AP Exams and Study Routines and Burnout, Oh My!
During the first few days of May, many students are scrambling to prepare for their AP exams that will occur throughout the remaining weeks of the school year. This year, College Board is offering three separate testing dates for each testing subject from early May to mid-June. Regardless of whether students will be taking their exams at home or in person, they still need to take responsibility for studying and preparing.
Earlier this week, several students filled out a survey regarding how they have been preparing for their AP exams. Responses varied, detailing both their planned study routines and how their teachers have been helping them prepare.
Of the students who completed the survey, many stated how they have been watching videos on relevant content, reviewing class notes, and using review books to practice. Some also mentioned the helpfulness of AP Daily videos, an instructional resource from College Board described as “short on-demand segments… that cover all course content and skills.” Additionally, they commented on how our teachers have been providing class notes and practice on the various testing formats, focusing on content that students struggle most with, and utilizing AP Daily videos for both in-class and out-of-class revision.
Meredith Edmonston, a Sophomore at Clayton Valley Charter who is taking AP European History, mentioned how her teacher assigns videos and activities that teach concepts and facilitate learning. One recent assignment included her and a partner creating a lesson plan which helped her fully understand the topic at hand, see the bigger picture, and draw connections, which is essential to mastering this particular exam.
Distance learning continues to be a large learning obstacle for many. Jordan Smith, a CV Junior, is taking the AP Chemistry, AP Spanish 4, and AP United States History exams this year. She has previously taken an AP exam and found that last year, it was easier to learn and understand the taught material. She expressed how she did not have to study as much last year compared to this year, as it is “much harder to learn this year” with distance learning. Despite the change in learning environments, Jordan is focusing on the different writing formats of her exams and the broader ideas as she prepares for her exams. She advises other students to do the same as she owes her good score on last year’s exam to her writing format practice. She also adds that reviewing broader ideas will help with all aspects of the exams.
One of the major concerns of students with this year’s exams is time management. Jason Shin, a CV Junior who will be taking the AP Calculus, AP Biology, AP Psychology, and AP English Language and Composition exams, mentioned how he needed to focus more on time management this year. He took only one AP class last year, so his approach to studying was drastically different. With four AP classes, Jason has already created a scheduled routine to maximize his study time. Many other students agreed that setting aside time to practice and study is difficult, but of paramount importance in preparing for the exams. Handfuls of individuals also noted how they wish they had set aside more time to study earlier in the year, in order to have spent more time reviewing difficult concepts.
Within days of most of our exams, remember to simply do your best! Your exam results do not define your worth, and they do not determine your life path. Nonetheless, it is still important to put your best effort into your exams, starting with a study routine. There are plenty of available study resources such online PDFs of practice questions, review videos, and flashcards. Everyone has different needs and commitments, so find a routine that works for you. It is never too late to begin studying; in the most extreme of cases, even confidently knowing one concept is better than none. Study diligently, take breaks, stay hydrated, and reach out to your teachers and peers if you need help!