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Cramming for AP Exams

by Brenda Mao

With just around one week left until AP exams, now is definitely the time to start reviewing (and cramming)! Hopefully, you’ve been paying attention in your classes and working diligently throughout the year, but here are some additional tips for this last week.

1. Don’t wait until the last minute

With one week left, it’s already pretty late, so don’t procrastinate even more! Most people start transitioning from learning content to reviewing around 1-3 months before the AP exam, so now is not the time to slack off. If you decide to cram the night before the test, you won’t remember much information, and you’ll also ruin your sleep schedule.

2. Make a plan

At this point, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to review a whole year’s worth of content if you’re just starting now. As such, focus on the most important topics. Don’t spend time on things your teacher didn’t spend a lot of time on. Look over your notes and textbooks and pay close attention to things your teacher emphasized. If you’re able to, review past tests and quizzes to see which concepts or questions you didn’t understand. 

Furthermore, creating a schedule is important. Divide your time wisely so that you spend adequate time on everything, especially if you’re taking multiple tests. You want to ensure that you’ve covered all the important information from class before the exam. Make sure you also plan for breaks so you don’t get burnt out! 

3. Taking practice tests

Many practice tests are made publicly available to help students prepare. College Board releases FRQs and sample answers from each year, sites like Khan Academy have practice problems, and review books like the Princeton Review or Barron’s often include practice tests as well. Sometimes, College Board will release entire practice tests. If you’re unsure of where to look, you can always ask your teacher if they have any resources. 

Taking practice tests can help you get familiar with the format and timing of the exam, as well as identify areas where you might need to work harder in. Practicing can also potentially reduce some anxiety on the day of the test because you know what to expect. 

4. Get help when needed 

Since we’ve reached the last few weeks of preparation, if you have any questions, this is no time to hesitate! Teachers can most likely answer any questions you have, and they can offer additional guidance and tips for the AP exam. Additionally, your friends and classmates can be great study partners; you can even consider dividing up the review work for a class.

5. Take care of your health

Lastly, it’s crucial that you take care of your physical and mental health. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, taking enough breaks, staying active, and eating healthy. And be sure to get a good night’s sleep the day before your exam! 

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