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How To Study For The AP Exams?

If you get a four or five on an AP exam, it will unlock many opportunities that will benefit you in the future. Earning a good score on the AP exam makes your application more desirable to college admissions boards, helps you qualify for certain scholarships, and can allow you to earn credit at many institutions in the United States.

Considering everything you stand to gain from receiving a good score, you will want to start studying for your AP exams as early and as effectively as possible. You can spend all the time in the world studying for your AP exams, but if your study methods aren’t effective, you may still end up with a poor score.

Fortunately, here at Prep Expert, we have strategies and resources to help you study for your exams and receive a high score.

Here are my top tips to help you prepare for your AP exams:

Start early

If you wait until the spring to begin studying for your AP exams, chances are you won’t do too well. It takes time to pinpoint your weaknesses, come up with a plan to address these weak areas, and implement this plan to improve your content knowledge. If you’re waiting until the last minute to get started, you will have to settle for cramming which is stressful and ineffective.

Spend time studying and reviewing class material at the end of each week and make sure you are spiraling old concepts with new ones so that you don’t forget the material you learn early in the school year. This way, you only need to do some basic review when it gets close to test day instead of figuring out how you are going to cram two semesters’ worth of content into a couple of weeks.

Create a study plan

To make sure you don’t forget to study any of the concepts that will be covered on your AP exam, it can be helpful to create a study plan.

Look through your syllabus and the list of concepts tested on your AP exam and determine when you are going to study which topics.

When you are crafting your study plan keep a few things in mind:

  • Focus most of your time on mastering material you struggle to understand, but don’t neglect your strong areas.
  • Make sure to mix old and new material so that you don’t forget what you have reviewed
  • Start slow and make sure to schedule time for breaks during your study sessions

When you have a plan for studying for your AP exams, you won’t have to worry about running out of time to learn the material that will be covered on the test.

Treat practice tests seriously

When you take practice tests in class or on your own, treat them like the real test. Don’t take out your phone or listen to music, use notes, or look up answers if you get stuck in the middle of the test. Make sure you adhere to the AP exam testing regulations and time restrictions so that you can determine whether you need to improve your time management skills before test day.

Treating the practice tests as seriously as you would an official AP exam will also give you a better sense of just how well you are progressing toward your goals as you study for the test. 

If you are answering every question right with unlimited time, that does not necessarily mean that you are ready for the test. Answering questions in an environment that is similar to what you will experience on test day will give you a better indication of how well you will do on your exam.

Answer questions out of order

If a question is taking more than a minute or two to answer, feel free to skip it and come back to it later. While it is natural for you to want to answer questions in the order they are presented, this may lead to you wasting time struggling with difficult questions and running out of time to answer the easier questions.

When you take practice tests, try starting with the easiest questions first to improve your chances of getting a high score.

Review, review, review!

Did I mention that you should review? One of the biggest mistakes that many students make when preparing for AP exams is neglecting to review each and every practice question they miss.

Sure, most students know they need to review the material covered in class and go over practice questions to make sure they are on the right track, but many don’t take the time to review the questions they miss so that they can learn from their mistakes.

When you take practice tests, it is crucial that you don’t just gloss over the questions you answer incorrectly. The College Board website has helpful official practice exams and practice questions you can use to gauge your progress, but if you don’t take the time to learn from these resources, they will be useless.

Every time you miss a practice question, it is essential that you take the time to do the following:

  • Write down the question and identify the type of question being asked
  • Write down the correct answer
  • Write down specific reasons why the correct answer is the only possible answer and why your answer was incorrect

This will help you learn from your mistakes so that you don’t repeat them in the future.

Stay positive

Your mindset when you prepare for your AP exams can significantly impact your performance on test day. 

When you make several mistakes on practice exams, see this as an opportunity to improve and learn from your mistakes rather than an indictment of your intelligence or ability to perform well on the exams.

By approaching AP exams with a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset, you will give yourself the chance to work hard and earn a good score rather than throwing in the towel/

Work with a private tutor

Hiring a private tutor is an effective test prep strategy. When you work with a private tutor, you will receive one-on-one instruction addressing the specific weaknesses you need to improve upon before you take your AP exams.

Private tutors know how to identify your strengths and weaknesses and tailor their instruction to help you improve where it matters most at the pace that is best for you.

When you hire one of our Prep Expert private tutors, you will have the added bonus of working with an expert instructor who received a perfect score on their own AP exams in high school. These tutors know what it takes to do well on AP exams, and they can help you earn an impressive score, too.

Learn more about AP exam private tutoring available through Prep Expert when you visit our website.

Prep Expert

Written by Prep Expert

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