The Secrets to Getting a 5 on Your AP Test
AP tests are upon us. There is very little time between now and test day, so it is time to make the most of it. There also happens to be another SAT on May 1st, which is great for any AP students who are also taking SAT II's in their respective subjects. The two are very similar, so studying for one is the same as studying for both. Why not kill two birds with one stone? Now the question remains; how do you pass your AP test??
The Test Itself
The AP tests themselves are hard. There is no way of getting around that, but if you have a great AP teacher, then it should not be much of an issue. The teacher makes a huge difference. A bad AP teacher gives you no hope of passing the test unless you plan to dedicate time outside of class to learn the material. The test itself is 2 parts, one part multiple choice and one part essay. EVERY AP test has some sort of essay/written part which accounts for about half of the grade. In English and History, students write actual essays or analyses, where as in Math or Science, a student will solve very long problems. The written section is divided into multiple parts and students get about 2 hours (depending on the test) to complete all of the parts. Guessing is beneficial on the multiple choice if you can eliminate one or more answer choice.
1/4 of a point is deducted for each wrong answer so do not guess blindly, but educated guessing is to your advantage. The quarter point deduction no longer exists. It is to your advantage to guess, even blindly on every question that you do not know the answer to. So now that you understand the breakdown of the test, how do you study for it?
Do Not Freak Out
AP tests are not used for college admissions at all. This is kind of annoying because students spend so much time learning the material and studying for the test that they should be worth something for admissions. The tests themselves are only good for college credit in some schools, should you decide to skip some introductory classes. Individual schools might have their own policies about using AP scores, but for college admissions, they really do not mean much. Long story short, stay calm and it is not the end of the world, even if you fail.
Buy an AP review book
These books are godly. Somehow the authors know everything that is going to be on the AP test and tell you only the important stuff. Sure it might be great to know about Calvin Coolidge for APUSH (American History) but in reality, he is not nearly as important as the guy who came 2 presidents later. (It was FDR by the way.) These books do a great job at refreshing your memory a few days before the test. (They are also great to learn a subject if you are too lazy to read the actual text book, but don't tell anyone that I said this) They have review tests in the back along with explanations for all of the answers for extra practice. Seriously, you should buy one.
Look at your notes
Chances are that your teacher knew what he/she was talking about during the past year when you sat or slept through lectures. Any notes that you took will help you study for the AP test and perform well on it. There are some occasions when this will not occur, but more often than not, notes are worthwhile to look at. Reread all of them if you have time after reading an AP review book. A second review never hurt anyone and there might be some additional facts that the book fails to mention that you could use in your essays.
What NOT to do
Do not kill yourself studying. There is no need to study for an entire week for one subject. You might learn the material a little better, but there is something wrong with your study habits if it takes you a week to learn some minuscule facts.
Do not reread the text book. I say this time and time again; rereading the textbook is a complete waste of time. DO NOT DO IT. Just don't. You could spend that time reviewing for the AP test in many more productive ways, or just sleeping. Everyone needs sleep.
Do not bring only 1 pencil and 1 pen on test day. Seriously, you should know better than that.
Do not stay up late the night before an AP test. This might seem like a no brainer, but a lot of people like to party in celebration of the end. Wait until after the test to celebrate.
Just remember that AP tests are not that important. The grades that students get in AP classes mean much more than the test scores. It is always possible to have a bad day and test poorly, and schools know this.You might want to pass your AP test very badly, but failing it is not the end of the world. One test does not reflect your abilities as a person. At the same time, everyone is capable of passing their AP test. Good Luck!
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