How to Prepare for AP Exams

As we enter April, Advanced Placement exams are on the horizon and students are feeling tense. Many students are frantically flipping through flashcards, textbooks, and notes, attempting to memorize the concepts that were taught this year. So, here are a few tips to feel prepared and confident before taking the exams.

If you are taking one or more AP classes, it is recommended that you begin preparing for exams early. Begin by creating a realistic schedule for yourself and seeing when you can dedicate time to studying. If you happen to create an unrealistic schedule, this can lead to feeling overwhelmed and unproductive.

Here are some questions you can consider when coming up with a practical plan:
How much time can you commit to studying per day?
What time can you study? Ex. 5-6 p.m.
How many more days are there before exam day?
Do you feel most productive during the morning, afternoon, or night?

These questions can help you plan a sensible schedule while juggling other AP classes and allocate a decent amount of time to studying every day.

When you feel assured with your plan, consider where you feel most comfortable and motivated to study. Your studying place should be a quiet environment such as a library or your room. Also, your desk should be cleared out with only the materials you need for studying. So put that phone away unless you are using it as a timer!

Then, you can start going over old material or concepts you have learned in class that you are not familiar with. This allows a refreshed memory while looking at notes that were taken in class. To help with memorization, view old tests, notes, class syllabus, and the AP Exam requirements.

Another way to boost your knowledge is by investing in an AP prep book. Some resourceful textbooks are Barron’s and the Princeton Review which give you various questions and texts to examine and attain test-taking skills based on what AP class you are currently in. Additionally, there are digital practice exams available through CollegeBoard that your teacher can assign. Most importantly, ask your teacher if they can assist you with any concepts you are unsure about.

Make sure you keep a record of your progress and write down the topics you reviewed so that you can look back on them. By doing this, you can view how much you’ve progressed over time and gain self-confidence for the test.

Remember that every student has their own way of studying and understanding the topics that are taught. Don’t feel ashamed or compare yourself to other students based on how they prepared for the exams. You put time and effort into AP classes this entire school year, so be proud of yourself!

As you are prepping, check in with your mental health. Make sure you aren’t feeling burnt out. During this time of the school year, students are feeling swamped with schoolwork, so make time for things you love to do outside of school. Self-care is another important aspect for your brain and body to succeed in your studies. So take a deep breath and affirm yourself that you can do this!