"Today, I met with the student for the first time. Since time is short before the AP exam in question, we dove right into the sample questions in the review book, honing in on the two essays he felt he needed bit of assistance with; change-over-time and compare and contrast. After a brief discussion about how AP exams are graded, how teachers grade them, and so on, we broke down each type of essay and I explained what exam graders are and aren't looking for. To clarify; the essays are very much thematic in nature-they want the student to be able to demonstrate he can recognize the pattern in question and explain WHY it occurred as it did (why something changed, why something remained, how it changed), rather than just simply stating facts. He asked a few pointed questions about the importance of dates and being specific and accurate, and I explained how it's perfectly fine to be more general (saying "June 1944" or "summer 1944" instead of "June 6, 1944" if you're uncertain of the date, for example,) as long as the essay demonstrates a knowledge of the themes. We looked over two different practice exams, going through each of the options given, discussing how we'd approach them, brainstorming ideas, and getting a good idea of how to outline even if one isn't sure of what their essay will be yet. As I explained it for the compare-contrast essay, it can be useful to make a quick little note of "Who-What-When-Where-Why" for each topic/aspect you've selected; this way, aspects that are the same or different will stick out more readily, even if they don't spring to mind right away. To wrap it up, we went through a practice multiple choice section, discussing how the process of elimination can be used to find the right answer on a question he is uncertain on. In other words, if he can safely eliminate 4 of the 5 choices, the 5th one, even if it's not an answer he's familiar with, is a safe choice. Overall, he seemed to really latch on to the notion that the essays are more "prove that you understand and can show the theme" and less "know very minute details", and I think he will do well on his AP."