PandaTree’s Top Tips for Acing the AP® Spanish Language and Culture Exam

 Note: AP®, Advanced Placement® and College Board® are trademarks registered by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, this website.

It’s May 7, 2019 and you’re sitting in your school’s gymnasium with desks spaced six feet apart. You’ve got a school issued laptop or iPad on your desk, with a headset and microphone, as well as a pencil, eraser, and exam booklet. At 8:00 am sharp the exam proctor announces you may open your exam booklet. Are you ready for the Advanced Placement® Spanish Language and Culture exam?

The AP® Spanish Language and Cultural exam is the most popular AP world language exam, with good reason — there are six million students studying Spanish in school in the United States. With about 50 million Spanish-speakers, the U.S. is the second largest Spanish speaking population in the world after Mexico. Speaking Spanish is great for people who love to travel – it’s the official language in 20 countries. And learning Spanish can help students understand another culture, boost career opportunities, and more.

In this post, we’ll demystify the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam, give an overview of AP exams, take a thorough look at each section of the AP Spanish exam and offer plenty of tips for how to prepare for the AP Spanish exam so you can get your best grade. Along the way, we’ll share expert advice from PandaTree tutors and advisors who have helped The College Board develop and grade AP exams in the past.

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The AP® Chinese Exam: PandaTree’s Tips to Ace It Everything you need to know for the May 6 exam

Note: College Board, Advanced Placement and AP are trademarks registered by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, this site.

The Advanced Placement® Chinese Language and Cultural exam is growing in popularity as people realize the value of Chinese proficiency for future career opportunities and cultural fluency. In fact, the AP® Chinese exam is now the third-most popular AP language exam after AP Spanish Language and Culture and AP French Language and Culture.

In this post, we’ll share an overview of Advanced Placement exams, we’ll take a look at the AP Chinese Exam and its components, and we’ll share grading trends. Then we’ll look question by question at the exam, describe what to expect, and offer tips to maximize your score. Finally, we’ll share some advice on how to best prep for the exam. So if the AP Chinese and Culture exam is in your future, read on! Continue readingThe AP® Chinese Exam: PandaTree’s Tips to Ace It Everything you need to know for the May 6 exam

How Kids’ Foreign Languages Learning Differs from Adults Tap into your little one's natural learning style to unlock a language learning genius

Singing, playing, laughing. All things we as adults take for granted – especially when it comes to learning a foreign language! When prepping for an upcoming trip abroad, or, even harder, when studying up on cultural customs of a nation we need to visit for work, learning a foreign language can be a daunting task for us older folks. 

Not so for our little ones however.

Instead of memorization, foreign language learning is an organic process that incorporates kids’ real lives — their toys, the animals they love, the letters and numbers that shape the world around them. Children are seemingly able to absorb a second language naturally without all the arduous study an adult might have to undertake.

A recent study published in the journal Cognition, which surveyed 669,498 native and non-native English speakers, found that this so-called “critical period” of language learning may last all the way up to the age of 17, but that for kids to really become fluent in a second language, they need to get started sometime before the age of ten or 12.

Tutor interacting with child during online preschool foreign language lesson.
Kids learn language by organic acquisition.

It’s not clear exactly why kids are such able learners when they’re young, but we do know that their neural plasticity, unselfconsciousness, and natural inclination to learn through play make a huge difference. Here are some of the ways that children’s language learning differs from adults—and how we might take a few cues from them!

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Why Your Preschooler is a Foreign Language Learning Genius

As a four-year old, I remember my mom bundling my sister and me into our hand-me-down snowsuits and trudging over to our local library for a weekly French class for preschoolers. Once snowsuits were removed, we sat in a circle and played a “broken telephone” game, passing phrases around a circle to see if they could survive, ungarbled. We sang some French songs, including “Sur le Pont d’Avignon” and “Aloutte.” And when we learned colors, I remember being astounded when the teacher demonstrated that you could mix red and white paint to make pink – “rose”. How come we didn’t know about this in English? Such was my introduction to French, and I was hooked.

Fast forward to when French classes started in school in grade 4. I remember in one class learning the meaning of the word “pont” – – bridge  – – and having a flashback to those classes in the library, with a newfound understanding of the song On the Bridge in Avignon/Sur le Pont d’Avingon. Had my early exposure to French helped? Absolutely. And I can still sing those songs, word-for-word, today!

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The Magic of Mistakes Want to Accelerate Your Child’s Foreign Language Learning? Help Them Get Comfortable with Making Mistakes.

