Another day, another AP exam

With AP tests coming up, students need to figure out how to manage their stress while finding effective studying methods.


I. Banerjee

AP Classroom and prep books, such ones from as The Princeton Review, are useful tools for studying for an AP Exam.

By Irene Banerjee

When thinking about the final days of school, many think of the same few upcoming events: SAT testing, Prom, activities for the Senior Class, finals, and of course, AP tests.

The AP program, created by College Board, provides students with the opportunity to take rigorous, college-level courses within the high school environment. AP courses require students to take an exam at the end of the year for every advanced placement class that a student takes.

With these exams approaching in fewer than two weeks, many have begun to prepare, yet many find themselves to be stressed during this time.

“I would set aside a certain amount of time every day [to study],” AP Chemistry teacher Allison Tuleo said. “Now some people have jobs and [extracurriculars] but you have to make a schedule for yourself.”

According to Tuleo, creating a schedule provides relief from the stress of taking an AP exam. When remembering and understanding content across the entire school year, it can be overwhelming to find where to begin studying. Making a schedule provides a sense of structure and clarity for students who may not know where to start.

Teachers have also been giving students resources and assistance to help them refresh their memory on content as well as help them understand anything they are struggling with.

“One thing that I have found that helps me with my stress and really in general, I think people just don’t take enough help from their teachers,” sophomore Rumaithah Khan said. “The teacher is there to help you. If you don’t understand the concept or are behind, go up to them and ask them for help.”

Khan, who is taking both AP Physics 1 and AP US Government & Politics, believes that communicating with teachers is one of the best ways to relieve stress as teachers are supportive of their students and know the content of the course better than any other adult at the school.

Asking for help to comprehend material is important, but so is understanding the structure of the exam. Based on the AP course someone is taking, the structure of the exam may be different. Most exams contain multiple-choice sections, but the writing portion is slightly different from test to test. The best way to understand the structure of the exam is to practice.

“I always tell my students to practice, you can never practice enough,” AP US Government & Politics teacher Renee Fowler said. “The more you practice, the more you know your mistakes and the better prepared you will be on AP day.”

Fowler also suggests students should look over old study guides and worksheets, as well as should use online resources, such as Khan Academy and Quizlet, to their advantage. Using a variety of resources can help students process information in different ways, ultimately making their ideas of concepts very clear.

Since AP tests are a little different than most in-class tests and final exams, it requires a thorough understanding of the material rather than pure memorization.

“When you’re studying, please, please take breaks because if you’re studying for long periods of time, your brain stops retaining information,” Khan said. “You end up studying to [memorize] and you’re not studying to actually understand the knowledge.”

Overall, the AP Exams can cause stress among students, but with the proper mindset and tactful methods to study, the hard work individuals have put in will pay off in the long run.

“You should be proud of yourself just for accomplishing a college-level course,” Fowler said. “This is a valuable thing to do. Even if you don’t end up taking an AP exam, or you do not pass it, it’s still very valuable to go through an AP course.”