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10 Tips for Surviving AP Testing

Congratulations highschoolers, the school year is almost over!  With less than two months left of school, it may be easy to get caught up in end of the year festivities, especially if you’re a senior with a lot of friends planning grad parties and summer bashes.  But for many of you, the end of the year is the most stressful time of all.  Why? AP TESTS.

AP Tests are supposed to challenge students to see how much information they absorbed over the past year. If they get a qualifying score, they receive credits to bypass a college course.  Therefore, a lot of students try to load up on AP classes to build a stronger resume, and to inevitably decrease the amount of core classes they will have to take.  In the beginning of the year, taking five classes may seem like a great idea (let’s be real, you just want to brag to your friends), but by the time May rolls around, your brain feels like it’s being cooked, and the hardest part hasn’t even started.  We are here to assure you that you WILL survive, and it will all be worth it (some of us took six tests during our senior year which, while being incredibly dumb, paid off in the end).

Tip #1: Actually Study

We know it seems obvious, but we also know that this time of year is incredibly distracting.  Blowing off study time to watch Netflix or hang out in the beautiful weather won’t seem worth it when you receive abysmal news in July.

Tip #2: Actually REALLY Study

Sure, you shelled out $25 on a review book you skimmed and highlighted, and maybe you got decent grades throughout the year, but unless you know exactly what to expect in regards to the level of difficulty, you’re screwed.  Ask your teacher for extra practice questions from released exams, or use Learnerator.com, a great website which tracks your progress by course section.

Tip #3: Don’t Cram

There’s a reason you have a whole year to learn the material; it can’t be memorized in a few nights.  Studying should have begun a few weeks ago because chances are, you don’t remember anything from September.  Flipping through flashcards a week before the exam won’t help much if you can’t understand concepts.

Tip #4: Ask for Help

Whether it be from teachers or fellow students, other people are usually your best resources.

Tip #5: COFFEE

Drink coffee before the exams (if you like coffee, that is).  They are long and boring, and most people perform best when they are wide awake.

Tip #6: When the Mid-Week Breakdown Comes, Let it

It’s inevitable.  The stress of exams will leave you feeling exhausted, worn out, delirious, and scared, but just remember everyone is in the same boat.  Take productive study breaks and clean your room, listen to music, or learn how to do a new hairstyle.

Tip #7: Use Free Time Efficiently

If you are the type of person who likes to unwind after school by watching TV or going online, watch study videos instead.  We recommend CrashCourse videos on YouTube – they’re funny but still very helpful in reviewing for APUSH, Chemistry, and some other classes.

Tip #8: Don’t Fall Behind in Other Classes!

This is the most conflicting part of testing weeks.  Your other classes continue as normal and the teachers expect you to keep up with homework, but you would rather spend time studying.  While these other classes are not priorities, you should still try and go to them as often as possible.  Talk with the teachers about your absences due to exams, and request extensions on deadlines.  The week after AP tests is one of the hardest because you’ll have to readjust to attending class all the time, and you will also need extra help from all the missed lessons.

Tip #9: Breathe

We know, it’s cheesy.  But at the end of the day, nothing is as important as your mental health; not grades, or your reputation, or even what college you get into.  Try your hardest and don’t give up because if you got this far, you can keep going.  But if it all seems like too much, take a step back, calm down, eat some ice cream, and try again tomorrow.

Tip #10: PARTY

The best part of exam weeks is the feeling when they’re all over.  By AP test time, classes should have completed the curriculum, making the rest of the year a breeze in comparison.  Thank your teacher, get ready to watch movies during class time, and enjoy the spring.  

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