Four steps to success on A.P. tests

Juniors Emeila Gendreau and Marelie Vorster attend a study session Sunday morning to prepare for the A.P. U.S. History test.

Juniors Emeila Gendreau and Marelie Vorster attend a study session Sunday morning to prepare for the A.P. U.S. History test.

A.P. testing is just around the corner and whether you are taking A.P. Calc or A.P.Human Geography, these tips will help you prepare when test day comes.

First, pay attention in class. If you are taking an A.P. class and are planning to take the test the class is your best prep. Your teacher will teach you what you need to know. However, as the year draws to a close and the test approaches, it is good to go over what you learned in the beginning of the year. Resources to help in the review process include in-class review, an A.P. book, or videos on Youtube from sources like Khan Academy. Senior Austin Keillor, who received a five on the A.P. Calculus test, stated that in studying for his test, what worked was, “Not focusing on one thing too much, just kinda going through a general overview and covering everything so that you’re prepared.”

Second, take practice tests. Practice tests may seem like just more work, but they provide an idea of what the test will look like when you take it and provide valuable information on what you know and what needs more review. Senior Ann Evans, who received a five on both the A.P. Human Geography and A.P. U.S. History test as well as a four on the A.P. Biology test said that practice tests were an important studying tool: “I found that taking practice tests really helped, so I could find out what I needed to study more. That way I didn’t waste time.”

Third, calm down and get plenty of sleep the night before. It is easy to get worked up before your test and that can impact on how well you do. Each senior interviewed agrees that there is no need to stress out.  “Just don’t get too stressed out, because if you start overthinking it you’ll probably do it wrong,” says senior Anneke Virk who received a four on the A.P. Calculus test.

Fourth, be mindful of your time. The seniors agreed that the free response was the hardest part for them. Whether it is problems on the Calculus test or the essay for History, know your time for each. If there is one that is more difficult simply skip it and come back to it later. Finishing the easiest questions first will help you spend more time on the ones that are harder to understand.

If you follow these steps, you should be on your way to getting a good score on your A.P. test. These tests are great preparation for college and good scores can come with benefits, but it is important to remember that bad scores are not the end. Evans explained it perfectly when she said, “A.P. tests aren’t the end of the world, and a lot of schools treat a four the same as a five, so don’t worry about getting the highest score when you can focus your energy on other things.”

By: Hannah Hart

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