By Summer Mu
As the month of May quickly approaches, so do Advanced Placement (AP) Exams, reputedly the worst few weeks of the school year. Thinking about them is inevitable and while my experience last year wasn’t unexpectedly bad, I have a few tips and pointers that I wish I had listened to earlier.
- Start studying early. Don’t procrastinate.
Trust me, I know this one is hard, but it’s arguably the most important. Last year, I told myself I would start studying two weeks before the exam… that didn’t happen. It’s very common to procrastinate and with normal school work, it’s more manageable because you can talk to your teachers and get extensions. However, the College Board expects you to be ready by your exam date, so it’s important to make sure that you are not falling behind on review. What’s great about HB is that most of your AP classes will dedicate time in class to review and study for its respective exam. Use that. And if you have a class that doesn’t, take initiative! In the end, it’s up to you to have the drive.
- Make a study plan that is viable.
And stick with it. I know you’ve heard this over and over again, but if you don’t make a plan, you’re doomed. It doesn’t matter what style of studying works best for you, but plan out exactly what you want to accomplish each day. I assumed I could get through a full unit of review every day. Don’t assume. Don’t write down more than what you think you can get through. It’s always better to work through more than what you planned rather than less. And not only does that make you feel better and more confident about yourself, but that means you would be working ahead!
- Take advantage of your resources.
AP Exams are hard. For everyone. But you’ve got the resources to ace your exams. It’s simply a matter of fact of if you use them or not. AP Classroom on College Board has daily review videos with problems that you can watch. The Internet also exists! You can find previous exam questions and helpful advice from others as well. HB has also got some of the best resources for you. I remember hearing this all of the time and dismissing it, but HB faculty truly care about you. They are here for you, so anytime you need help with review or have questions about anything, ask for help! Reach out to them, schedule weekly study sessions: in my experience, it can only benefit you.
- If you have multiple exams, figure out which ones are more important to you.
This is something that seems self-explanatory, but it’s difficult to manage. Obviously, it’s a no-brainer that more time should go towards your harder exams. But that’s easier said than done. I know I’m guilty of getting sidetracked and working on the easy stuff first. It gives you more confidence, but I can assure you that there’s no benefit in doing that. If you’re already confident in your skills on a certain subject, spend less time studying for that and more time studying for something else. Additionally, understand the format and curve of each of your exams. Typically, a larger curve means the material is more difficult, but that’s not always the case. Pick the subjects you think you need to spend more time on and focus on.
These few weeks are difficult. Many will say they are not rewarding because it doesn’t take part in your final semester grade. But in retrospect, they matter. It shows an accumulation of what you learned during the school year, and if that’s not convincing, your exam scores can be used for college. There’s a reason you signed up for the AP class, so in the end, it’s what you make of it.