By Staff Writer Eliza Esquibel
Graphics by Staff Writer An Ho
Although summer is still far-off, the end of the AP workload for many students is fast approaching. There is only one obstacle remaining: the exam. Testing begins next Monday, May 6. These final assessments will give students the opportunity to earn college credit for their dedication to more rigorous coursework. There is only one shot, which can be nerve wracking for anyone, whether they’re taking their seventh AP exam or their first. AP English teacher Dan Hardebeck had some final words for those preparing for testing. “Relax, smile, and just set your mind to doing your best; no one can ask any more than that,” said Hardebeck. Here some tips to aid last minute cram sessions and calm nerves for exam day.
- Practice Tests. A simple Google search will lead to hundreds of pages filled with AP style practice questions. On websites such as Khan Academy and albert.io, there are full length exams as well as short 15 minute practice questions based around specific topics for each AP course. These questions are taken from the College Board curriculum, so they will be similar to what will be seen on the actual exam. These sites will grade a student’s performance and provide feedback to aid future studying.
- Focus on Weaknesses. Do not avoid the most dreaded topics. Cover every base, including those that are frustrating or daunting. Those areas that a student knows well will come much more naturally on the test and do not need reviewed relentlessly just because they are easy to remember. Move on from the materials that are already secure to solidify those that are not. Students will be overall more prepared, as well as confident, when every topic is familiar to them.
- Review Videos. Recap videos, such as those on Crash Course, are often attention grabbing and relatively short. They focus on the key ideas and concepts that students must know. These videos attempt to explain the course in understandable terms, and make connections across topics within that subject. Ideas brought up in the videos can guide students to know the most signficant material and what they still need to work on, as well as provide a quick memory refresh.
- Repetition. Repeatedly reviewing specific material will make it stick. Search for Quizlet sets on the subject, or make a new one. Even a physical set of paper cards can yield success. Carefully go through the stack, committing each formula, concept, or vocabulary term to memory. Review the cards that were difficult to remember until they can be recalled at any time. Knowing the specific details can make earning a higher score much easier.
- Study Groups. It is not too late to bounce a few ideas off a friend. Find a small group of 2-5 people and get to work. Explaining ideas to other students can help determine if they makes sense, if they are accurate, or even lead to deeper and more specific understanding. Other students can aid in correcting mistakes. They can be helpful in clarifying topics that may currently be perplexing.
Tips for the day of:
- Memory Dump. Afraid of forgetting those last minute formulas or vocab definitions? Write them down on the test at the start, where they can be accessed at any point. There will be no need to worry about losing that knowledge if it is only a flip of the page away. This can also help clear a student’s mind of nerves if they know they have the accurate information at hand.
- Read directions and note details. Although AP exams are timed, do not speed through them. Work at a consistent pace to comprehend every question. Watch for the details that may be essential to selecting the right answer. Underline, circle, or box those details. Be aware of all parts of the question, as well as what it is really asking for. Do not miss a question just because the question was not read correctly.
- Answer every question. Everyone dreads those last 3 minutes of a multiple choice section when there are still 10 questions to be answered. Remain calm and continue on until that last minute. If it does come down to it, choose one letter and bubble in that answer for the rest of the questions. By picking all different letters for the remaining problems a student could easily miss every single one. In sticking with one letter, a student statistically has a better shot of answering at least one correctly.
The coming weeks may be stressful, but may also make the extra effort and dedication to academics worth it. Students have been putting in the hard work since day one this school year, and now is the time for them to show that off. Good luck and happy testing Blazers!