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Sherpa Learning - Blogs

Breaking News about the 2020 Advanced Placement Exams
03/23/2020 - 6:05pm

Breaking News for the 2020 AP Exam

[Updated 4/15/20] A synopsis of all of the latest information about the Advanced Placement exams for the 2019-2020 school year, collected from various official sources. Read Now

04/27/2020 - 6:33pm

Ask an Expert, Part 1 - How to Deal with the 45-Minute Time Limit

In Part 1 of our “Ask an Expert” series, author Tony Maccarella discusses the number one concern for all AP History students this year – how to handle writing a high-scoring DBQ essay in just 45 minutes. Read Now

04/27/2020 - 6:58pm

Ask an Expert, Part 2 - Are Some Rubric Points Worth Skipping?

Wondering if certain rubric points are basically unattainable? In Part 2 of our “Ask an Expert” series, author Tony Maccarella talks about all 10 points and which ones you should plan on earning. Read Now

05/05/2020 - 6:01pm

Ask an Expert, Part 3 - Are There Any Strategies for the Contextualization Point?

Tony’s back to discuss the contextualization point, why it can be problematic for students (about 1 in 5 AP World students earned the point on the 2019 exam), and how/when to earn the point in your DBQ response on the 2020 exam. Read Now

05/06/2020 - 7:55pm

Ask an Expert, Part 4 – How Do I Earn the Historical Complexity Point?

Tony Maccarella jumped on another call with Sherpa’s David Nazarian to discuss the complexity point and how you can earn it on this year’s streamlined AP History exams. Read Now

05/06/2020 - 8:59pm

Rich's Tips for Teachers - Prepping Your Students for the AP Exam from Home

Hey, AP History Teachers – how do you keep your virtual review sessions from becoming monotonous? Here’s 30 seconds of PD from author Rich Mayorga with ideas to augment your course review sessions leading up to the exam. Read Now

03/29/2019 - 4:34pm

7 Essential Tips for the AP Exam

Author and AZ Teacher of the Year, Rich Mayorga, shares the simple, point-saving tips that he gives his own students every year in advance of the AP exam. Read Now

04/20/2019 - 12:26pm

7 More Essential Tips for the AP Exam

Author Rich Mayorga continues his invaluable tips for taking an Advanced Placement exam. Read Now

Tony Maccarella answers questions from AP Euro students on Reddit
05/04/2017 - 5:47pm

Tips for Answering Multiple-Choice - Part 2

Tony continues his answer to the request for tips for answering multiple-choice questions on the APEH exam. In this part, Tony points out a couple of misleading answer choices. Read Now

Tony Maccarella answers questions from AP Euro students on Reddit
08/01/2017 - 10:14am

Preparing Over the Summer for AP Euro

In this series by Tony Maccarella, author of Mastering the Essay for AP European History, Tony answers questions sent in to him in the r/APStudents sub on Reddit. One student wanted to know what he could do over the summer to prepare for the start of AP Euro in the Fall. Read Now

Tony Maccarella answers questions from AP Euro students on Reddit
04/11/2017 - 5:33pm

Tips for Answering Multiple-Choice - Part 1

In this series by Tony Maccarella, author of Mastering the Essay for AP European History, Tony answers questions sent in to him on Reddit. The first question was, "Are there any tips or techniques for answering multiple-choice questions on the AP Euro exam?" Read Now

The first rule of publishing is: We're not here to make books, we're here to make money.
04/13/2017 - 1:11pm

Breaking the First Rule of Publishing

When a company makes sacrifices to gain profit, the customers lose. When the customers are American schools, everyone loses. Read Now

Maybe it's time for another go-round with synthesis, but this time should be different.
07/14/2018 - 11:29am

Giving Synthesis Another Shot

Having just returned from the AP U.S. History exam reading in Tampa, I have new concerns about the latest iteration of the LEQ and DBQ scoring rubrics—as did most, if not all, of the readers I spoke with over the week. Read Now

Tony Maccarella answers questions from AP Euro students on Reddit
04/04/2017 - 2:42pm

What really matters on the AP Euro Exam

In this series by Tony Maccarella, author of Mastering the Essay, Tony answers questions sent in to him on Reddit. The first question was, "What really matters on the AP Euro exam?" Read Now

The revised APUSH DBQ rubrics seem a little less foggy, but not clear.
10/25/2015 - 11:05am

The New DBQ Rubric: A Step in the Right Direction

In July, the College Board released a number of revisions to the new course guidelines, including a new DBQ rubric. The changes to the DBQ rubric certainly help to cut through the fog, but there is a downside for teachers. Read Now

