With spring comes testing season, and for students taking Advanced Placement courses, AP exams in May are looming large. There’s a lot happening in the spring for college-bound students, making it easy to put off preparation for AP exams. Students often operate with the assumption that they have plenty of time to prepare, and then it’s exam day before they know it. Scoring well on the AP exam demonstrates not only mastery of difficult course material but also interest in a particular field. Of course, scores of three and above can also allow students to earn college credits while still in high school. This is why it’s important to make sure you have the tools to succeed when it comes time to sit for the exam.
So what can you do to ace your AP exams? Here are five test prep tips to help you reach your goal score.
Starting early is the key to success when preparing for any exam. Just like with SAT or ACT test prep, students should start studying well ahead of time so they’re prepared come test day. Don’t wait until the week of the AP exam to look over the material. Start now by reviewing key concepts, looking over practice materials, and formulating a study schedule to help you stay on track.
Utilize study materials.
Don’t skip out on study guides and other materials provided by either test prep officials or your instructor. While going over class notes is a great way to freshen up on certain information, nothing replaces the value of study guides specifically put together for the AP exam. You can get official AP study materials online, either in a digital or printed format.
Take practice tests.
Every AP exam has certain sections and key areas of information that are tested. For example, the AP US History exam will always have a document-based question in addition to the multiple choice, short answer, and long essay sections. This is why it’s important to be familiar with the exam itself in terms of structure and formatting, in addition to content. Take multiple practice tests to get used to the questions, timing, and how the test is structured. Just like taking practice tests can help you improve when preparing for the SAT or ACT, taking practice AP exams goes a long way to making sure you’re familiar with the test and what to expect on the day of the exam.
Study with other students.
Forming study groups is a great way to prepare for AP exams, especially when dealing with difficult material you may not fully understand. While you may find it hard to tackle the free responses questions on your AP Chemistry practice test, another student in your class may be great at it. Studying together is a good way to get simple questions answered and to get help from other students that know the material well. It’s also helpful to study with a friend or classmate when using flash cards and other study aids that may require having someone check your answers.
Ask for help.
If study materials, practice exams, and study groups aren’t helping you improve, don’t be afraid to seek help either from your instructor, a tutor at school, or an outside tutoring company. Often times, those trained to help students master certain subjects are able to explain materials or problems in a way that makes it easier for the student to grasp. AP exams are an important part of a student’s curriculum, especially when demonstrating course rigor and subject mastery, so it’s critical that students taking AP exams get the help they need to master the test. At IvyWise, we have tutors with expertise in every AP and IB academic subject. Our team of expert tutors can help you prepare for your upcoming AP exams, assessing areas of strength and weakness and developing a custom curriculum to help you ace the exam material.
AP exams are a critical piece of the college admissions puzzle, and scoring well can help you stand out when applying to your dream schools. Make sure you’re prepared to reach your goal score.