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Worldwide Virtual Study Session Prepares HSA McKinley Students for AP Psychology Exam

Posted on: May 18, 2020
This is the seventh in a series of inspiring stories of innovation and success with distance learning from charter public schools in Illinois. You can read more here

Everything is different about AP exams this year, including how students prepare for the rigorous tests. The AP Psychology exam is scheduled for the week of May 18 and students at Horizon Science Academy McKinley Park Charter School (HSA McKinley) prepped for the test by meeting with students around the world to learn best practices and share study tips for acing the 2020 exam.

Through a Facebook group for AP Psychology teachers, Lizzie Moss, who teaches the subject at HSA McKinley, found that educators were connecting students from all corners of the world via Zoom to prepare for the May exam, which will be delivered online in an open-notes format. Moss soon got to work linking her students up with an AP Psychology class in Hong Kong, led by instructor Edmund Li. Students from Texas, Indiana, and other states joined in as well.

Once a time was set for the Zoom call during spring break, the student-led worldwide study session was underway, with students discussing all they learned about social, cognitive, and developmental psychology and different psychological theories.  Breakout sessions came with push-up challenges, contests for telling the funniest joke, and plenty of exam prep mixed in. The Zoom call not only helped students study for the AP test, but showed them that high schoolers around the world are adjusting to new learning systems during the pandemic, making remote learning a collective experience for this generation.

“It was a good experience to learn about what other students do to prepare for the exam as well as learn about their culture and school,” said Arlina, a junior at HSA McKinley and one of seven students in Moss’ class.

In addition to scheduling the virtual study group, Moss provided her students with practice tests, vocabulary sheets, and reading guides to prepare them for the AP exam. She’s proud of her students for their continued commitment to the class and the enthusiasm they show each week the group meets virtually. As a teacher who has spent the majority of her time asking students to get off their devices, virtual learning and connecting with the class in Hong Kong has motivated her to look for new ways to embrace technology.

“I look forward to utilizing this connection [with students around the world] in the future, even after the pandemic is over and I’m looking for new ways for students to use technology to their benefit,” said Moss.


Horizon Science Academy McKinley Park is a public charter school serving students in grades K-12. It provides its students with an innovative world class education, rich in math, science and technology focused on preparing students to become bold inquirers, problem solvers and ethical leaders, skill-ready for post-secondary education to meet the challenges of a competitive global workforce.