Last-Minute Exam Tips for Students

This piece of advice is listed first because it is one of the most important andmost frequently overlooked AP strategies. Our brains are at their best when they are rested. If you sit for an AP exam while exhausted, you will have a much harder time recalling the information you need to earn a high score. AP tests are designed to assess knowledge and skills that you accumulate over months of study, so frantically reviewing your notes the week before the exam will not help you. You can study an hour or so a day to keep yourself focused and on-topic, but avoid working late into the evening.

AP tests are not yet computer-delivered, and this means that you will be doing quite a bit of writing by hand. It may seem strange to think about, but tired hands are one factor that can affect your performance. However, there are ways to minimize the likelihood of aching fingers. On the day of your exam, bring a stress ball or other stress relief toy that will help your hands relax from their pencil-clutch posture. You can even bring a small tube of moisturizer or Tiger Balm to rub into your fingers.

Part of entering AP exam week rested and relaxed is feeling mentally refreshed. If your high school has large numbers of AP students, your teachers may have already taken test schedules into account when assigning homework/project due dates. If this is not the case at your school, ensure you create a work schedule well in advance of your AP exams, and aim to finish any other academic tasks before your first test. This can minimize possible stress and distraction

As you study for your exams, include a bit of practice with editing essays. This advice is particularly useful on AP tests that heavily value writing, such as AP United States History and AP English Language and Composition. Before you take your first exam, locate several essays that you have written for class (perhaps even your AP classes) and edit them for clarity. On test day, you will not have time for extensive rewrites of your free response answers, so it is well worth knowing where to focus your energies. Include this practice in your daily study hour. While you cannot add much information to your store of knowledge at this point, you can improve your test-taking process.

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