AP exams: how students study amongst a whirlwind of stress

Shriya Bikumalla

More than 2 million students that graduated from American high schools in 2019 have taken over 5 million AP tests. Advanced Placement classes and tests are taken to demonstrate the mastery of rigorous college-level coursework. During the month of May when AP tests are given, it can be deemed a stressful time of non-stop studying. 

The preparation prior to AP exams includes reviewing the subject matter included in the test, as well as making sure to eat a healthy breakfast the day of. For test-takers, it is advised that the night prior make sure that two pens, two pencils, water, and a snack are brought to the test. AP tests can take anywhere from 1-4 hours, and being well prepared in all aspects would be wise. 

In order to properly choose which AP classes to take in the next school year, Counselor Ryan Bell recommends taking classes related to the area where a student wants to major in as well as, “AP English, AP Calculus, and AP science courses look good to most all universities.”

However, no matter which AP classes you take, admission officers will appreciate the student’s involvement in college level courses and the student’s chances of getting into a competitive university becomes highly likely.

Not only will AP tests benefit your application, it will benefit your overall college experience. Adjusting to the class levels before actually entering college are all benefits of enrolling in AP classes. Potentially saving money with course credits is also a possibility if students get above the passing test score of a 3. 

Studying techniques and tools are a vital part of the achieving the highest AP test score, a coveted 5. Many people’s study techniques vary based on subject. “Reviewing material for each class in manageable chunks over a longer period of time so that you don’t burn yourself out before the actual exam comes around,” junior Celeste Banuelos said.

Many people achieve their expected test results based on a strict studying method the student has been using for years. However, it might be time to find different ways to study for these AP tests which are vastly different from high school tests. Trying  different methods such as the SQ3R, Retrieval Practice, Spaced Practice, and PQ4R are proven to be effective studying techniques that students might want to try prior to the exams. 

As freshmen are only allowed one AP class, what made these students want to take AP Human Geography?

Freshman Rohit Marem said, “[I] wanted to see my potential and how well I could do in an AP class because I have always gotten good grades in honors classes.”

Pushing yourself to take challenging courses can prove to be beneficial as it can achieve many benefits regarding one’s personal growth and development. Challenging yourself academically demonstrates the willingness to take on a challenge and shows colleges that you are more than capable of being successful on their campus.

With effective study methods and well done preparations for student’s AP exams, Ayala’s students should remain calm and collected for AP exams. Good luck students and you will excel on your AP tests!