Many students across the country completed AP testing in the spring and are now waiting for the College Board to release scores in the beginning of July. AP testing is a significant source of stress for every high school student who wants to attain admission to best-fit colleges. The results can demonstrate 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? Here are some 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. Is AP Calculus in your schedule? Practice the concepts you learned in math this year so you have a great base of knowledge heading into Calc.. AP Literature on your schedule? Ask your teacher for the reading list so you can start reading over the summer. These extra steps will give you more time to review, and 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 focus on what you’re studying. Plan a study “appointment” for yourself every day as you would plan a visit to the doctor or plan the time you need to be at work. Then treat that time as sacred; it is your time to focus on improving knowledge about that subject. 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, incorporating short 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 achieving good 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 your other passions. Learning to balance your days 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 or vice versa. 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.
Use All Available Resources
There are dozens of resources available to AP students: Look for online study guides from your teacher or another section teacher; check out online study guides; search for a quizlet or sample practice tests online. The key is to find a method that works for you.
Ask for Help
Many students are nervous about asking their teachers for help if they cannot understand something. Teachers want to help you grasp the material they are teaching. They will appreciate the opportunity to help you attain success in their class so don’t be nervous to ask for extra time for questions outside of class. And always say thank you for the help you receive!
Please consider some of the tips described above. Time and organization can make all the difference in your success. Are you ready for next year?