New quiz policies offer a path to success

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APUSH Quizzes - Jamie Fung
Artwork by Jamie Fung

When word of the brand new AP US History policy of weekly quizzes reached the juniors of Townsend Harris, some sighed with relief, since teachers decided to tone down their constant demands for the textbook outlines. If used properly, these quizzes can be beneficial and conducive to a higher score on the AP US History Exam in May.

When this policy first took effect, I chose not to study. These quizzes seemed like a waste of time, especially since I thought I knew the information from the beginning of the school year pretty well. I was wrong. After receiving a low grade on the first quiz, I realized that it would be best to study. From that point on, I studied my previous outlines and read the AMSCO book. Without even realizing it, I was indirectly preparing for the AP Exam while improving my grades simultaneously.

Because I was forced to study, I was “tricked” into making a study schedule two months prior to the exam, something I previously thought preposterous. It also alleviated my worry of having to review in depth for the exam because when exam time comes around, I can just read an overview of the different time periods. Thus, these quizzes have become a reason to make time to study the details.

According to researcher Jeffrey D. Karpicke of Purdue University, retrieval is a key process of learning and should be practiced because all expressions of knowledge involve retrieving information. He recommends using retrieval-based learning techniques in the classroom such as frequent classroom quizzes, just like these weekly APUSH quizzes.

By using this method, instead of cramming all the information the night before the AP Exam (most of which you will probably forget by the time of the test), juniors are able to process and review the vast amount of information at their own pace and are able to recall the material faster. As Mr. O’Malley would say, “Repetition is the branding iron of the intellect!” By repeating and reviewing the material, scoring a 5 is not just a dream.

These weekly quizzes also help serve as wonderful reviews for the juniors by highlighting the areas in which the students are particularly strong, as well as pointing out those in which they would benefit from spending more time studying.

Because weekly quizzes are divided up into different time periods, it makes it easier for students to figure out what topics they should further review for the AP Exam. This makes studying more time efficient, since you will be focusing on your weaknesses rather than wasting time studying your strengths.

After all, why review material that you know extensively? So a word to junior Harrisites: pay attention to your quiz results and review topics in which you do not have a great understanding.

For those of you who are still groaning about the quizzes, this is your chance to put time management skills into play and “seize these quizzes” to decrease your AP exam stress, especially if you have more than one AP exam coming up this May.

This is a perfect opportunity to stop putting off the necessary studying for the exam and to sit down with the AMSCO book, even if it is just for 20 minutes per day. Sooner or later you will have to study, so why not choose sooner since you have the chance?

Since this is the first time for the APUSH quiz policy, it is still unclear whether or not this policy will be in effect next year. Hopefully, the teachers will decide to keep the policy because it would help the juniors prepare for the AP Exam, just as it is helping now. It make the preparations for the exam less stressful, and overall aids in the task of conquering the AP US History Exam, which is the goal.