Studying Tips and Tricks for AP Exams

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By Saffron Sener | Arts & Entertainment Editor

April 22, 2015

It’s that time of year again. AP testing and finals are approaching, and fear is struck into the hearts of almost every SCHS student. As the season of studying begins taking root, different approaches are employed throughout the student body. In order to help students narrow down their preferred studying method, I have created an outline of study tips, tricks, and techniques.

Get an AP exam book. Filled with summaries and practice tests, these handbooks are necessary for any AP student. The straightforwardness of the summaries allows for points to easily be understood and information to be easily found. Also, the practice tests and questions give students a feel for what the test will be like and allow them to figure out what they need to study further.

Make a study guide or flashcards. Any way, shape, or form wherein one can physically type or write out information is bound to help. By actually transcribing the material, it is more likely to stick in one’s memory and be easier to recall. Using guides given by teachers, found in books, or searched online, one can create detailed flashcards or other study tools that will prove to be very beneficial.

Take practice exams. Found online or in books, practice exams give students a strong idea of their strengths and weaknesses. By pointing students in the direction of their more dire study needs, practice exams also give students a feel for the actual test.

Review notes and chapters. By quickly skimming areas that seem a bit fuzzy, students refresh themselves on old information. This can help them with questions that would have otherwise seemed impossible. Simply rereading old information can remind students of important material they would have otherwise forgotten.

Finally, I interviewed Emman Hamidi, a senior who is both an IB Diploma candidate and an expert at AP testing. His experience proved to provide a cache of information to aid those taking AP exams. After quickly introducing the topic, I immediately began the interview.

What was it like when you took your first A.P. test?

Absolutely nerve wracking. I feared that anything could be on the test so I tried to know everything. While that failed and there were a few shortcomings, I felt as though I generally knew what was going on. I originally thought that I failed, but I guess the scare tactic actually pulled through. You do much better than you think. I was surprised to hear that the beast of a test that was AP Art History would earn me a five.

Do you have any studying tips for students taking an A.P. or I.B. test?

Know thy exam. Working with the format, you can try to utilize your knowledge, regardless of extent, to best suit what they want to see from you. The day before: refresh on anything you still feel you need to review. Eventually, just admit you know what you know and walk into the exam room with confidence. Hours of studying and preparations all rely on those few hours. But you will succeed.

Do you have any helpful tips for when students are taking the test?

Approach the test strategically-like a game. Realize when things are going well or when they are not. Focus on writing free response prompts that you can answer in detail, and spend less time on the ones you can’t. If you ever freeze up, don’t freak out and just remember there are multiple components and opportunities to shine again.

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