Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: Cerebellum Corporation, Light Speed Writing

May. 'Tis the season of AP (Advanced Placement) exams. At risk of divulging too much about my sorry high school education, let me just say that I had no idea what AP exams were until I was already out of college. I've since made it a point over the last couple of years to educate myself on AP exams before my oldest reaches high school. If you are a bit fuzzy on the details, you may be interested in reading a previous post on AP Exams and Courses for Homeschoolers.

I had been familiar with Cerebullum Corporation as a producer of the popular Standard Deviants educational program. These fun and thorough DVDs, described as "a cross between Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live" have been enjoyed in our home. However, I was not aware that this same company had another line of educational programs, Light Speed. Each member of the Crew received an Advanced Placement program DVD on various subjects from the Light Speed line. I received Light Speed Writing, which covers how to prepare for the AP* English Language & Composition exam.

Light Speed Writing comes with two components, a digital workbook and a video program. The 1-hour long video program is broken into three sections: Taking the Test, Writing the Essays, 30 in 30.

The Taking the Test section covers the basic format of the exam, how to prepare, and how to approach each question type. The Writing the Essays section guessed it...writing the essays! Explanation of the structure of an essay, how to improve essay writing, and the different types of writing are covered in this section. Lastly, the 30 in 30 section flies through 30 topics needed for the AP* English Language & Composition exam in 30 minutes.

The included Digital Workbook is a PDF file of 20 pages. It includes handouts, viewing worksheets (to use while watching the DVD), activities, worksheets and a check your knowledge section.

Viewing the below clip will give an idea of the presentation format used in all of the DVDs.

As you can see, the topics are presented in a fun and light manner by young adults, rather than a droning instructor.

While this program is certainly not a stand-alone exam preparation course, I felt it was a great supplemental resource to prepare for an AP exam. It is meant as a quick overview of what the student should have studied over the course of the year, with last minute tips and suggestions. I imagine it would help ease pre-exam jitters and serve as a refresher just prior to exam day. It might even be worthwhile to watch in the fall, before AP coursework is even started, to give the student an idea of where they should be at come May when the AP exams are administered.

Regularly priced at $14.98, Light Speed Writing is currently on sale for $11.24, along with the other 31 titles in the Light Speed line. To purchase a Light Speed DVD or one from other educational series available, please visit the Cerebellum website.

There are currently four Light Speed AP* preparation titles. All four titles were sent out to the Crew, so be sure to visit the TOS Homeschool Crew's official blog to read up on the other subject areas.

Disclaimer: This review was provided as a result in my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Crew. I was provided the product free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I strive to give a balanced overview of each product, detailing my opinion of both pros and cons and how the product worked for my family. What works for one family may not work for another. I encourage you to read reviews of other Crew members and research sufficiently to determine if any product will be a benefit to your homeschool.

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