Okay, so winter break is over.
Three weeks of fun right? Wait, that’s right, you’re an AP student, so you had some homework. And now you’re back into the swing of things.
That’s good! Because in real life there will always be things you need to be responsible for even when you’re on vacation.
The bad: half of students fail AP exams.
The good: there is so much prep work available for you that getting a 4 or 5 is absolutely within the realm of possibility.
But you have to work for it.
Step 1: Take practice exams.
You don’t have to take it all at once. But at least once a week, complete one AP exam and test yourself.
Step 2: Find your weaknesses
AP Exams are a different version of the same thing. You might find that you consistently score high on skills with derivatives but man those definite integrals are messing you up (AP Calculus AB). Taking APUSH? Memorize key figures and dates and start finding which parts of history you just can’t remember. If you know what you’re weak at, you can be prepared and there won’t be any surprises.
You don’t have to buy these. Lots of times you can borrow them from someone who has taken the test, or you can find them in the library. It’s really best to use a version that is no older than three years before your exam year. These books are written by a collaboration of people who sometimes even create the exams. There are lots of helpful strategies and insights into how to pace yourself or tricks to learn and memorize things.
Step 4: Create a Schedule
Time really flies. And if you procrastinate (I’m so guilty), you’re going to find yourself facing three exams with only a few weeks to prepare for all of them. Map out when you take practice tests, when you score yourself, and when you study.
This is going to cut in to your free time. But you know when you’ll have a lot of free time? When you’re in a really awesome college you picked and you can do fun college things.
Step 5: Enroll in AP Exam courses
If you can, these courses are very helpful in getting you to succeed. This way you don’t have to map out a study plan or force yourself to stick to a schedule. They’ll do all of that for you. With consistent testing and strengthening your weaknesses, you are going to be ready for the exams no problem.
Step 6: Ask Your Family to Help You Succeed
Be open to asking your siblings and parents to help you in any way you can. Tell your mom and dad that Sunday is your study day, and to please let you be alone in your room and maybe pop in with brain snacks every now and then.
Asking your family for help holds you accountable to actually study and succeed. They can be your biggest cheerleaders. Oh, and you’ll make them really happy.
Good luck students. Exams are in T-minus 4.5 months.
About the Author
Indu Reddy – Friend of Dr. Ryan McComb
I went to Granada Hills Charter High School, took AP Calculus AB, BC, AP World History, AP US History, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics and AP Statistics with mostly 5’s and two 4’s (AP Calc AB and Chemistry). I tutored kids for AP and SAT Exams after that, and graduated top of class from UC Riverside. 8 years after high school, studying for those AP’s really paid off.