By Stanley Xu
When entering high school, students are faced with a new selection of courses known as AP, created by the College Board. These courses provide high school students with college-level coursework and exams. Students who perform well on the exams may be given placement and course credit by American colleges and institutions. Students learn the AP curriculum of the course they’ve selected, and prepare for an exam in the month of May every school year. Here are some tips to be prepared for when exam day comes:
Make a study/review plan.
Around 1-2 months before your exam, you should consider creating a study plan that covers all of the material you’ve learned throughout the year. Examine your syllabus or the course review available on the college board’s official website. Plan out how you’ll cover and review all of the course material in the weeks leading up to the exam in May using these resources. Your teacher will most likely also suggest a review plan that they’ve created for your class.
Find and use review materials/resources.
You can find review books for your AP course online and at nearby bookstores. Looking over parts of the review book every day along with the textbook notes you may have from class can be part of the daily routine you make for yourself in preparation for the exam. Almost all review books include one or more practice exams that you can use to assess your knowledge of the course material. A good tip is to try to do at least one practice test or even just a few questions or prompts for each unit of the course you review. Don’t forget about the commonplace resources you have at your disposal, such as Google and YouTube. College Board also provides videos on each unit and the countless topics within each one. Here are some more tips and resources to use!
Familiarize yourself with the structure of the exam and the rubric for it.
You should know not only what will be on the exam, but also how it will be formatted. The majority of the exams are 2-3 hours long and include both a multiple-choice and a free-response section. Between these two sections, there is usually a short break for you to rest. The multiple-choice test is similar to any other multiple-choice test you’ve taken in school thus far. Each question for the free-response section has its own criteria for grading, which changes based on the course. Make sure you understand the rubric and how you can utilize it to earn all the points there are.
Prepping for exam day.
Don’t try to cram content into your head up until the last day. Spend the last few days before your exam date filling in any gaps you have about the content and reviewing any questions you still have about specific topics. Of course, it’s important to get good nights of sleep leading up to exam day. The night before, make sure you pack enough writing utensils and other tools you may require.
Day of the exam.
When the time comes to take the test, remember to pace yourself and keep track of the time. Try to answer as many questions as possible, and don’t spend too much time on any one question. If you don’t know the answer, make the best guess you can with what you do know. Even if you don’t understand the content, don’t let it get to you; be positive and push through the exam.
Try your best, and hope you get that 5!