AP Exams Tips & Tricks

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It's the last full week of April, which means that AP exams are right around the corner for everyone in high school! Last year was my first year taking AP exams (AP Literature and AP United States History) as I did not take any AP classes sophomore year. I learned a few tips and tricks during the week last year that really helped in terms of studying and stress management so I figured I would share those with y'all today. Whether you're taking your first AP exam this year or you're a veteran when it comes to AP testing, these tips should help!

Start studying early
Haven't started yet? Now is probably a good time to start! Not only does studying early help you learn the material better, it also reduces stress since you aren't going to have a "I know nothing and I'm going to fail" freakout the night before the exam.

Utilize review books or videos
On Amazon, you can find review books for every AP course and they honestly help so much. All the ones I've used recap the content you should know for the AP exam and serve as a nice refresh for your studying. Last year, I used Crash Course videos all the time for my AP US History class and definitely recommend them. They have all sorts of subjects and break down each course into 15 minute videos that, as the name suggests, teach you everything you need to know about that topic. I haven't used them as much this year just because of the classes I'm taking but they are a great free (!!) study tool!

Review in the way that works best for you
Don't force yourself to study in a way that doesn't work for you because 1. you're not going to learn the material as well 2. it wastes your time. If you've been doing well in your class all year, study for the AP exam the same way you study for any other exam.

Make sure you have everything you need
Do you need a pencil for your exam? Pen? Both? Look up everything you need (you can usually find it on College Board's site) and put it into your bag. 

Get enough sleep the night before the exam
In all of my AP classes, my teachers heavily stress this. All of the studying you did will not pay off if you're sleep deprived so be sure to head to bed early even if it means losing a bit of studying time. As every teacher loves to say, "If you haven't learned it by now, you won't learn it" so you may as well get some sleep!

If you don't drink coffee regularly, don't drink it the morning of the exam
Sticking to your routine is key here. If you don't drink coffee everyday, the morning of an AP exam isn't a great time to start because if you're not used to that much caffeine, you may be jittery which won't help when taking the test.

Dress comfortably and in layers
We're allowed to dress down for AP testing so I definitely recommend that you dress comfortably. At my school, we always take AP tests in the gym, which sometimes can get very cold, even in May! Be sure to know where you will take the test and plan what you wear around that. Last year, I wore norts, a tee, a pullover, and sneakers for both of my exams.

Plan something fun for after the exam
After approximately four hours of testing and countless hours of studying, you deserve to do something fun afterwards to celebrate. My entire class usually goes out to lunch afterwards since we don't have to go back to class and it's always so fun! 

Any tips you would add? Let me know in the comments!

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