As we enter the fourth quarter of school, Advanced Placement (AP) College Board exams near. Depending on the subject, AP exams may include a multiple-choice, writing, or presentation component, totaling a two to three-hour test. In passing these exams, high school students can spice up their resumes and earn college credit. This year, the AP exam testing window spans from May 3rd to June 11th. As the class of 2024 will be sitting for their first AP exam within the next two months, the upperclassmen wanted to pass along some tips they’ve learned throughout their years of testing. Click on any of the numbered tips below for a drop-down of all the juicy details.
1. There are free resources to help.
A lot of students struggle to study for AP exams because they don’t know where to start. Looking back at all the information your teacher taught throughout the year can be overwhelming. However, there are many free and easily accessible websites for AP class content. For instance, youtube, an app almost every teen has, is a helpful resource that provides review videos and study guides for any AP subject. Others will rely on the infamous John Green and watch crash courses. Students can also make a Khan Academy account and sign up for a specific AP class. Khan gives you access to study material for the same units the exam will test. Each unit has in-depth videos, practice quizzes, step-by-step articles, and unit tests. Lastly, many students don’t know that the College Board provides course-specific AP Daily Videos by trained professionals on their website. Once again, all for FREE!!
Junior Aucianna Seus shares her go-to study resource is Fiveable. She uses their cram sheets that “exactly summarizes what you need to know” for the AP exam. Fiveable also provides practice FRQs/DBQs, live trivia battles, and more AP test prep resources to help you get a five.
2. The days before the test are just as important as the actual test.
Although it is essential to study for the AP exams, pulling all-nighters to review isn’t the best idea. The last thing you want is to be half asleep during your exams because you spent the previous nights cramming. This advice may sound obvious, but many students will need the reminder: study during the day and sleep during the night. Besides, a good test taker doesn’t just need sleep but proper food. Try your best to eat something filling and nutritious for breakfast on testing day. As mentioned, AP exams usually last three hours. I don’t think you nor the students testing around you want to hear your stomach put on a concert.
Senior Omar Alvarez wants to tell everyone taking an AP exam this year to “get proper sleep, eat a good healthy meal, and STUDY.”
3. Don’t just study the material, learn the layout of the test.
No AP exam layout is the same. It’s essential to realize excelling on the test doesn’t just mean learning the content but understanding the time limits and section breakdowns. You can find all of this information on the College Board website: collegeboard.org. Once you know the layout, you can time yourself practicing the components of your test. Taking a two to three-hour practice AP exam may seem dreadful, but there’s no better way to practice than to replicate the process of taking an exam.
Senior Carlos Santana advises learning the test inside and out. By reviewing the multiple-choice, SAQs, and FRQ,s “you will know what exactly is needed to get all the necessary points.”
4. Don’t leave anything blank.
If you do not know an answer to a question on the multiple-choice, skip it and keep moving on. However, do not let the time finish before you get to go back and fill in the ones you did not answer. Guessing still gives you the chance to get the question right; however, leaving it blank eliminates this possibility. Also, if you feel like you are leaving a lot blank, do not get discouraged! Just take a deep breath and keep answering the best you can. There are still other portions of the exam, besides the multiple-choice, to earn points.
Senior Melissa Marrero always takes it one question at a time. She has learned that “it’s ok to skip a question you don’t know and come back to it later. There might be information on another question that will help you answer a previous one.”
5. Understand failing ISN’T the end of the world.
The majority of students do not pass every single AP exam, and that is ok. Failing an AP exam will not destroy your GPA, and it will not stop colleges from accepting you. The fact that you dared to enroll in a college-level class is what speaks volumes. Do not let scoring a 1 or 2 discourage you. Use that experience to adjust your study style and mindset to perform better for your next AP exam.
Senior Maria Vidal disagrees with beating yourself up if you fail an exam. After taking many, she has realized that “it really is not the end of the world… colleges are not going to deny you entrance just because you did not pass an AP.”
To everyone taking an AP exam this year, GOOD LUCK! Remember, AP tests are designed for students to study for them. So watch those videos, review those notes, and reach out to your teacher for any extra help. The upperclassmen hope these tips help steer you and reduce stress. You got this, and we believe in you!