AP Exam Tips

Sarah Frank
Published on
April 26, 2023

AP exams are on the horizon- how can you improve your shots at a 5 on the AP exams?

1) Answer every question - There is no downside to answering, you won't lose points! Even if you don't have enough time to read them, answer them all.

2) Look at the weight of each section of the exam. Some units of a class make up less than 10% of the test questions.

3) Use active recall. This ensures your ability to actually bring the information to mind. Check out our article on it here.

4) Ask your teachers last-minute questions. No shame in asking them to clarify things that you don't understand!

5) Use pneumonics, jokes, and rhymes to help you remember. No shame in using sillier techniques to aid your memory.

6) Come prepared. Bring water, a snack, extra pencils, etc. Don't forget extra batteries if you need a calculator!

7) If you have a choice of seating, sit where you will feel the least distracted. For me, this is in the corner of a classroom.

8) Bring and drink water, but use the bathroom right before the exam so it won't distract you during.

9) Look at example essays/answers and their grading keys to see how AP exams are graded. It's interesting- points are assigned for specific mentions and connections. CollegeBoard has many examples!

10) Mark up the exam to the extent you can-- decide on symbols to mean whatever you want (for example, to come back to a question) and underline the important parts of a question.

11) Understand what the question is asking by looking at the verb. Are you supposed to analyze, critique, argue?

12) Get extra sleep. Cliche, I know, but it really helps.

13) Take graded practice exams, preferably through Khan Academy or something aligned with the CollegeBoard curriculum.

14) Wear comfy clothes for the exam so you don't have to worry about discomfort (mental discomfort, maybe...)

15) Don't be too hard on yourself-- these are HARD exams!

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