Thursday, May 09, 2013

Breaking News!

Well, I never did get caught up!  Grace and Bob had birthdays last week, which I for sure will eventually blog about, but first, today was such an exciting day! 

The AP biology exam is Monday, and since it's a new exam this year, there are no released old exams to be found.  Even the test prep books, like Barron's and Princeton Review, are just sort of guessing what everything is going to be like.  That has made it hard for me to know if we are preparing well. 

Well, over the course of the past few months, I've been checking in on the AP biology 2013 thread over at collegeconfidential.  The past few weeks I've been hearing about a practice exam that AP teachers were giving their students, put out by the College Board!  And then a few nights ago, I happened to check the thread, and lo and behold, someone had posted a link to it!  I was soooo excited!  I bookmarked the link, sent it out to the boys, and went to bed just beaming!  What I did not do was save it to a file or print it off or anything, because it was midnight, and well, I just wasn't thinking, LOL.  So when I got up the next morning and told Bob my good news, he immediately said, "Save it!", and indeed, when I tried the link, it was broken.  I was crushed!!

Over the next few days, I searched and searched for the test online.  I found some other online practice tests that weren't too bad, but nothing official.  Drew has been sleeping really poorly the last few nights, and he's been getting up at 3:00 AM.  As I was nursing him last night at 3:00, it hit me--the way for me to get access to the unreleased practice test was for me to get my syllabus approved, so I would officially be an AP teacher.  That is what I did not do last summer, and that's why we can't officially call this biology course "AP biology".  Last summer I was absolutely not up to it, but now, having taught the course, maybe I could get something together.

Drew was up again at 6:00, and after I nursed him and put him back down, I came downstairs to the computer and got to work.  I found some syllabi online, which gave me a start, but then I looked at the College Board website and read all the actual details they want in a syllabus.  Gulp.  I pored over the 4 sample syllabi, and worked and worked on getting everything in mine.  I could not have done this last summer even if I had wanted to!  I wouldn't have understood enough of what they wanted to make it work, and it would have been such an exercise in frustration, I am sure!

It took me about 5 hours to finish the syllabus.  Then I made an account at the College Board website, where I had some difficulties because I couldn't figure out what "professional code" they wanted me to enter. I called Christine, since she got next year's econ course syllabus approved back in March.  She couldn't remember, but she told me it took several weeks to hear back from them with her approval.  That was discouraging, since the test is Monday.  But I figured I would press on because once you get a syllabus approved, it's good for awhile, and obviously I have a lot of biology teaching in my future, LOL.  After a few more minor technical difficulties submitting the syllabus (and 2 phone calls to the nice tech guy, LOL), everything was entered and pending about 11:45 AM. 

I took a shower and ate lunch, in preparation for our very last biology class this year, which was just  review for the test.  After that was over, I checked email.  I saw an email from the College Board, but in glancing at it, it looked like the automated "your syllabus is pending review" email I knew I had gotten.  But when I looked closer, the title actually said, "AP Audit--Your Biology Course Has Been Authorized".    It arrived in my inbox at 12:31 PM--less than an hour after I submitted my syllabus!!  I could hardly believe it!  I immediately started looking around, and *voila*, under the "secure documents" tab, was the AP practice exam!  Praise the Lord!  So I immediately downloaded it, and sent it off to the boys to take!  I hope it will be useful to them--I am very curious to see how they do!  And now I am all set for the coming years! 

I can't believe that when I went to bed last night, I had no thought of even attempting such a crazy thing!  And God was so gracious to allow it to get approved so readily!  Christine, Shannon, and I have been praying for the past few months as soon as Rivendell classes are over on Tuesdays.  I really feel that the Lord is answering prayer, and I am so very thankful!  We are so blessed!

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