Things I Wish I Knew Before Taking AP Exams

By Tierra Harris | Web Editor-in-Chief

After sitting in AP classes for months, the inevitable exams really start hitting home around the last few weeks of the school year. With the anticipation of  getting a decent score to receive the college credits you worked hard for, preparing yourself mentally and physically is always the most difficult. So, here are a few tips and tricks to keep into consideration before you take your AP exams next week.

  1. Don’t STRESS Yourself OUT
    • According to College, most kids come to the realization that stress is the main reason why they fail their exams. Most people don’t do as well under pressure and may not perform up to their expectations. The best method to performing to your best ability is to NOT STRESS. (I know that sounds super unrealistic, but TRY to remain calm.) Good methods to prevent testing anxiety include eating healthy foods not just the day of, but weeks prior, and also maintaining a good sleep schedule. ( Also, I know a good sleep schedule isn’t exactly common among students, especially AP students, but give it a try.)
  2.  Develop A Strategy
    • There are a variety of ways to taking the test besides just answering the questions in order. Skip around and answer the easier questions first (or the harder ones, whatever you prefer) and make sure to answer EVERY question, even if you don’t fully understand it. There’s still a chance that you just might get that one difficult question right if you use a process of elimination or another strategy. Regardless, make sure that you’re confident. Answer every question to your best ability and do your best.
    • I can’t stress this enough: DO NOT CRAM. Personally, I’ve been a victim of cramming for tests the night before and it’s not pretty. Shoving piles and piles of information into your brain at the very last possible minute only results in one of two things: stress and more stress. Take your time. Weeks in advance, or at least a few days, take a look over the curriculum that could possibly be on the exam. Review with your teacher or join study groups. Also, don’t try to relearn EVERYTHING. Only focus on what you really need. The best strategy to effectively prep for an exam is to focus initially on what you don’t know or barely remember.
  4. Bring Snacks, Water, etc..
    1. Bring FOOD. Honestly, I can’t stress this enough. Even if you eat a wholesome breakfast before the test, you will be hungry after the first hour or so. Bringing a few granola bars will definitely help you push out the last few hours of the test. Water is also your best friend during long tests. The anxiety that you could possible suffer from may cause cotton mouth; having a handy bottle of water by your side will definitely be an asset.
    • One too many times I’ve heard negative put-downs and personal jabs in the hallways. Be PROUD of yourself! You’ve made it this far and regardless of what score you get on the exam, you have to give yourself credit for all the hours you stayed up late studying. Throughout the test, tell yourself that you’re doing great and keep up self-motivation even after the test. If you can maintain a positive self-attitude and ultimately be just a little bit more optimistic, the Harvard Gazette concluded that not only will you tend to do better academically, but you’re also less prone to illness. So, on that note, don’t worry. You’re more than just a number!

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