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What is the best way to study for an AP exam?

What is the best way to study for an AP exam

Table of Contents

The Advanced Placement (AP) program is a program created by the college board that provides and conducts examinations for high school students based on college-level curricula in the United States. Students who achieve high scores in these examinations can obtain placements in colleges and universities along with college credit.

Most of the AP paper exams are pen and pencil exams at the end of the year. However, for subjects like Art and Design, you would require to submit a portfolio instead. The AP syllabus is a challenging and a well thought out curriculum that consists of a college-level syllabus. The questions you face in an AP test are more application-based and sitting before timed tests before your AP exams is a must to get familiar with not only the difficulty of the questions but also your time management skills. The AP exam syllabus includes more than 30 courses across various subject areas.

The subject specializations are as below:

  • English:

AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition

  • Mathematics and Computer Science:

AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Computer Science A, AP Statistics

  • Sciences:

AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, AP Physics C: Mechanics

  • History and Social Sciences:

AP Comparative Government & Politics, AP European History, AP Human Geography, AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, AP Psychology, AP United States Government & Politics, AP United States History, AP World History

  • Arts:

AP Art history, AP Music, AP Studio Art 2-D Design, AP Studio Art 3-D Design, AP Studio Art Drawing

  • World Languages and Cultures:

AP Chinese Language and Culture, AP French Language and Culture, AP German Language and Culture, AP Italian Language and Culture, AP Japanese Language and Culture, AP Latin, AP Spanish Language, and Culture, AP Spanish Literature and Culture

Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction. – John F. Kennedy

Now, how exactly would you need to study for your AP Exam?

Preparing for a three-hour, multi-part AP Exam can be challenging in addition to all of your other demanding coursework. Nevertheless, read on further to understand how you can get through with all the test prep.

  1. You will need to exactly understand what it is that you need to be learning for the exam. To do this, you can gather the info from the syllabus, old tests and quizzes that you attempted and the course description for your AP class. Since the syllabus has a vast range of topics that can’t all be covered for an AP exam, focus on reviewing specifically what you need to know for the exam. Keep in mind to go through, at least briefly, all the major topics and content from your AP course. A trick to follow is to study for the AP Exam concepts that were brushed upon in class and skim through the topics that were covered in class in depth. As for your tests and quizzes, be sure to review the mistakes you had made during the test and not spend too much time on tests you scored high in.
  2. With the content that you need to review, you can proceed to making a study plan now. This doesn’t require a detailed explanation of what needs to be covered. Although, you should have a general idea as to what you will be going through and the required skills you will be working on in that week that lead up to the test. Another suggestion would be to focus on content reviewing in the beginning and start the exam prep (practice tests and questions) when you get closer to the examination. 
  3. Another important point is to get the right resource books that will help you study. The Princeton and Barron’s AP test review books generally known to be the most reliable for your AP tests. Other supplemental resources including your course textbooks, end-of-chapter practice questions and explanatory videos could be quite helpful alongside the prep books as well. On the other hand, you can go an extra step by making your own resources such as flashcards on Quizlet to quiz yourself using various tools. 
  4. The next step would be to find the practice exams and questions. Now that you have covered the resources you need for the content reviewing, you will need to find materials that help you build specific AP test competencies. Luckily, the College Board itself provides practice tests and questions hence there will be no doubt that the content covered will be similar to the real AP tests you will be taking. The College Board has released questions with sample responses from previous testing years. Moreover, they also release the complete AP exam papers from past years for free. With the help of all of these resources, you should be good to go with the final few weeks of your study prep as per your study plan in step 2.
  5. With all the materials needed to review your content and attempt practice tests, you need to start working. The amount of time you need to spend on study for your AP Exam really depends on the content you have to review and how familiar you are with the format of the exam questions and the responses. A bonus to stay consistent with working is to set specific times and places for your studying as it will help you keep up the pace with your schedule. All in all, with a good content review and brush through along with the practice exams, you should have no trouble succeeding in your exam.

Also Read: Exactly How Hard Are AP Tests and Classes?

Keep in mind that once you learn to decode the steps you need to get to the top of the AP exam, it will be easy for you to get there as a whole. prepared to pace yourself and stay on track with your schedule.

Ultimately, all things will fall in place once you get the hang of it. All the best on your AP exams!

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