Tips for Prepping for AP Exams

Nervous that your AP Exam date is getting closer on the calendar and you don't know how to study? AP Students and teachers provide expert tips on how to study for your exam.

AP Review books are a great way to study for the upcoming exams (Courtesy of GreatSchools.org)

AP Review books are a great way to study for the upcoming exams (Courtesy of GreatSchools.org)

Can’t help stressing over the upcoming AP exams? You’re not alone. A survey conducted at West Potomac showed that a majority of current AP takers are nervous and feel a bit under pressure because of the looming exams. However, senior Wajma Naderi advises against over-stressing, “As long as you put an effort in class, you’ll be fine.”

To try to help reduce the pre exam panic, some long-term AP takers were asked to provide some tips for first time exam takers.

“We took a practice AP test before [the exam] on a Saturday and it was really helpful,” said Rebekah Read, a current senior who has taken multiple AP classes since her sophomore year including World History, United States History, and Psychology.

In the day of her first exam, Read recalls that she did in fact feel nervous, but since she had prepared beforehand, she was still ready for the test. She also advises those taking more than one AP class should pick which one is more important to you as this helps prioritize what classes to study for.

Naderi, also a multiple AP taker, advises people to try to get the Princeton Review books as they helped her not just with the exam, but with maintaining a good grade in her class as well.

Naderi also said “[the AP exams] are not as hard as you think. Some class tests were actually harder than the exam itself.”

Preparing for the Exam

“On the day of your exam, remember to eat well and have a good night’s sleep beforehand,” said Adriana Meeks, the head librarian who has also helped organize for AP testing for many years. “Be relaxed and make sure to eat a high protein breakfast on the day of the exam.”

Meeks also provided The Wire with some excellent resources that help students prepare for not just the AP exam, but the SAT and ACT as well.

“You have to access the database on Gale Net via Blackboard called the Testing and Education Resource Center. In it, there are high school tools as well as college prep tools. Under the high school tools tab, you’ll find a list of all AP exams offered in the US along with a list of books [that will help prepare you for the exam].”

There are also practice exams that are offered on this database and as long as you create an account, you’ll be able to save your work and finish the practice test at your own pace. However, in order to access the databases outside of school, you’ll need the passwords for the databases—which are also available on Blackboard.

You can also visit the College Board website for a full list of practice exams for each AP course. Access to the previous year’s free response questions are also available for  exams with a writing portion. For a quick review on the subject, you can watch a few Crash Course videos on Youtube, they cover a variety of subjects including: US History, World History 2, Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and US Government and Politics. However, if you prefer to review and study at your own pace, you should try purchasing a Princeton or Kaplan Review book. These books can also be checked out at any Fairfax County Public Library.

Rules and Scores

There are rules and guidelines that must be adhered to on the day of the AP exam. In order to be best prepared, make sure to bring two No.2 pencils with erasers as well as a pen with black or blue ink for the written portion of the test. Do not bring any electronic device into the testing room or any device with a camera. This includes watches that beep or have an alarm set in. Food and drinks are also prohibited in the testing room.

Calculator Policy

Depending on the subject of the exam, calculators are recommended. However, calculators must follow specific guidelines that are listed on the College Board website. Students who bring in specific calculators that are not approved by the guidelines will not be able to use that calculator on their exams. For a full list of pre-approved calculators, please visit http://www.apstudent.collegeboard.org/

List of AP exams where calculator use is allowed:

Biology             Chemistry      Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism

Calculus AB      Physics 1       Physics C: Mechanics

Calculus BC      Physics 2        Statistics

Scores

The scores for AP exams are expected to be released in July. In order to get these scores, you must first make a College Board account by visiting http://www.apscore.org/ It is important for you to remember your AP number—which had been provided for you on the day of AP registration.

However, if you provided your student ID number on the answer sheet on the day of the registration, you can use that while signing up instead of the AP number.

If you lose your AP number and didn’t provide your student ID number on the answer sheet, you can still get your scores on the College Board account. Simply go to Collegeboard.org and click the sign up button located on the upper left side of the screen. Then, click the ‘student’ button so that you are directed to an information page where you are required to provide your general student information. It would be best if you provided the same info that you had written on the answer sheet on the day of AP registration.

If you follow through with the sign up, you should be able have successfully made your account. With this account, you can access all scores to the SAT, ACT and AP tests that you may have taken. You can also send these scores to the colleges you’re applying to for possible college credit (for AP classes).

Helpful links for prepping for the AP Exam:

Remember to try your best and get a good night’s sleep before the exam and have a balance breakfast the morning of. Your teachers and your fellow classmates are rooting for you. Good luck!