Preparing for the AP Exams

By Isabella Brady

The AP exams are only a few weeks away! As a pivotal element in receiving college credit, now is a great time to prepare, if you haven’t started already. Here are five tips to help you prepare and manage your time to help promote your best performance.

  1. Review old material first. Managing time on the various sections of curriculum will improve your performance. As advanced placement classes cover a lot of material, reviewing the first few chapters and moving forward will allow you to spend more time on the topics that are less fresh in your mind. 
  2. Reference “Courses and Exams” page on College Board. As College Board administers the AP exams, the “Courses and Exams” page includes integral information in regards to the test you are signed up for. To find this information, choose your AP course, and click on the page entitled “About the Course”. This page includes the dates for the test, and an overview of the units in the course. Additionally, you can view the topics covered, and the percentage of each unit that will be included in the exam; another tool to prioritize studying accordingly. If you visit the page “About the Exam” you can view the schedule, times, and grade percentages each component entails in your final score. If you are tired of reading the textbook, AP classroom also offers some videos taught by AP teachers for each unit in the course—there’s a lot to choose from.
  3. Create a timeline for yourself. Take some time to write a timeline of the major topics in your course, and create deadlines to help you cover everything. This is especially important for classes such as history, to reinforce the sequence of events mentally. Including some key details or formulas will also be a good way to study in broad strokes before the test itself. 
  4. Use an additional study guide for your course. Sometimes the textbook doesn’t go into the detail you will be expected to know on the exam. Ordering a study guide beforehand and just reading the information can help you prepare. Here are some popular brands to research, to see which one is the right fit for you, view the sample pages inside: Barron’s, The Princeton Review, John McCannon, and a myriad of other guides that can be found on Amazon, or at Barnes and Noble. These brands even produce notecards, and MCQ/DBQ/LEQ practice for each unit, which can be purchased separately.
  5. Be patient with yourself. Make sure to take time for yourself! An important part of absorbing the concepts is giving yourself time to think about it. Try to go over topics over time, for optimum understanding. Maintaining a positive attitude, will also encourage you to revisit things you need to spend more time on. Finally, designate times to take breaks, and work on other homework assignments. Taking notecards with you can be a quick way to study topics while traveling, or even during the commercials while watching a tv show!