AP Biology with Jacqueline Gooch at MEK
MEK’s Spring semester is all about Advanced Placement courses & Exam Prep classes. We’re offering small group virtual classes and private tutoring designed to give students the strategies and skills to ace their challenging AP classes and earn a 5 on the AP exam in May.
This Spring, we are offering AP Biology taught by expert instructor Ms. Jacqueline Gooch.
Ms. Gooch is a graduate of Columbus State University and a high school teacher. She uses her 13+ years of experience in public education to craft engaging, interactive classes for her students.
We interviewed Ms. Gooch to get her insights as to what skills students need to succeed in AP Biology, actionable steps students can take to succeed in their AP Biology classes, and how students can build confidence in their science skills.
Read on to see what she had to say!
Course Objectives & Prerequisite Skills for AP Biology
What skills should students have going into their AP Biology classes?
Gooch: Students need to hone their critical thinking skills to break down the questions and apply the appropriate concepts to each step. The ability to interpret graphs and diagrams is also crucial. Students will encounter these often in AP Bio. Lastly, students need to be able to read and comprehend informational text.
Does having a strong understanding of AP Biology help students succeed in other AP Science courses?
Gooch: Following a consistent study routine is helpful for all sciences, as these courses have many interconnected and complex concepts.
Why do some students find AP Biology to be a difficult subject?
Gooch: Many students struggle with AP Biology because there’s more to it than memorizing facts. The curriculum requires students to connect the dots and understand the relationships between different concepts. In general, the course material is dense and so students have to learn some of the material outside of class time.
How do you help students build confidence in their science skills?
Gooch: I advise students to find what works for them. Students have different learning styles. Auditory learners may benefit from videos and listening to concepts being explained. Visual learners may find it easier to understand a concept by adding diagrams and drawings in their notes. By incorporating their unique learning methods into study sessions, students can achieve a greater understanding of AP Bio material and become more confident.
Progress & Skill Mastery for AP Biology
What are your specific teaching methods for student engagement?
Gooch: In my lessons, I give students ample practice and opportunities to interact with the material they’re learning. There are several platforms I regularly use in my classes:
Quizizz is a good platform for students to complete gamified quizzes, which promotes engagement. I also like to use Pear Deck, where I can give interactive presentations and keep my students engaged. Another platform I use is Edpuzzle, where I can post videos with embedded questions to help my students visualize concepts.
Students can greatly benefit from working with their peers, which is why I also have them peer review each other’s free response questions.
I also break my lectures down into chunks of 15-20 minutes so students can take time to digest the information. Processing information becomes difficult for longer periods of time, so long lectures are not as effective and beneficial for students.
How do you get kids to progress and master skills to succeed in AP Biology in both the course and on the exam?
Gooch: The AP Bio curriculum is dense. That’s why it’s important to study on a consistent basis. I would advise students to look over their notes from previous classes as often as they can so the material stays fresh in their memory. Fitting in a 15-minute study session every day will benefit students when it comes to exam day.
I would advise students to keep their study sessions short because after about 15 minutes, your brain has a tougher time processing information. Taking breaks between sessions is important so students can make the most out of their studying.
Actionable Steps to Success
What are actionable steps students can take to succeed in AP Biology?
Gooch: In a course with complex concepts like AP Bio, it’s important to take detailed notes. Writing everything out in detail also makes it easier for students to refer back to their notes during study sessions. Having good note-taking skills can also help students make connections between concepts. A lot of the material in AP Bio is interconnected, so if the student understands how they relate to one another, they’ll be able to succeed on the exam.
There’s a lot of vocabulary covered in AP Bio, so keeping a running list of terms helps students.
Take advantage of practice tests. Completing a practice test helps students gauge their readiness for the exam. Students will be given a formula worksheet on the exam, so it’s important for them to become familiarized with it. Also, since students will be using calculators, practice using them.
Complete progress checks on AP classroom. These assessments provide students with a way to see how they’re performing throughout the course and identify which concepts they may need to spend more time studying on.
I always encourage my students to ask questions if they’re unclear about something in class or just want to make sure you have the concept down.
AP courses are tough and may seem intimidating at first. But with a solid study plan and good study habits, students can get high grades and ace the exams.
Many AP teachers focus on only the course material, leaving students underprepared for the actual 2-3 hour exam. At MEK, we take a two-pronged approach to AP Prep. Through providing students with both lectures by experienced teachers and practice exams, students gain a solid understanding of the material and learn test-taking skills to maintain their performance under time pressure.
Click here to learn more about our AP Course offerings for Spring 2024!
Interested in registering for AP courses with MEK? All of our AP courses are still accepting students on a rolling basis! Fill out our Registration Form to get started.
Or if you have questions, contact us! We look forward to hearing from you.