Survival Guide to AP Exams


[ot-caption title=”Fretting about the lurking AP exams next week? Have no fear- we have tips that’ll set you on the path to a 5. (via, Julia Morrissey, freshman)”]

With AP exams just around the corner, students around Pine Crest are seen with piles of review books, textbooks, pens, highlighters, and gallons of coffee as they try their hardest to get every last piece of information embedded into their minds before their daunting exams. From May 2nd to the 13th, cumulative exams for all AP courses will be administered by College Board that test the students’ abilities to apply their knowledge built up from semester-long or year-long curricula. This is an intense time for students, mostly upperclassmen who bear as many as seven AP exams, so it is important to stay composed and healthy over the next two weeks. Here are five tips to insure that you’ll be well-prepared by the time you sit down in Stacy Auditorium in May.

Tip 1: The trick to acing any exam is putting in the work. If you have been studying throughout the year for various assessments, then you should be fine. But if not, you have a lot of work to do in preparation within the next week. Just getting the work done does not automatically mean that you’ll score you a five; you have to be motivated, focused, and prepared to spend time learning important concepts that will definitely be on the exam. Personally, when it comes to studying, I like to find and practice past AP questions in order to prepare myself for the testing style. I try to find patterns within the exams from various years and do multiple diagnostic tests to see where I am and what topics I need to spend more time on. Sophomore Rebecca Kay states, “This year I will be taking my first two AP exams, so I will have to put in a lot of time reading the textbooks, review books, and my notes from the year.”

Tip 2: Don’t cram.  By now, you should have already purchased a review book for each exam you are planning to take. These books provide you with tricks on how to score better and studying techniques that you can incorporate into your daily routine. Junior Dani Swords says, “I am taking the Calculus AB, Psychology, Government and Politics, and Literature AP exams in the next couple of weeks. In preparing for the tests, I bought review books to study from and plan to collaborate with my classmates as well.” Dani is on the path to success because she started her studying early and knows that she will not have to rely on cramming everything in at the last minute.

Tip 3: Know your exam inside and out. You should know what styles of questions the College Board may ask and how to prepare and answer each of them. Tests may include a combination of different question styles such as multiple choice, long essays, document-based questions, and free response questions to test a student’s analytical skills rather than their ability to memorize facts.

Tip 4: Collaborate. Working together with teachers and other students is a great way to have a better understanding of the material. Do not be afraid to ask questions in class about topics you do not understand. Learn all major units and be able to apply your understanding to other lessons that you have learned throughout the year. At this point in the year, you should have already developed relationships with your peers and teachers outside of class in study sessions or extra help; if not, take advantage of your teachers’ extra help options and maximize the amount of aid you can get while relearning past lessons.

Tip 5: Stay relaxed. In order to do well, you must get a proper amount of sleep the night before and focus on each question separately throughout the exam. Set a goal for yourself and try to attain it by the time you take the AP exam. Oh, and don’t be afraid to eat a few pints of ice cream along the way.  Nothing seems to be more calming during exam studies than a good pint of Ben and Jerry’s!

Remember: Study hard, stay focused, and you’ll do well. Good luck everyone!