It’s finally the time of year when seniors begin to commit to the colleges of their choice and face the fruition of their month-long battle with college applications. On top of this, they must all recognize the monumental price of college, which according to College Board, has nearly tripled since 1989. But hidden amongst all of the fines and fees, there’s the saving grace of AP credits. By taking AP tests in high school, you can essentially earn college credits, those of which will help you bypass lower-level college courses, all in all saving you money. AP testing is limited though, with many colleges only accepting scores of 4 and 5. To ace your tests this year and save the cost of that class to buy half of a textbook, The Hummer has compiled a list of tip and tricks.
How to get ready for the big day:
Eat a good breakfast – It sounds cliche, but it’s true! By eating a well-balanced breakfast in the morning, or really anything for that matter, the blood in your brain starts to circulate, essentially waking up from its recent night of sleep. An active brain is the best kind of brain to have during your AP test, especially if it’s first thing in the morning. And don’t forget to bring snacks to your test! There will be a break in between the two sections of your test, and a quick snack and some water will help you keep up your stamina to crush the other half.
Start studying early on – realistically, the longer you study for the better you’ll perform on the test = Just a small review session every day leading up to your test can make all the difference. Take five minutes before bed to review those AP Psych flashcards or five minutes at the beginning of Beaverlodge. Making a study schedule can help with this immensely, and keep you on track to your goals. By starting early, you won’t feel pressured or stressed when test week comes around, and you’ll likely avoid the last minute cram session that so many students find ourselves in.
Practice, practice, practice – Whether you’ve taken an AP test before or have never even seen the formatting of one, it is vital to get in test practice prior to the big day. Your AP teacher is guaranteed to have some practice testing materials, and if those aren’t enough, the College Board releases their tests from previous years and posts them on their website for the public. Test prep can help you understand the ins and outs of how you should manage your time and energy throughout the testing period, and by adding it into your daily prep schedule, the big day will feel like another practice run that you’ll attack with the utmost confidence.
Ask questions! – Your AP teachers are all here to help you succeed, so don’t be afraid to ask them questions about the test. Most teachers have taken practice tests and have even gotten the inside scoop from teachers who grade the FRQ’s and essays for College Board, so they’ll likely have some special or secret testing tips for the test that they’re for.
Answer every question on the test – Be smart about your testing and answer every question that is presented to you, even if you don’t know the answer. No points can be subtracted for getting a wrong answer, so why not shoot your shot?
Start with the easy questions – When you’re scanning through the multiple choice section, it’s okay to go out of order, and sometimes it can even be more helpful. Answer the easiest questions first, that way you can lay a good foundation of your knowledge and feel confident about your answers, before moving on to the more challenging questions. Questions further into the test might also provide information that will help you answer some of the harder questions that you initially skipped, so keep your eye out for tidbits of information within every question.
Study selectively – AP classes cover a wide range of materials, so it’s best to be familiar with what information will be prioritized and most prominent on the test. College Board and test prep books can help give you the rundown about what units will show up the most on the test, allowing you to study smarter and more selectively.
Stay calm – There’s nothing worse than being completely stressed out on the day of your test. Do your best to sit back and relax, and know that all your preparation and hard work will pay off. You go this!!
AP testing in action. Photo courtesy of College Board