For all of the students out there bogged down with writing DBQ’s, solving extremely difficult calculus problems, and getting minimum hours of sleep due to lab reports, that dreadful month of May seems so close yet so far. AP courses are meant to be and taught at a college level, and the amount of work, stress, and proactivity is extensive no matter what subject of AP one is enrolled in. One of the most challenging aspects of AP classes is a student’s task of balancing his or her school life and social life, as AP work is very time consuming, especially during the spring months before the AP exams. Students taking AP courses often find themselves in one of two situations: either spending excessive or deficient amounts of time and energy on their AP classes. Rather than discovering methods to achieve stability in regards to their AP classes, students routinely find themselves absorbed in work and lacking decent time with family and friends or put their AP work and stress at the bottom of the to-do list.
It is quite understandable that students taking AP classes have a lot of pressure, anxiety, and boatloads of assignments to complete, and it is also understandable that a good number of these students are sick and tired of dealing with these classes. However, from around early March and forward is the time period in which students need to begin preparing for their AP exams in order to ensure that they are as knowledgeable, organized, and confident as they can possibly be by May. When pondering how to prepare for their AP exams, students should consider the following:
- Students need to make sure that they time manage their AP preparation and create weekly schedules of what days or hours of each day they plan to devote to AP studying.
- A spaced out schedule starting in March with studying days once or twice a week will enhance AP material far more efficiently that a crammed schedule the last week prior to the month of May.
- Be effective while studying and do not waste hours studying at a time repeating information over and over again.
- Shorter, stronger periods of studying will help the students recall and understand the AP material better than longer periods of repetition.
- Simply reading over an AP textbook or notes again is not a beneficial way to study and will only waste time.
- Try utilizing notecards, AP guides like Barron’s, taking practice tests by hand or online, and other methods.
- Try to avoid studying for multiple AP classes the same exact way, especially when taking “opposite” subjects like math and English.
- Talking out the material to oneself or teaching it to someone else is another great way to ensure while studying that one comprehends his or her AP information and has enough of an understanding to present that material(the AP exams are not open notes after all).
With all of these methods listed, balance is key and directly impacts a student’s success; one does not want to be on the procrastination/stalling end of the scale in terms of preparing for AP exams, but he or she also should not study and prepare so much that stress and anxiety get in the way of fully understanding the material. By taking one day at a time and carefully planning ahead a spread out schedule with specific times and days to prepare as well as utilizing various resources to get the job done, students immersed in AP courses will feel more relaxed and confident in what they can achieve in May.
Keep in mind that although AP classes are stressful, they are not designed to ruin lives; they provide students with a significant amount of knowledge, skill, and preparation for future education.
Good luck to those taking AP exams in May!