8 Tips to Help You Ace those AP Exams

Emma Quinn
Published on
May 21, 2021

If you’re a high schooler, May only means one thing: AP exams. Although they were online this year, this sudden change only brought about more anxiety within the student body.

CollegeBoard plans to have in-person exams in 2021, but there is still a lot of uncertainty. To give you a bit of ease, here are a few things you can do to bump that four up to a five this upcoming AP season.

1) Start early!

The sooner you begin to study, the better prepared you’ll be in May. Reviewing information regularly will help you so much more than cramming everything in your brain the days leading up to the exam.

The hard-core studying should take place even months before the exam. After this, skimming through the material during the weeks leading up to the exam will often suffice.

2) Get study materials!

You might see those green Barrons books everywhere, but they do the trick. Whether it be the Princeton Review, five steps to 5, Kaplan, or more, these books are specifically made to prepare you for the AP exam.

They are often written by people who help make the test, so getting information directly from them can help a lot. There are also flashcards and online resources that work well if you’re more comfortable with that.

3) Take practice tests!

You can never take too many. Many websites and CollegeBoard offer pdfs of past exams that you can take and grade on your own for free. They can also show past student’s answers and how the graders decided what score to give them. The more recent tests will often be the closest to your future AP exam, but most of the time, the material generally stays the same.

It helps to put yourself in a test setting(no phones, quiet background, a time limit) so you’ll know what to expect the day of the actual exam.

4) Look over old quizzes/tests.

In AP classes, your teachers will often give you old AP questions on your quizzes and exams. Going back to your tests throughout the year and looking over your answers can give you a picture of what to expect on the upcoming AP exam.

5) Consider getting a tutor.

If you can afford it, sometimes having extra one-on-one time with someone who has experience with the topic can go a long way.

6) Recognize that you will need to make sacrifices.

Even taking one AP is a lot, but many who take multiple can find the stress overwhelming. To get a good score, you have to realize that compromising is necessary. You may not be able to go out with your friends some nights, but think about how much fun you’ll have with them when your exams are over.

7) Watch videos!

Since AP exams were online this past year, CollegeBoard put out daily videos for every single AP test. They’re very detailed and are still up to this day! Current teachers of the course teach them, so it’s basically like having a second instructor!

8) Go to review sessions!

Teachers will often hold review sessions the weeks or days leading up to the exam. I can’t recommend going to them enough. Even if you don’t necessarily have any questions, the extra time going over the material can only help you, and you might get answers to questions you didn’t even know you had.

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