While AP testing has come to a close across the country and seniors prepare their commencement speeches, millions of students think the same thing. How am I going to test better next year?
AP testing is a significant source of stress for every high school student who wants to attract good colleges and scholarship opportunities. Top-level grades increase a student’s GPA and show that a student is ready for college-level work. Because of this, students start planning for testing months in advance, even when one year’s testing has only just ended.
However, what is the best way to prepare for AP testing without risking possible burnout in other areas of student life? We wanted to supply our students and parents with 7 of the best possible tips to help prepare for next year’s AP tests.
If you already know what AP classes you have for next year, start studying as soon as possible. Go to your local nature preserve to prepare for AP Environmental Science. AP Literature on your schedule? See if you need to get the reading list early or speak with past students to get a head start on the books? The extra steps will give you more time to review, but they will also allow you to explore the subject matter and develop critical questions to ask your teachers.
Make a Schedule
A good study schedule is pivotal to developing healthy study habits because it allows you uninterrupted time to simply focus on what you’re studying. With whatever planner or app that you use, find a good time in the day to block off for your studies. Then treat that time as sacred. Don’t let anything take that time away from you because it is YOUR TIME to focus on improving your mind and knowledge. Turn off the phone. Close the door. Set up your space. Start studying.
Speaking of scheduling, taking breaks is also essential to your studying process. While it may seem counter-intuitive, taking breaks will help your brain understand the information you’re studying and keep it from getting overwhelmed. The Pomodoro Method, for example, encourages five-minute breaks after every twenty-five minutes of study and thirty-minute breaks after every four cycles.
Remember Your Health
While studying and getting high grades may seem like the highest priority, nothing beats taking care of your physical and mental health. Part of the reason students should schedule their study time is so they can have time for other things that keep them healthy. Staying healthy includes getting regular exercise, eating healthy meals and snacks, and taking time to do something that feeds other passions. Learning to balance your life early will serve you further in life.
Sometimes, studying can be more accessible when everyone works together. Look into joining or starting a study group for AP classes. Not only does this give you a support system, but often there will be someone who understands something you don’t and can help. Another way you can study together is to consider combining your notes. A recent trend in note-taking has been using Google Docs to create a collaborative note document, and other students can add notes on things you might have missed in class.
Use Everything Available
There are dozens of resources available to AP students, from teachers to classmates to online study guides. The key is to use them. Use every resource and tool available to you because they can be the difference between success and failure.
Ask for Help
Many students might be afraid of asking their teachers for help if they cannot understand something. If you don’t ask for help, you’ll never get the help you need. Your teachers are there to help.
It may seem early to worry about AP exams now. However, time and organization can make all the difference in your success. Are you ready for next year?