Tips and Tricks to Get Through The AP Exam Stretch


As we enter AP exam season, these are some important steps you should take to ensure you get the best score possible.

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty nervous about the AP exams coming up. There is only so much you can do regarding the current school situation we are in this year, so it is all the more important that you follow these suggestions to achieve the best results.

Do Not Stress

This step is first and the most important. Do not stress yourself out by cramming everything at the last minute. Exams may be nerve wracking, but it isn’t necessary to freak out over them. You have been studying all year for this test, be confident! Take some time to wind down in between your study sessions. 

Review Tests and Student Guides From The Year

Take advantage of having class every other day. In between class periods, review old class units, old study guides, and read your class textbook. Teacher’s spend all year preparing you for your exams so it is important that you pay attention and keep track of your class materials.

Watch Youtube Videos That Summarize Units

There are incredible free, online tutors for every subject you wish to focus on. My personal favorites are videos made by Crash Course on Youtube. For history I recommend Hiemler’s History on Youtube. If you’re taking a math exam you’ll find that checking out Khan Academy is substantially beneficial.

Make Sure You Remember and Understand The Structures of a DBQ, SAQ, FRQ, etc.

Understanding how to do the written portion of your exam is extremely beneficial in ensuring you get the best grade possible. It is also extremely important to understand the time structure that comes with each written portion, so you know how to pace yourself come test time. 

Dedicate Some Time Each Day For Studying

Make a study schedule and be sure that when you’re studying, you’re exclusively studying. That means you should avoid distractions like music, TV, or your cell phone. Study smart by following one specific technique shared by longtime AP tutor, Blake Jenson: “At the end of every class or homework session, spend three minutes recalling to yourself the things you worked on, the topics you covered and how to do certain questions. This will improve your long-term retention dramatically. At the end of every week, do the same review but spend around six minutes.” Much like playing a sport or learning a new instrument, studying is completely necessary to practice on a regular basis for information to fully stick.

Make Sure You Understand and Comprehend the Material Instead of Memorizing it

Prioritize learning the more confusing material in depth. Academic performance coach, Nikki Bruno, says to “only study what you don’t know. Don’t waste time reviewing ideas you can already explain well. Focus all your attention on filling in your gaps in knowledge, as good as it might feel to get those practice questions correct.”

Search For Online Resources or Study Guides to Help Understand Material

There are great resources from years past on the internet to help. The internet is a great place, for you can find study materials from old exam takers or even study content from teachers that teach the unit you are studying.

Take Practice Exams

Taking AP practice exams are more than reviewing the course material. It is a chance to stimulate an actual exam and familiarize yourself with the exam format. “Knowing the material is crucial, but being able to get it on paper during the exam is what matters. Use practice tests as a way to gauge how well you know something, how well you can communicate it and how well you understand the types of questions the AP exam will ask,” said Jenson. I recommend finding practice exams through the College Board or in books such as Barron’s and Princeton Review.