With the 2017-2018 school year soon coming to an end, AP exams are just around the corner, and many students, as well as teachers, are beginning to stress over them.
“It is such a broad spectrum of things that can be on the test, so all you can do is just try to be as prepared as possible,” Human Geography teacher Meredith Birdy said.
Teachers suggest students should start preparing after they come back from spring break, so right about now.
“They should start looking over the units that we’ve already covered in the year, and as we get closer they can kinda review the stuff that we’ll get to here in the next month or so,” Birdy said.
It is recommend that students keep new material fresh as they keep moving on from unit to unit.
“I think it’s really a year-long process. I mean, it’s really cumulative, each unit depends on what has gone before, so I try to bring back old topics as much as I can whenever we’re working in class,” AP Chemistry teacher Elisa Compton said.
Students can also purchase review books with practice tests to prepare for their exam so that they can be familiar with AP style questions.
“Be very careful, read, and to do as many AP style problems as [you] can, either in a practice book, online, or [during] class. The more AP style questions you see, the more comfortable you’re going to be with their language and the topics that they like to use when you get the test,” Compton said.
Some of the resources teachers recommend include Kaplan, Crash Course, and Princeton.
“They’re all really good books, it’s just a matter of what their budget is, and also the particular style you like. Some will [use] online websites, some will [use] practice exams, some will cover content; they’re particular [to] the type of student [using it],” AP Biology teacher Oscar Velasquez said.
If struggling, teachers suggest students still attempt the problem, especially for free response questions as they can still get points for doing part of the question.
“A couple of years ago, there was a problem that two thirds [of the students] didn’t do, and if you actually read past the first sentence, it was the easiest problem, but people saw that first sentence and thought ‘I don’t know anything about that!’, and then they didn’t even try it, and it really wasn’t hard, you just had to read past like the first five words, so just [make] sure you keep your head together,” Compton said.
According to teachers, students should make themselves comfortable so that they don’t have to worry about anything besides the exam.
“Whenever you have anxiety for something, somebody telling you to calm down doesn’t really work. I think [that] if you’re prepared, you’ll feel less anxious, because you’ll be like ‘Okay, I think I got this at least in some level’. Try to take away all the other things you could be nervous about, I know students take multiple tests a lot of the times, so that is weighting on them, but, you know, one task at a time, try not to worry about other things, focus,” AP English teacher Julia Whitfield said. “My students haven’t expressed much anxiety about that, but then again, they’re seniors, so they’ve done it before. I could see [sophomores] being nervous, I would say go in those review sessions, they’ll help you a lot.”
However, most teachers agree that preparation, study, and good sleep is the key to doing well.
“Rest the night before, bring a pen and a pencil, a watch of some sort, but not an [Apple] watch, no phones, make sure you show up early, and bring a snack,” AP English IV teacher Megan Cobb said.