Tips for Preparing for the AP Exams

It’s finally time. May has arrived. That oh so dreaded time of the year for the honors student. The time that you’ve been preparing for nearly a year now. The time in which your parents harp on you to keep up your studying and when your teachers attempt to force an entire school year’s worth of review into your cranium in order to prepare you for one of the most important tests of your academic career. It’s A.P. Testing time! Yay! You may feel as if the world is crashing down on you and that you’re going to let everyone down if you don’t pass the now 86$ (pricy no?) exam that could give you college credit or make you feel as if you just wasted a year of hard work and determination. You shouldn’t worry though. You’re an honors student. You’ve been preparing for this test your entire life unintentionally as it may seem. All those advanced courses, that hard work, your good grades. All have trained you for this day. I just recently finished my first AP tests and I passed both of them just fine. So just calm down and take a breather. Here are some tips from one honors student to another.

1. Don’t freak out.

As obvious as it seems don’t let the entire world get you. Tune everything out. This is one of the most stressful times of your life. You are about to take a test that could make the difference of you getting into the college of your dreams or getting rejected. AP teachers are earnestly looking upon their students to do well so they feel complete. Parents are getting at you because they didn’t want their investment to be a waste. Just relax. No one else matters right now. They’re not the ones that are going to take the test. You are and only you. Eat some ice cream. Watch some television. Hang out with friends. Do anything. Simply set your mind on the one goal of passing the test. Focus on passing and you’ll do well.

2. Don’t strive for a five.

This may sound redundant but train yourself to be in a mindset where you’ll be comfortable with scoring a three or four. We’d all love to open that letter from Collegeboard and see that we got a five but if you happen to open that letter and somehow tragically scored a four when you wanted a five you’re just going to devastate yourself. A three is all you need. Nothing more. If you train in the perfect score mindset you’re going to overload yourself with studying and bomb the test when it’s time to take it. Also, don’t worry about colleges that might not grant you class credit just because you scored a three. There are very few colleges that are that picky and the fact that you even passed the AP test with a good score will leave a good impression upon them.

3. Study, but not too much.

There’s a certain state of balance that you need to reach yourself. Of course you could go to workshops, stay up into the late hours of the night bombarding your brain with info, and just decimate your brain or you could just take it easy. You’ve had an entire year to prepare for this test and your AP teachers won’t leave you hanging. Do a modest amount of studying and you’ll be more than ready. All we care about is passing the test. Don’t overload yourself and you can pass the test easy.

4. Remember the basics.

Those basics being the ones that we’ve repetitively been told since we were little. We all know these so I don’t need to go into much detail. Get some sleep. No late night, last minute studying. Eat well before the test. Be prepared both mentally and physically and you’ll be ready for anything.

On test day you’re going to be ready. Don’t worry about the overblown difficulty of the test. If you’ve putting your best effort all year long into your AP class then you’re going to pass this test easy. Of course we need to remember the most self-evident truth and that is don’t procrastinate but with us being honors students we don’t really need to worry about it. Go in on test day and knock that test out. Tests are really long and usually take three hours or so to complete but you’ll be ready. Don’t feel pressured by time limits! You’re given plenty of time to complete your test so don’t worry. After the test, relax! After the AP test there’s not really much to do in the AP classes except go over fun stuff. All that hard work is behind you. Just finish the school year and you’ll be good. If you follow these principles and commit yourself, I guarantee when you get your results in July you won’t be disappointed.