6 Tips to Help You Ace Your AP Exams
As the month of May approaches, students across the country are preparing for the long-dreaded month full of AP exams. Whether you have one or even 10 AP exams to take this year, it is important that you are prepared to take them with confidence.
Are you here because you are determined to pass your exams but unsure of how to do so? Well, you have come to the right place.
I have passed my AP exams in my previous years in high school and am confident I will continue to do so. However, it was never easy for me to pass them.
Like you, my journey in preparing for AP exams is filled with hardships and challenges, including test anxieties. Nevertheless, I never gave in to those obstacles, and I found ways to overcome those challenges. It is not impossible to get a passing score. If I can do it, so can you.
Having experienced what it feels like to take AP exams, I want to break down various study tips and tricks that will set you up for success, not only with your AP tests but also with other exams.
Create A Study Schedule
Creating a realistic study schedule that will accommodate all your exams and other activities and tasks is essential.
Pulling all-nighters the day before a test just to cram all the material you need to know to pass the exam is a situation we’re all too familiar with.
The best solution for this is to space out your studying in smaller chunks. This allows your brain to absorb more information and overcome the forgetting curve.
Use a planner or online calendar to plan out your study times. Make sure to schedule them at the time where you feel most comfortable and productive studying. It is suggested that you study at least six hours per week or about 1 hour per day. Of course, you are more than welcome to study more than that if you feel it is necessary.
Understand What Is Being Tested
Students often study for a test without even knowing what material they are being tested on. Take the time to look over what is being evaluated to make sure you aren’t wasting your time studying unnecessary information, and speak to your teacher to ensure you’re on the right track.
Most, if not all, of the AP courses, are on the CollegeBoard website. There, you can find the content that you should know that will help you plan the content to better focus your studies.
College Board also has their own series on YouTube where you can watch teachers guide you through content that focuses on what you need to know for your exams while teaching test-taking strategies.
Understanding what you’re being tested on will help you study more efficiently and avoid studying things you don’t need to know.
Review The Content
This tip is straightforward yet important because you need to know the content to pass the test. Simple as that.
Study key concepts and important ideas. Make sure you know several specific examples in case you need to prove something or make a reference. For example, if you are taking the AP World History exam, make sure you know how to contextualize and connect ideas within or across time periods. This can be done easily when you know the content well.
Use flashcards, revise your notes, highlight key concepts, and watch review videos. Do what you know is best for you. If you are a visual learner, draw out concepts. If you are an auditory learner, listen to and watch videos. In essence, get to know what works best for you and what does not, and be sure to adjust accordingly.
Practice Test-Taking Strategies
This is important when it comes to ensuring that you pass the test and reduce any test-induced anxiety. Practicing test-taking strategies will help you remember the content you have studied more effectively while getting you more comfortable with the way you take exams.
Make sure that when you are taking mock tests to treat it like the actual test. Get enough sleep, wake up early and eat a nice breakfast, and hydrate yourself. Whatever you think you need to do on the actual test, be sure to do that when you take practice tests.
Your brain needs to process tons of information, and to do so effectively, you must take care of your health and well-being.
One of my recommendations is to take frequent breaks. I use the Pomodoro Technique when studying because it enables me to focus on my studying and tasks without getting distracted, and it allows me to take breaks and prevent burnout.
Make sure to set aside time for yourself, whether it be meditation, a walk, or a nice warm bath. Most importantly, GET ENOUGH SLEEP. Your brain processes all the information you learned that day when you are sleeping. All your hard work will go to waste if you don’t get enough sleep.
You will thank yourself later if you take care of yourself now. Plus, you will be more efficient if you are well-rested since you’ll remember more information about what you studied.
Cultivate a Positive Mindset
I have found this especially challenging. We’ve all gone through a phase when we lacked the motivation to do anything, andd I am here to tell you that it’s okay to feel that way and that those thoughts and emotions are valid.
It can be hard to maintain a positive mindset, especially when you are overwhelmed with so many tasks and exams. But understand that these AP exams are opportunities and they cannot hurt you in any way. If you do not end up passing an exam, don’t beat yourself up because colleges won’t see that you failed them unless you choose to send your scores. You can choose to only send passing scores, and even then, you are not obligated to do so.
There are many more opportunities out there, and I am sure you will be successful in the future whether or not you pass your exams.
Build up courage and confidence and remember what motivates you the most. Be sure to find a support system through your family and friends. People care for you and know that no matter what the outcome of your exam is, at the end of the day, it is not the end of the world.
I hope these tips helped you. Don’t be afraid to take risks and remember that these exams do not dictate your capabilities as an individual. Best of luck!
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