APUSH night sessions to start

Yusheng Xia, Assistant Editorial Editor

With a passing rate of 52.1 percent, the AP U.S. History exam, which will be given on May 14, is one of the most difficult assessments faced by students. Luckily for these learners, APUSH teacher Ty Watkins is hosting night review sessions to help students prepare for the test. The official dates for the sessions will be announced after spring break with first priority given to Watkins’ students.

The setup of the APUSH test requires students to be time efficient. APUSH exam takers have to complete a section of 80 multiple-choice questions in 55 minutes, followed by a document-based question, an essay given 45 minutes to finish. In the final portion of the test, students complete two more essay questions with 35 minutes for each. The first essay will deal with topics that occurred prior to the Civil War, while the second will contain topics that occurred after the war.

Because he believes students need ample practice to prepare for the various components in the APUSH test, Watkins invites all his students to his annual night meetings until the exam date to review  the course material. For the past few years, an average of 75 to 80 students attended every meeting. Although the night sessions can be crowded, the meetings have been beneficial to students who detected areas of weakness on which to improve. Watkins learned through his time helping students that many have trouble creating adequate responses to the essay topics.

“APUSH students usually struggle with writing three essays and organizing their essays in an argumentative manner.  Many times [they] just write facts and forget to write a thesis and then defend [it],” Watkins said.

To solve this problem, Watkins also invites all students to meet during weekends to work specifically on essays. During this time, students at his meeting are given a full practice AP practice exam, which Watkins then grades and return them to students.

“I pass out exams and grade the essays before they leave, so they have an idea what they might get when they take the AP US History exam,” Watkins said.

A golf coach, FBLA advisor, and former basketball coach, Watkins is no stranger to spending additional time working with students. When it comes to school activities, he believes that the success of a sport or club comes with a teacher’s dedication to help out afterschool. Consequently he has hosted his APUSH practice sessions all nine years of teaching the class at DBHS.

“On this campus there [are] not enough coaches or advisers, and many teachers don’t invest in the success of the sports or clubs.  But, it is not in their contract to do any work outside, so teachers are not required to be coaches or advisers.  I commend all those teachers who are coaches, class advisers, and club advisers,” Watkins said.