Testing Tips for the Nervous AP Student

By: Eliza Partika

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    AP Testing. It is the bane of the high schooler’s existence, the devil waiting to burn us all alive as we reach the light of summer at the end of the bottomless tunnel of high school. At the mention of the tests we are filled with mounting dread and utter hopelessness, because most of us know that we haven’t glanced at a study book once, and there’s only a month left. I’ll tell you a secret. It isn’t that bad. That is, won’t be too bad if you follow these simple steps to a 5. (Hopefully).

 

DON’T PANIC. Unless you haven’t studied or paid attention in class, you know what you’re doing. Relax and do your best. (If you are guilty of not paying attention, pay particular attention to the second bit of advice.)

 

STUDY. Even if you think you can recite the entirely of Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” backwards or spit out the dates of every major battle in the Civil War and who won, you aren’t fully prepared without practicing.

  • How to study:
    • I would suggest studying a topic a day, making sure to brush up on some multiple choice questions and strategies. Writing an essay a day can be helpful too – I know, you hate writing – but writing is the only way to get better at forming your ideas succinctly, which is especially important since you will be under a strict time limit during the writing portion of the test.
    • Focus on the things that you had the most trouble with during the course, and the things that will make up the majority of your exam. By focusing on problem areas and on areas that will dominate the exam, you are guaranteeing yourself enough knowledge to pass at the very least.

ORGANIZATION IS KEY: Give yourself enough time to study everything – this is one exam where cramming doesn’t serve you well. Spring Break is a great time to study, since you aren’t bound by any school related obligations. However, don’t study so much that you don’t leave some time for enjoyment. Studying without breaks fatigues your brain and can actually decrease your ability to absorb information after a certain amount of time. By balancing your free time and studying time, you will keep your sanity, at least a small part of it, and you won’t go into the exam like a zombie.

 

PREP BOOK SUGGESTIONS: Princeton Review, Barron’s, 5 Steps to a Five

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