Teachers Offer AP Testing Advice
With the AP testing season approaching in early May, students and teachers are beginning their preparation for the Advanced Placement tests.
Late night cram sessions and sleep deprivation is common amongst AP students, but many teachers at American prepare their students with practice AP tests, essays, and general advice.
Many students try the “all-nighter” approach days before the exam, but AP Biology teacher Mr. Baker discussed the importance of using time wisely.
“Effective time management is key to success when it comes to AP exams and for the challenges of life beyond high school. There’s only so much time in a day and all-nighters aren’t an effective long-term solution,” Baker said. “Finding patterns in subjects is a great way to not only make deeper connections, but also to save time while studying, because you’re not trying to reinvent the wheel with each new unit.”
The majority of AP students are aware of test prep books available for purchase online and in book stores. Most test preparation manuals come with practice tests as well as a condensed version of all the information that may come up on the exam.
“It’s very important that students figure how they learn and what works for them, [because]each of the test prep books has different advantages and students will often have different favorites depending on their learning styles and preferences,” Baker said. “Some of them focus more on testing while others focus on reviewing the material.”
Mrs. Smith, an AP English Language teacher, also mentioned that despite students’ varying study habits, all students should familiarize themselves with the AP test before taking it.
“The more exposure students have to the multiple choice questions and explanations for the correct answers, the better they will do on the actual test day,” Smith said.
Teachers and counselors at school have also encouraged students to utilize online resources.
“Since [College Board] are the ones who actually create the AP tests, I encourage all my students to register with [them] online at collegeboard.org,” Smith said.
Besides College Board, many other online websites offer students practice questions, quizzes, and general information on AP tests.
“[I think] Shmoop is a great review site, because it lets students know which subjects they’re struggling with,” Baker said. “There are a lot of cellphone apps with review questions and many textbooks have banks of questions, as well as sites like Quizlet.”
When it comes to tests, there are numerous study methods that students can use, but AP tests require a lot of application and memorization, which is why not all students use the same tactics.
“One of the best study techniques is to close the book and make flow charts and concept maps with the material,” Baker said. “Start with big picture ideas and add details. If you run into questions you can’t answer for yourself, then try and solve it from another angle. If that doesn’t work then you know where you need to spend more time studying.”
Textbooks, test preparation manuals, and online resources are all possible tools to consider for the upcoming AP tests. Students should find the best learning process for them and gradually implement it as the tests gets closer.