3
    I used to teach AP Spanish classes before kids.

    The AP label is a trademarked thing. I think that you really shouldn't label your course "AP" - that label is given, I believe, by schools whose faculty has gone through certain training. There shouldn't be "AP" textbooks either; the College Board doesn't approve or recommend books. People do advertise their courses as AP who don't have that certification, but I wouldn't advise it. I don't think it would impress an admissions office.

    But that's okay. There is no requirement that a child take an "AP" class before taking an AP test. If your child takes the AP test and does well, the name you put on the course won't matter.

    On the tests themselves: AP tests are quite challenging. Go to the College Board website and look at their sample questions for each subject you're interested in. You can also buy actual old tests from them. (The format and content of the test does change from year to year, but still it's helpful.) Compare these to the SAT subject tests and see what you think for each level.

    There are books to help you prepare for SAT tests and AP tests, but in general they are NOT done by people who understand the testing process as well as the College Board does. (I'm extremely impressed with College Board tests.) I try to stick with CB materials, plus a number of good other resources.

    AP tests aren't just multiple choice. In history, for example, there is an unusual document-based question (or there was, last time I checked) that it would be well to prepare for.

    If you have a good high school near you, you might talk with an AP teacher in the subject that you're interested in and get some guidance about the subject. Can you look at their syllabus? What text do they use? What do they recommend?
    Beth
    TOG Year 1
    Doing TOG since 2005
    R (17), D (14), UG (9)
    Math: Singapore Primary Mathematics, Discovering Mathematics
    German, Spanish

  4. #4
    Hi,

    I just wanted to add a little information from HSLDA to help you understand some of the new guidelines for labeling a course AP for homeschoolers. At a recent workshop, I asked about AP classes and was told that the law changed recently (2007 or 2008). Here are the new guidelines from the HSLDA website. Note: It is actually illegal to label a course AP if it has not been approved.

    HTH,
    Eia

    Advanced Placement Tests

    Advanced Placement (AP) courses are rigorous courses taken during high school but taught at a college level. The courses typically require an extensive amount of study, reading, and writing. There are 37 different AP courses across 22 subject areas that culminate in the taking of a standardized AP test for each course given nationwide in the late spring (usually May).

    In order for homeschoolers to label courses as “Advanced Placement” on their high school transcripts, the course syllabus must now be pre-approved by the College Board AP Central. (AP is a trademark and to use it without approval is illegal.) Details on the AP tests, including teacher resources, exam questions, and other materials are provided. Because the AP Central does not list homeschool-approved syllabi in the Course Ledger which is used by colleges to check the validity of the Advanced Placement designation, it is necessary to keep the AP Central’s notice of approval for each AP course. Therefore, these letters should be attached to the high school transcript that you send to colleges.

    Homeschooled students can study and prepare for these tests, either on their own or by enrolling in online AP courses. They must make arrangements through a local public or private school to register for and take a particular test. These arrangements should be made far in advance (December or January) of the test date so that the school has time to order a test for your student. (Some public high schools are more accommodating than others in allowing homeschooled students to sit for tests—as an alternative, you can also try a nearby private school.) The College Board provides specific instructions for homeschoolers taking AP tests.

    In addition to completing the course work or studying the subject material on their own, students desiring to take an Advanced Placement test would be wise to use test preparation materials. A list of AP test preparation materials is provided on the College Board website, along with comprehensive details regarding registering, preparing for, and reasons for considering AP courses. Also, previous AP tests are available for study purposes. If a student scores high enough on the AP test, he can receive college credit in that subject area depending on the policy at the institution he is attending. Each college determines the minimum score necessary on each AP test to earn credit and usually posts this information on its website.

    When registering for an Advanced Placement test, students should be aware of these special homeschool state codes.

  5. #5
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    Wow Eia, I had no idea if AP would actually approve a home school course. That's really good to know.

    I can't quickly find it, but I think the deadline might be as far in advance as the March before the class is to begin (if in the fall).

    The site I linked does have sample course syllabi which I suspect schools copy. Those do include listed texts, and each course has a course page with a link to "example texts."

    I think much of TOG could stay intact with maybe some additions and subtractions to bring materials in line with AP suggestions.

    If you desire that your student will take the test, you should probably also begin looking for a site that both offers the test and will agree to test your child. Home schoolers get their own separate"school id" number so your student's score will not impact the school they take it at's overall score average. However, I've heard some schools will not accept anyone except their own students.

  6. #6
    Jennifer:

    I realize that you wrote this message one year ago, but I am wondering if you ever got an answer to your question #3 - suggestions on which AP and SAT subject tests fit TOG.

    My son is interested in taking the AP History exams based solely on TOG material. He has gone through the four years, reading every assignment in the primary reading lists, and believes this, and some practice w/ the AP practice tests, might suffice.


    Any advice??

    Many thanks,
    ~pamela

  7. #7
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    I can't answer about AP tests, but my son has passed CLEP tests, which can also be used for college credit (depending on the college's policy, like AP). The Analyzing and Interpreting Literature CLEP test was easy after TOG, and the American History and Western Civilization tests (2 each) were not difficult either. In all, he used a practice test book with topics to study and several sample tests. For the history tests, he read through some textbooks, too, especially for the history that he hadn't done in TOG (Year 4) and to get the PC stuff.

    HTH,
    Janet, wife to 1, mom to 10
    5 graduated, 2R, 2D, 1LG - doing Y3 again!

  8. #8
    Thanks for the input Janet.

    We have considered the CLEPS, and despite the fact that one of the schools in which my son is keenly interested does not accept them, I believe we will go that route...

    Thanks again!

  9. #9
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    Patrick Henry College is offering online classes that will prepare the students for AP exams. From what I can tell, however, they are not labeled AP classes because they are not specifically endorsed by College Board. Here is the website with the information: http://www.phcprep.org/

    Update May 4, 2011:
    I just received notice about an HSLDA e-vent (online seminar) on May 11 about PHC's AP prep classes. You can sign up for it and learn more. Here's the site: http://hslda.org/athome/Home.aspx/event/846
    Janet, wife to 1, mom to 10
    5 graduated, 2R, 2D, 1LG - doing Y3 again!

  10. #10
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Eia:

    from HSLDA

    "n order for homeschoolers to label courses as “Advanced Placement” on their high school transcripts, the course syllabus must now be pre-approved by the College Board AP Central."

    Has anyone using TOG for their high school student gone to the trouble of submitting a syllabus to the college board for AP approval?
    It seems to me that the requirements for TOG honors credit might meet the grade for an AP designation.

    Still trying to weed through it all...
    ~pamela

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