Imagine you’re set to compete in a running race in the mountains of Switzerland; what would you do to prepare? Certainly, you’d train in advance, order plane tickets, reserve a hotel room, and buy the necessary equipment (shoes, good running shorts, stylish socks). You’d do everything in your power to set yourself up for success.
The same goes for an AP exam. Before you start the course, the subject matter and workload may seem out of reach. But careful learning, studying, and planning can lead you to success. If you’ve had a good AP teacher, you know you’re not alone in your preparation. But on the day of the exam, it’ll just be you and the exam. How can you prepare for test day?
- Study early: Just as you need to train to run a race, you should establish study habits that you can continue up through just before test day. Study consistently, review your notes carefully, and review test answers to figure out how to do your best.
- Find a good study group: Having a good group of fellow students to work with means you can check their notes, work together to make study guides, and quiz each other to make sure you know the material well. If you’re ever sick, you have someone to get class notes from too!
- Really test your knowledge: Too often when studying, students assume if they know the answer quickly, they know the right answer. This is not always true. Studying with a friend, a study group, or a parent can help you eliminate those gaps in understanding. Strengthening your understanding can lead to a higher score!
- Schedule your study times: Plan out times and calendar them to prioritize your studying 4-6 weeks before the exam. If you are taking multiple exams, set a day or two of each week about a month before the test date to spend quality study time on each subject.
- Use the Pomodoro technique: This popular method helps you to study more efficiently. To use this method:
- Set up your workspace and prepare to study for your AP exam
- Set a timer for 25 minutes
- Focus completely on your studying; do not let yourself be interrupted at all
- Take a break for 25 minutes
- Repeat this up to 4 times
- Now take 25-30 minute break
Essentially, this prepares you to focus on a task for 25 minutes at a time. If you would like to, you can study for 50 minute intervals with a 10 minute break instead.
- Focus on studying: You have probably seen the social studier who spends time chatting or online instead of actually reviewing notes and past tests. You may have also seen the sleepy studier who either snores on his or her text book or stares ahead blankly. Neither method will get the ideas in your head. Study effectively through focusing, quizzing yourself, rewriting ideas, or correcting test questions. And of course, remember to do practice questions for your AP course so you are really ready.
Best wishes to you on test day. If you’ve prepared well, you can succeed. Hopefully, these tips provide a helpful starting.
For more information on how AP students can get into their colleges of choice, meet with one of us to talk it out!