The AP Euro Nightmare
04/01/2016 - 12:12pm

The Top 5 Misconceptions about the New AP Euro Exam

We talk to a lot of AP Euro students these days. We've discovered that many of them have misconceptions about the new exam and how to study for it. Here are the top 5 misconceptions that we're hearing from AP Euro students, followed by the truth about each topic. Read Now

Sommer Newkirk's APUSH Twitter feed.
10/10/2015 - 11:54am

A PUSH to Innovate Series: Sommer Newkirk

Sommer Newkirk, an AP U.S. History Teacher from Granada High School in Livermore, CA, uses her blog, community Facebook page, and Twitter account to keep her students connected, engaged, and supported beyond their regularly scheduled APUSH class. Read Now

Teddy dreaming of his namesake - the favorite historic figure for Kate Harris, APUSH teacher from Jordan High School in Durham, NC.
05/22/2015 - 2:00pm

A PUSH to Innovate Series: Kate Harris

Kate Harris, an AP US History Teacher from Jordan High School in Durham, NC, uses her blog to connect students, parents, and teacher—building knowledge, relationships, and good study habits along the way. Read Now

Without the proper support materials, the 2015 APUSH test takers were a bit like guinea pigs.
05/11/2015 - 7:38pm

Did the College Board let APUSH Teachers Down This Year?

I've decided to devote this entry to acknowledging the lack of support extended to teachers and validate the challenges they are facing. I'm also writing about it to remind teachers, students, and parents that despite the many unknowns, there is a silver lining that we can all cling to, united. Read Now

04/07/2015 - 9:42pm

Confronting the Audit Demon (Part 2 of 2)

Picking up where I left off in Part 1, I offer you several more "pain points" in the audit process and my advice on how best to handle them. Read Now

Teddy Roosevelt riding a moose = epitome of cool.
04/23/2015 - 3:33pm

Introducing "A PUSH to Innovate"

When it comes to true innovation in educational resources, no one does it better than the teachers themselves. Over the next few months, I will be reporting on this phenomenon by showcasing some of the leading educator-developed APUSH resources. Each installment in the series will spotlight an educator who is blazing their own resource trail, and succeeding. Read Now

What happens when educational resources are designed in a boardroom? This happens.
04/06/2015 - 8:40pm

A Truly Different Approach

A product that actually does what customers need it to do – because our customers help to create it – is a good thing. That’s what we’re setting out to do with the help of hundreds of volunteer teachers. Read Now

How to handle the APUSH course audit, by Michael Henry, Ph.D.
03/19/2015 - 3:16am

Confronting the Audit Demon (Part 1 of 2)

Simply stated, the new audit process is a ton of work. As one of the auditors, I've reviewed nearly one hundred submissions since the program began. I would like to offer several observations about the process and tips to help you avoid some common omissions. Read Now

The recipe for a high-scoring essay? It's missing something.
01/17/2015 - 1:00am

The New Rubrics: Test Prep vs. College Prep

The newly-revised writing rubrics for the Long Essay Questions (LEQs) and the Document-Based Questions (DBQs) have raised many concerns and caused not a small amount of anxiety among AP U.S. History teachers these last few months. Every teacher aims for the best for his or her students and wants to instruct them in a way that will maximize their performance on the new 2015 exam. With this as motivation, instructors have expressed deep concern around how to help their students earn the synthesis point in their essays. Read Now

Putting the O in H.I.P.P.O. has never been more important.
12/10/2014 - 5:01pm

Analyze This: The DBQ Essay in 2015

As teachers tackle the challenge of educating their students on the process of document analysis, they must focus their instruction and their students minds on analysis like never before. Read Now

Teaching to the new multiple-choice format on the 2015 AP U.S. History exam.
11/19/2014 - 3:34pm

Teaching to the New Multiple-Choice Format

One of the new challenges—at least for this first year and the learning curve that comes along with it—will be finding balance between teaching content knowledge while ensuring students are thinking like historians, critically evaluating how events are interconnected in the cause and effect continuum that is our history. Read Now

Preparing for the new format of multiple-choice on the 2015 AP U.S. History exam.
10/28/2014 - 12:10am

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! Addressing the New Multiple-Choice Format

Big changes are coming in 2015 to the AP US History test. This means teachers will have to revise their lesson plans to help prepare students to think like a historian, rather than recall like a Jeopardy contestant. Read Now