Start preparing for AP exams now

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Many students take advantage of AP courses during high school to not only eliminate college costs, but to experience college-level work while still in high school, therefore easing academic anxiety. However, in order for these courses to count towards college credit and/or advanced placement, you must meet a college’s specific AP policy criteria, which includes taking the corresponding AP exam. Generally, a college requires a minimum score of 3, or higher depending on the subject, before granting credit or placement.  To ensure you can reap all the benefit of completing an AP course, you must do well on the exam. Exam preparation starts now, not two weeks before the test.

Work hard all course long.  The more knowledge you acquire and retain during the course, the less cramming you’ll have to do come exam time.  Complete all the readings and take diligent notes. If you feel the course is challenging, seek extra help right away from your instructor or form a study group with fellow classmates.

Take practice tests. There are many free practice tests and questions available, such as those provided by College Board, the organization that administers the AP program. Practice well in advance so you can identify weak areas and have time to improve before the exam date.  There are also tutors and test books available at a cost to help you study for AP exams.

Know the exam format and policies. Review the official exam policies and exam format well before your test date. Doing so will allow you plenty of time to prepare and make sure there are no last minute questions, such as if your calculator is acceptable.

Stay motivated. Think of the long-term benefits that performing well on these exams will have. Picturing the money you can save by earning college credit in high school can help when struggling to stay focused. Set short-term and long-term goals for yourself regarding AP exams and reward yourself for your progress.

Prepare the night before. Prepare all the items you’ll need for the exam the night before and get a good night’s rest. Relax and do any last minute reviewing. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready in the morning and arrive to the exam location ahead of time.

Give your AP courses the time and attention they deserve, but don’t let these courses overwhelm you. Follow these tips and don’t be afraid to ask for help, and you’ll be ready for the exams in May!


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