Having Advanced Placement (AP) courses on your high school transcript is an excellent way to bolster your college admissions chances. More importantly, you can potentially receive college credits during your high school career. But to apply those AP credits toward your university degree, you will need exam scores ranging from 3 and 5.
With those extra credits under your belt, you can potentially save thousands of dollars by graduating college early and skipping introductory-level courses. Keeping this in mind, help make your hard work pay off come exam time by considering the following study tips for AP exams.
Believing in yourself isn’t just an old cliché. Most schools only accept the top-performing students into AP-level classes, so you should remind yourself that you belong in this advanced class. This sense of self-confidence will motivate you to jumpstart preparation for these intense AP exams. Never underestimate or skip this important step. One study, performed at the National Institute of Education in Singapore, found that confidence can serve as the best predictor of students’ academic performance among every other non-cognitive measure.
When you enter AP exam season, you’re already armed with nearly nine months’ worth of knowledge; nonetheless, the key to success is mastering this content. Performing well on cumulative exams requires a year’s worth of good study habits, so you don’t have to cram or learn anew come the spring.
One useful method involves hand-writing class notes, a recommendation backed by an Indiana study demonstrating the helpfulness of this strategy in retention. Writing activates more brain regions than typing, thereby forcing your brain to engage with the material for months leading up to testing.
Secondly, structure your notes as a roadmap for the topics that you need to dedicate extra time to areas that need improvement. In doing so, you highlight the key concepts while keeping a running tab of more complex subjects.
With AP exam material spanning months, it’s natural to have doubts about whether you will stay focused while studying or finish reviewing every concept. Luckily, you can help yourself with two systematic study approaches.
On top of self-formed study guides and flashcards from class notes, condensed material reviews can act as a supplement that helps in preparation for cumulative testing. Research popular brands, like Pearson, Barrons, Kaplan, and Princeton Review, to pinpoint the learning style that works best for you.
Standardized test makers have everything down to a specific format and students must comprehend this structure if they hope to earn a high AP score. Go to the College Board website for your exam’s “About the Exam” resources, which outline test structure and specific skills to master.
Additionally, the “Exam Preparation” section, serves real test examples and sample responses which enable you to make retrieval practice a key step in your study process. After continually testing yourself with actual College Board questions, fewer surprises will catch you off guard on test day.
Sitting down regularly with an expert to study these AP tests and topics will create an additional regiment and accountability within a strict study schedule. One-on-one support enables students to ask questions about confusing concepts and to learn with more personalized pacing as opposed to class time with larger class sizes. Bring questions from your notes, as well as any test questions you missed from your practice exams to make this extra help more worthwhile.
By starting early and forming a coordinated approach to the AP exams, you can avoid information overload and any need for an overnight miracle. Kickstart your study AP exam journey today by tapping into additional resources and tutoring opportunities provided by CATES Tutoring or Mindfish Test Prep.