7 Study Tips for the AP Exams

By: Jason Robinovitz | Last Updated: March 13, 2017

If you follow these seven steps, you’ll likely increase your chances at doing well on your AP exams.

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Are you thinking about your upcoming advanced placement exams this spring? Whether you’re in an AP Calculus class or you want to score well on your AP Literature test, it’s never too early to look into some AP exam study tips.

Our Score At The Top tutors typically recommends starting your test preparation at least three months before the test day – usually just before your spring break. This gives you plenty of time to review what you’ve learned, find additional study materials, and feel confident walking into the test on the big day.

Furthermore, if you are taking more than one AP exam at a time, it’s important that you schedule your study sessions and pace yourself accordingly. The worst thing you can do is wait until the last minute, then “cram” haphazardly for multiple tests. No one can study effectively without adequate time and energy.

Our tutoring center is all about making study time more effective (and less painful). We’ve worked with hundreds of local students, and we know what works – and what doesn’t. To help you out, we’ve gathered some of the best AP tricks and tips in the books.

So, without further ado, here are seven of the most time-tested, worthwhile AP exam study tips.

1. Make an AP Exam Study Plan

When it comes to tips for AP exams, failing to plan is planning to fail. You must understand what you need to learn, how you’re going to acquire that knowledge, and how to pace yourself. Don’t just launch into studying – do some research to create the AP exam study plan that will work best for you.

For many students, this is the most challenging part of the process. If you don’t know where to start or how to plan effectively, chat with one of our AP tutors today.

2. Familiarize Yourself with the Questions

One of our top AP exam study tips is to thoroughly familiarize yourself with all the types of questions that appear on your specific exam. In addition to multiple-choice, there may be free-response questions on math tests, short-answer questions on other tests, and essays of varying lengths on all of them. Understanding what you’ll be facing is a crucial part of anyone’s AP exam study plan.

3. Review Content from Class

Early in the AP exam preparation process, focus on reviewing the content you’ve already covered in class and save the actual test prep for later. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be answering practice test questions to familiarize yourself – but focusing on the content not yet covered in class isn’t typically the best approach. Don’t get ahead of yourself!

4. Take Practice Tests

Practice tests should be a part of any AP exam study plan. Within two weeks of taking the actual test, take as many practice exams as you can under realistic conditions. You’ll reveal your weaknesses so that you can focus on them, and you’ll better understand timing while building stamina for the real thing.

5. Review Essay Prompts

Next on our list of AP exam study tips: hone your writing strategies. For AP tests with essay questions, sharpen your ability to understand the prompt, practice outlining your response before you begin writing, and learn how to execute an organized, logical, and coherent narrative. It doesn’t matter if you can write a long essay – it matters if it makes sense and presents a solid argument.

6. Hire an Expert

One of the best AP exam study tips is to work with a professional, either individually or in a small group of peers. Your commitment will translate into better results when taking the exam. Most people learn best when challenged by knowledgeable, trained instructors.

7. Review Online Resources

There are a staggering number of AP exam study tips and resources out there – some from the College Board itself. Many of these are free, and others are available at modest costs. Although sourcing tutoring and referring to your in-class notes are still both important, we also recommend using these AP exam preparation tools to boost your confidence.

8. Bonus Tip: Study Right

Proper AP exam preparation is a little like preparing for and then running a marathon: it requires lots of rest, good nutrition, and productive practices. You don’t want to study in sprints, but rather prepare strategically over time to avoid burnout. Then, when the finish line is in sight, you reach back for those last reserves of energy and speed toward the end.

Need Help With Your AP Exam Preparation?

If you are planning to take one or multiple AP tests this coming May, now is the time to research. AP exam study tips and identify the strategies that work best for you.

Remember: preparation for AP exams doesn’t look the same for every student. Some students may absorb most of what they need to know in class, then just feel the need to refresh their minds in the weeks before the test. Others may feel more unprepared and dedicate dozens of hours to studying for a single test.

Furthermore, some students might benefit the most from making and using their own flashcards. Others might struggle with this tactic and prefer to work with an in-person or virtual tutor. There’s no right or wrong answer, which is why there are so many varying tips for AP exam preparation.

Score At The Top is here to help you find the right AP exam study tips for your learning style, preferences, and needs. Reach out today to learn more about our tutoring services, as well as our other test-taking aids.

If you want to know where you stand in terms of AP study skills, download our checklist. This will give you a great place to get started.



Want more tips? Download our AP exam study skills checklist.


Topics: AP Exams Study Tips

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