AP exam advice and schedule

Schedule below story


Christy Ma

A mountain of textbooks with an anxious stick figure. AP season brings about stress for many high-school students.

AP exam season is notorious among high-school students, especially as a stressor. This year, exams will take place between May 6 through May 17, and they will be located at St. Paul’s Catholic Church.

Students are excused from school for the entire day, which contrasts last year where students had to come to school before or after their exams.

“AP exams are long and stressful,” school counselor Elizabeth Lucas said. “Sometimes there wasn’t enough time for (students) to take their exam, get lunch and then get back here. When they did get back here, they were exhausted. Students with an afternoon exam were distracted all day anyways. So (leadership) decided students do not have to be at school this year.”

The days precluding will be filled with last-minute studying and sleep-deprived students; however, there are some strategies and advice to make the AP season pass by frictionlessly.

Most teachers give students study guides and review in class, but some students feel as that is not enough. If you desire to prepare beyond the given material, it can help to organize a chart of key materials. The chart can be a mental checklist; however, the process of writing down information helps some students retain it better.

For science and history classes, it may be helpful to create a flowchart to see how all the ideas, concepts and events connect with each other. Seeing discoveries and causes link in a cause-and-effect chart can spark a eureka moment in some students.

For language and math classes, it is best to just practice. Khan Academy and Duolingo offers practice for an array of subjects, as well as review for any topics that are rusty. Reading books, even fun fictional books or audiobooks, can improve English skills as grammar rules can become familiar and intuitive.

For math and science classes, while a surface-level understanding can certainly get you a five on exams, it greatly helps to have a deeper understanding of why everything works together. Having a greater understanding of the subject can help students derive formulae or reason out answers without having to spend any time studying, although studying is still critical. While some students are able to conceptualize effortlessly, most students can benefit from one-on-one tutoring with their teachers, or even consult tutors and professionals to get a deeper grasp on the materials.

For all classes, Quizlet study guides can help with the memorization of vocabulary. There are already a large library of AP study guides for most, if not all, AP classes on Quizlet.

Effective study tips varies person to person. While it is important to take study advice, it is even more important to be adaptable and use trial and error to understand what works for you as an individual.

Preparing for the exam regarding material is important, but it is even more important to prepare yourself mentally. It is important to get enough sleep, to be confident about your skill level and to put the test into perspective.

“Sometimes students make (AP exams) bigger than it needs to be,” school counselor Michael Marshall said. “They take that paper test that is neither positive nor negative, it’s just an inanimate object, and they assign a level of fear, dread or consequence to that paper that just wants to know (if they) know the answers. The less they stress about that, the better they will do.”

It is important to put the exams into perspective; it is easy to assign personal worth on a test measuring skill and competency on subjects, but one off day or bad exam does not say anything about character or understanding.

“The worst thing that can happen is that they enter college as a freshman,” Lucas said. “Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do anyway? It doesn’t hurt you to not do well. Just take a deep breath and be okay with (your) effort. (You) will be okay, regardless of a one, two, three, four or five.”

College Board
AP exam schedule