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Getting Ahead in the Review Game

Updated: Mar 16

Student A: These integrals are pretty easy!

Student B: Yeah, but wait until we have to review all of the old stuff, like limits!

Student A: What? They’re on the AP exam too? I don’t remember anything about that!

Sound familiar? By now, I am sure you are progressing through the CED and your students are learning new topics like pros. But with the AP exam only a couple months away, thoughts of review season are on every teacher’s mind. How can we help our students to remember the old material without trying to re-teach it all in April? Here are a few ideas to get the review started…now!

1. Warm-ups from the old days

Peter Liljedahl (of “Building Thinking Classrooms” fame) tells us that if your kids aren’t thinking within the first 5 minutes of class, they won’t think the entire class period. Why not make those precious first minutes count with a review question from already-learned units? Although reviewing the previous day’s learning via warm-ups is a valid strategy, using material that hasn’t been visited in a while may be even more useful to get the old topics dusted off and polished before May. Mix it up each day…maybe a limit question on Monday, a chain rule tangent line on Tuesday, and a related rates problem on Wednesday! Or for AP Precalculus, feature a function type from each CED Unit (a polynomial question on Monday, a logarithmic question on Tuesday, and a sinusoidal question on Wednesday, etc.). Not only will you be reviewing, but you will also train students to access those old ideas quickly and efficiently–great practice for the AP exam!

2. Assessments that go way back

Right now is a great time to start including 3-4 questions on your quizzes and tests from “the old days”. Whether you actually use them to contribute to the grade is up to you, but be transparent with your students before you throw a L’Hospital’s Rule question at them when they thought they were quizzing on Riemann Sums! Knowing that previous topics will continue to be part of the learning process is a key ingredient to success on the AP exam (which may be the first time that many students have had an assessment that reflects an entire year of learning). Why not get the ball rolling in February or March?

3. Friday Fun-day!

Make the end of the week something to look forward to with a review game built into your lesson plan! Online platforms such as Kahoot and Quizizz are searchable by topic, so you can easily grab a quiz on implicit derivatives or log properties, for example, and make remembering fun. My students instantly perk up when I announce one of these activities and yours will too (while secretly you know they are reviewing as you intended!).

Whatever your style, now is the perfect time to start incorporating review into every week’s lesson plans so that April doesn’t become a mad rush to the finish line. Even more importantly, your students will gain confidence in recalling previously learned ideas and applying them, even if it doesn’t mirror what you just taught yesterday. When review season does arrive, your students will already be ahead of the game!

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