AP Exam Preparation

Hannah Jaros, Staff Writer

Within the past few years, more students have been enrolled in Advanced Placement classes than ever before and scores of 3 or higher have increased by 70%. Consequently, the college admission process has gotten more and more competitive. With more students succeeding on these exams, the more are applying to colleges. But the fact that a student has taken an AP class does not necessarily make them a desirable applicant. What determines the success of the student is passing the AP test.

The first batch of students will be waking up on May 6th, begrudgingly walking into their gymnasium in a fit of anxiety, waiting for the College Board to eat them alive. Granted, it’s not always this way.

Some students will stroll into the testing room confidently, knowing that they did all they could do to study for their exam. As a nervous test-taker myself, it’s difficult not to be worried about these tests. Doing well on your AP exams will almost guarantee you will get into a good college, save money on introductory classes, and give you the skills you need to succeed in your college classes.

But AP Psychology student has taught me that high levels of anxiety for difficult tasks decreases how well you do. So ideally, you would want to stay as calm as possible.

There are 2 weeks until AP exams, and the best test prep comes early. It would be advisable to gradually increase your amount of studying as the exam gets closer. Devote about 30 minutes a day the first couple days you start studying. As you continue to review, spend an hour or two or three. The key is to not cram.

Cramming all the information into your brain the night before the test is probably the worst thing you could do because you cannot retain that much information at once. On your written responses (FRQs, DBQs, SRQs), you won’t be able to actively recall information, as recognizing (multiple choice questions) is different than recalling.

Additionally, you should start with the things you learned at the beginning of the semester to give you more time to relearn everything you’re not as familiar with.

Quizlets are particularly helpful with this; if you search the chapter you’re looking for, there is a good chance someone has made a Quizlet for it. Better yet, make one yourself! Making it will help you review, and then you can study it for extra practice. Taking out all the papers from your folders and organizing them into units can enable you to divide the content into manageable pieces. You can divide your time according to how many units there are.

Studying with a group can be super beneficial as well. Find a group of friends who are in the same AP classes as you. You can share mnemonics and other memory devices, quiz each other, and compare notes. You could also attend review sessions, as most AP teachers hold them before the exam. Review sessions give you a chance to ask your teacher questions about anything you’re not confident about. If you’re feeling up to it, you can attend every review session your teacher holds.

According to a representation sample of the WTHS student body, the average student will start studying about 2.5 weeks before their AP exam. That is plenty of time to get all of your materials together and review everything before the exam. If you prepare early, everything will be fine! The key is to be confident in your abilities and do your best.

 

Sources:

https://www.collegeboard.org/releases/2018/more-students-than-ever-are-participating-and-succeeding-in-advanced-placement

https://www.princetonreview.com/college-advice/ap-exams

https://www.princetonreview.com/college-advice/test-anxiety

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