AP exams start on May 5, which means if you give yourself this week off, you have (gulp!) a little over a month to get ready. Fear not! Whether you’re prepping for a single AP exam or have a slate of five you’re trying to tackle, we’ve collected the best advice for getting prepped for AP exams from around the Web. (And, if you need some extra help, we know where you can find an online tutor who can help).
Tips and Tricks for the AP Calculus Exam from an AP Reader
This easy-to-digest Slideshare from an AP reader has plenty of good tips for getting a 5 on the AP Calculus test. One I particularly like: If you’re feeling nervous, skip around on the multiple choice to answer “easy” questions first so you can build your confidence. She also says it’s imperative to show your work on the free response, so make sure to write out all the steps you’re taking and formulas you’re utilizing to arrive at your answer. You can practice this when you’re studying; do the easy problems you spot first in your assignments, instead of going through them one after another. Hopefully you’re already showing your work when you do your homework; if you aren’t, get started doing this ASAP.
AP US History DBQ and Free Response Strategies
Great advice for tackling the non-multiple choice sections of the AP US History exam BenchPrep (they make online test prep curriculum). For both, the advice starts the same: READ THE PROMPT. Taking a few extra minutes to make sure you understand the prompt thoroughly will pay dividends once you start writing — an awesome essay that doesn’t actually answer the question being asked isn’t going to get you the 5 you’re looking for. For the DBQ essay, use the documents provided to create an outline, with a strong thesis leading the way. Make sure to cite the documents in your essay! And for the free response, a thesis and a strong outline are equally important. Practice makes perfect, so work with classmates to come up with a few different test questions and then do the work to write the essay.
6 Tips for Rocking Your AP Classes
Ok, so this article isn’t specifically about preparing for the exams, but it contains loads of helpful information on how to approach the last month of class pre-exam week (minus the part about doing your summer reading — you’ve already done that of course :) ). Yes, it’s obvious not to procrastinate, as the author advises, but she also has a point: If you’re putting off studying a certain AP Physics chapter because it’s hard or you don’t understand, you’re better off tackling that chapter sooner rather than later (the material isn’t going to get any easier to learn). The advice to try different study methods is also valuable. If you’ve been taking notes in a notebook all year, experiment with re-typing those notes. Or, instead of studying with a group, spend time cramming solo for a few nights.
Advice on AP Bio from from AP Graders
This blog post contains super practical, actionable advice gathered from feedback from readers of the AP biology exam. First, pay attention to the specific words used in the free response section of the exam. Know the difference between describing something versus explaining something, for example (hint: describing equals providing details that help someone visualize an object, explaining equals using words to explain a phenomenon or why something happens). Other expert advice includes being precise in your answers — if the question asks for four examples, give only four and not three or five — and knowing that when a question asks for the effects of something, they want both positive and negative effects. Read through this post, then use the advice to help form your study plan for the next four weeks.
I can’t cover advice for every single AP class in a single blog post, but if you want more help devising a study strategy or talking through best practices, get in touch with one of our online tutors. They’ve taken the classes, studied for the exams, and gotten the top scores — and they’re ready to help you do the same.