How to Manage AP Exam Stress

exhausted woman with head on keyboard
Julia de Raadt
Julia de Raadt

Julia has dedicated much of her career to education. Since commencing with Empowerly, Julia has looked after the research team which handles student questions on different topics about college admission.

Exam period can be an extremely stressful time for students and AP exams are no exception. When AP exam stress gets the better of us, it can really affect performance. But how do you conquer test nerves? Below are some strategies to remain calm and put your best foot forward during the AP exam period.

1. Prepare

Being well-prepared is one of the best ways to keep your nerves at bay. Going into a test prepared,  can give you peace of mind that you have made a solid effort to do well on the test. Well before the day of your test, you should establish a timetable for covering all the material. Revise the material thoroughly, focusing on areas you have found more challenging. If you need some motivation, seek out a study buddy. Oftentimes talking through the material with someone can be helpful to  remember and cement key ideas. For further study tips read on here.

looking up at sky

2. Breathe

This is particularly helpful on the day of the exam. If anxiety levels increase, employ physical relaxation methods to reduce the stress. Take a deep breath, tense your muscles and release whilst exhaling. If you begin to panic while taking the test because you get stuck or are overwhelmed, take a mental break and visualize yourself focused and calm. When dealing with AP exam stress, it’s important that you don’t give up and maintain a positive attitude.

3. Eat well

This can’t be said enough. I find that when stressed, my appetite plummets and I go off food. For others, stress makes them snack on salty or sugary processed foods. It’s important to resist the temptation and eat healthy. Your brain works best when nourished with healthy food!

4. Stay fit

There is no better way to beat the jitters than with a good workout. Get outside, run/walk/cycle and get your blood pumping. Alternatively head to the gym or attend a dance/workout class. Exercise is a great way to clear your mind and reduce the stress.

5. Get plenty of sleep

Finally, get plenty of sleep. The body not only needs to be nourished to function fully, it also needs rest. Make sure you are clocking between 9 to 9.5 hours of sleep a night (yes, teens need lots of sleep!). Your body and mind are developing, so you need to keep up on the sleep to make sure you can perform at your best.

Want more advice from us on how to prepare for AP exams or AP course selection? Contact us below and we can discuss your options when working with a college counseling company that believes in you.

Questions? Let us know!