AP Frenzy? No Worries: Tips To Excel on AP Exams.

Ashley Chen

8/28/20232 min read

Every May, most high school students are in a frenzy of caffeine-induced, all-nighter fueled state of mind, trying to prepare for Advanced Placement exams. As a high school student who is currently taking 3 APs this year, here are some tips to get you through, and out your AP exams with no liver damage, and a confident smile on your face.

Prepare Early! Do not wait until the last month.

.It may seem tempting to procrastinate until the last month, or even month and a half, to start reviewing course material. However, this is an incredibly harmful way to go about your AP classes, especially if you are taking more than one AP class. AP classes are college-level classes, with tons and tons of material that is impossible to cram into your brain in under a month. To avoid this, study your notes periodically throughout the semester. This will help you to stay on top of the material and avoid feeling overwhelmed when it comes time to review for the exam.

Take legible notes, and decorate them if that helps you.

As an artistic person, I find it satisfying to review notes that are colorful and aesthetic. Not everyone is artistic, but the notes that you take should at least be legible, and able to be reviewed without deciphering. The ability to take organized notes, especially in AP courses such as AP Calculus, or AP Chemistry, is extremely important, as those subjects tend to have a lot of content and formula writing, which is easily misinterpreted.

A month before the AP test, start going to review classes, online review programs, and start viewing practice tests.

Around the one month mark before the AP exam, most of the material is covered already, and teachers start doing AP reviews. This is a good time to go over any content you may have missed or had trouble with, and go to afterschool review classes, if your school offers them. If not, programs like Fivable have review sessions for each AP class, in the form of Zoom links. This is also a good time to skim through practice tests, and memorize the format of your AP test, in order to get through the test faster.

Take. Breaks.

Yet another reason to review early on. If you cram everything in the last month or so, you will overwhelm yourself with content, and your exhaustion will take over. Reviewing over the semester will allow you to take the breaks that you need, perhaps rewarding yourself with a day at the beach, or having the vacancy to celebrate a friend’s birthday. AP exams and classes are extremely overwhelming, and breaks are needed.

The night before the exam, get good sleep.

The night before my AP psychology exam, I was extremely frantic and nervous, and didn’t feel like sleeping at all. But ultimately, I realized that if I didn’t sleep, I wouldn’t have been able to complete the test. The test was 2 hours, and for more complex AP exams, they may last up to 3 hours. This means 3 hours of straight and pure concentration and energy. Sleep is greatly needed to accomplish this feat. I also wouldn’t recommend energy drinks the morning of your test, but rather a banana, or a fruit smoothie.

Finally, remember that taking college level courses as a high schooler is already an extremely amazing feat, and you should be proud of yourself already! Don’t give yourself too much pressure, and if help is greatly needed, YTP sessions are always available.