AP Exam Study Tips

With a little under a month of school left, AP exams have arrived. COVID-19 has changed a large amount of the school year and this year’s AP exams could be the most stressful to date. Students have not only had less class time than a normal year but the college board has also created a digital version of the exam that many students will be taking this May. Every exam is different but there are many simple but effective tips students can follow to make the most out of the coming weeks and days before their test dates. 

Fill in the gaps:

First, although simple, is to avoid studying what you already know and focus on the material that you do not know or struggle to remember. A year-long class covers a large amount of material and it is important to get a grasp on everything instead of knowing one idea or theme in a complex way. If you have waited until the last few days to study, this is the most important as it is impossible to do well without knowing the basic material. While studying it may feel good to get the questions that you know from a certain period right, but filling in the gaps in your knowledge is the most important. Finding a study partner who is in the same class also may be helpful whether you work together in person or on a video call because of COVID-19.

Practice tests:

AP exams are a lot more than just knowing the content. Practice exams can be extremely helpful to familiarize yourself with the format as well as the style of the test. They are also helpful to determine what you already know and the content that you need to study in the near future. Practice tests can be found in various places on the internet as well as in books available practically anywhere. There are thousands of books featuring practice tests and The Princeton Review is one of the best, including up to six full-length tests as well as a complete content review, it will definitely help with your test taking skills. On the internet, Albert is a great resource because it includes multiple full length practice tests as well as plenty of multiple choice questions for each section or time period. 

Take breaks:

Repeatedly taking practice tests is extremely time-consuming and it is important to remember to take breaks frequently. The brain can only focus on something for a certain amount of time and if it does not have a break to do other needed functions, the studying and practice exams could have little value. Outside of breaks between study periods, it is crucial to eat, drink, and sleep well. Healthy food, drinks, and sleep make an enormous difference for studying, as well as other activities the body is doing every day such as school and sports. 

Vary how you study:

Studying is required if a student wants to do well, but for many people studying is a boring and tedious activity. Repeatedly doing the same thing over and over is far from enjoyable but by changing the study routine or studying in more interesting ways, a student can change their view on studying for exams. Studying is not always reading a textbook continuously and websites such as Quizlet and Khan Academy are perfect for keeping studying interesting as they add games and activities to help keep the student interested in the course material. Many websites, including Khan Academy, can lay out study schedules for people who struggle knowing what and when to study and can help hone in on what is important for their exams. 

Reassure yourself:

It is important not to feel discouraged by the stress and pressure to do well. It is crucial to remember that any time spent studying is beneficial even if you have waited until the last few weeks. Focus on what you do not know to grasp all of the concepts, take as many practice exams as possible without tiring out, and maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the last month of AP exams before summer.

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