We all know that everyone makes mistakes and that it’s a critical part of the learning process. It’s often hard, however, for students to move beyond the fear of embarrassment, especially when schools and testing generally reward being right. And for tweens and teens wanting to impress peers, the risk from making a potentially embarrassing mistake feels even greater.

Image of a girl interacting with tutor in online foreign language lesson in Spanish.When I recently attended the “meet the teacher night” at my daughter’s high school, her Spanish teacher kicked things off by sharing a bit about his philosophy. “I want kids to make mistakes in my class,” he said. “If they aren’t making mistakes, that means they aren’t trying new things. That’s why in my class, I reward mistakes.”

I wanted to hug him. Getting students to feel comfortable making mistakes in front of others can be a real challenge. And my daughter’s teacher was on to something – making mistakes is absolutely critical for foreign language learning.

We all know that everyone makes mistakes and that it’s a critical part of the learning process. It’s often hard, however, for students (especially older ones) to move beyond the fear of embarrassment, especially when schools and testing generally reward being right. And for tweens and teens wanting to impress peers, the risk from making a potentially embarrassing mistake feels even greater.

Continue readingThe Magic of Mistakes Want to Accelerate Your Child’s Foreign Language Learning? Help Them Get Comfortable with Making Mistakes.

PandaTree Transforms Foreign Language Learning with Launch of Proprietary Interactive Technology Platform Built Just for Kids $2 million in seed funding raised to date

 

Palo Alto, CA– November 2, 2017PandaTree Inc., the language learning company, announces the launch of its proprietary interactive foreign language learning platform for kids. The new platform allows students to talk via live video with their PandaTree tutor, while interacting with PandaTree’s proprietary, standards-based language curriculum. The company also announces it has raised an additional $1.5 million in a seed equity round.

The new WebRTC-based platform supports a more interactive and fully integrated curriculum. During lessons students can be doing a virtual 3D tour of a Mayan ruin or the Great Wall of China with their tutor, working on a project, or playing a game. “The new platform boosts learning because students are engaged. We view these innovations as just the start of a much more immersive virtual foreign language learning experience,” says Rich Matsuura, PandaTree co-founder and product lead.

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Is Spanish a Difficult Language to Learn? Part Two False cognates, verb conjugations and other challenges

By Dimaris Barrios-Beltran, PhD and Kristina Klausen, MBA

Image of smiling girl

Have you ever tried to “speak Spanish” by putting a bunch of O’s on the end of English words? If so, you might have noticed this strategy doesn’t take you too far. While there are similarities between English and Spanish, there are also some significant differences that can cause confusion for students at first. Understanding a bit about how Spanish works will help you support your child when it comes to common pitfalls and challenges in learning this language.

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Is Spanish a Difficult Language to Learn? Part One Features that make Spanish easier than you might think

By Dimaris Barrios-Beltran, PhD and Kristina Klausen, MBA

How hard is it for kids to learn a particular foreign language? That is often one of the first questions many parents ask when considering foreign language education for their children. Because Spanish is similar to English in several ways, and because many aspects of Spanish and Latin American culture are familiar to students in the United States, Spanish is considered one of the easier foreign languages for children to learn. In this post we’ll look at some of the features that make Spanish easier for kids to learn, and in part two we’ll look at some of the challenges that Spanish learners face.  Continue readingIs Spanish a Difficult Language to Learn? Part One Features that make Spanish easier than you might think

How to Support Your Immersion Student

Happy young boy working on foreign language homework

Learning a new language is both exciting and challenging, and the younger your child starts a second language, the more easily she will learn to speak it. Immersion programs for children, particularly Spanish and Mandarin, have been growing very rapidly and are often over-subscribed. If your child is lucky enough to be learning a foreign language in an immersion program, you may feel unsure how to support her–especially if you don’t speak the language yourself. Don’t worry. There are ways to help your child on the language-learning journey.

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How Hard is It for Kids to Learn Chinese? Part Two What makes Mandarin challenging: characters, tones, idioms and more

By Kristina Klausen, MBA and Mingyu Sun, Ph.D.

An image of a young Chinese student writing in a notebook.

In Part One of this series we looked at some surprising ways that Mandarin Chinese is easier to learn than other languages. Children learning Mandarin are happy to discover that Mandarin has no verb conjugations and no irregular spelling or grammar. That said, Mandarin has a reputation for being a challenging language – so for parents who are interested in having their children learn Mandarin we’ll take a look at the challenges and how they can be addressed.

Continue readingHow Hard is It for Kids to Learn Chinese? Part Two What makes Mandarin challenging: characters, tones, idioms and more