Tips and tricks for AP exams

Rain Santos shares her study methods to ensure a good grade for AP Exams.



AP exams are rapidly approaching. Here are some study tips to help you score that five.

As April comes to an end, the CollegeBoard Advanced Placement exams will take place on the first two weeks of May. Advanced Placement (AP) exams are an important part of many high schoolers’ academic journey. These exams allow students to earn college credit and demonstrate their proficiency in a subject. Van Nuys High School currently offers 25 Advanced Placement Courses. 

AP teachers and students have begun to review and prepare for the big exam. There are numerous ways to study for the anticipated AP exams, with different study techniques available to students. Preparing for these exams can be scary, but with the right approach, it can be a manageable process.

A general method of studying for the exams can be summarized in three steps. 

1. Understand the Format of the Exam:

The first step in preparing for AP exams is to understand the format of the exam. AP exams are typically around three hours long and are divided into multiple choice (MCQs) and free response (FRQs) sections. 

The multiple choice section consists of questions with four answer choices, while the free response section requires students to write essays or solve problems. Students should review the exam format and understand the weighing of each section. For instance, some exams like AP Biology have greater emphasis on the multiple choice section while others like AP English Literature have greater emphasis on the free response section.

2. Develop a Study Plan:

Once you understand the format of the exam, the next step is to develop a study plan. This involves creating a schedule that allows you to cover all the necessary material before the exams. Students should review their notes, textbooks and the additional materials provided by their teacher or online resources. There are many online resources available, from CollegeBoard videos, youtube channels dedicated to summarizing each unit, to online practice tests. Students should review these sample tests and review sample questions to familiarize themselves with the exam format. They can break down their study plan into smaller chunks, focusing on specific topics or themes. For instance, if a student is preparing for AP World History, they could divide their study plans into periods and focus on a particular time frame each week.

3. Practice Time Management:

Time management is crucial when it comes to AP exams. Students should be able to pace themselves during the exam to ensure they can complete all the questions within the allotted time. Practicing time management during the study phase is equally important. Students can take timed practice tests or set timers for specific study sessions to get a sense of how long it takes them to complete different tasks. Additionally, students can use tools such as flash cards or study guides to review material quickly and efficiently. This not only helps students retain information better but also allows them to cover more ground in a shorter amount of time.

The preparation for AP exams requires such a comprehensive approach that involves understanding the exam format, developing a study plan and practicing time management. These three steps can help students feel more confident and prepared when it comes to taking the exam. With dedication and hard work, students can successfully navigate the AP exam process and earn college credit while still in high school.