Putting your study skills to the test

Your guide to the AP exams


Leah Schroeder

A photo illustration representing your steps to preparing for the AP Exams.

The sun beats down on your beach towel laid out by the cool waters of a refreshing pool. Your mind is clear, besides considering what plans you should make later. Life is good… until you remember all of your imminent AP exams. 

If you’re like me, studying for the AP tests has been on your to-do list since March. But somehow, each weekend this studying gets pushed off to the next. It can be hard to balance school work with extracurriculars, family, friends and additional studying, so no judging here! These two-to-three hour tests can definitely be surrounded by a lot of stress, but making a study plan can relieve some of this apprehension. Here is your guide to finally tackling the studying that has migrated to the bottom of your to-do list, and being perfectly prepared for all of your tests. 

  • First, check when your tests will be. The most important element of the AP exam process is showing up on test day. Due to the unique circumstances of this school year, tests are being administered during three different testing windows. Also, tests are being offered both at home and in person. Check and double check the dates of your tests as well as the location. 
  • Next, create a study schedule. You will be less overwhelmed by the study process if you break the studying into small sections. The content will be easier to tackle, and you will be less likely to shirk off your studying responsibilities if the content is spread over the course of a couple weeks.
  • Use your resources! There are so many resources available to you. College Board offers numerous studying resources, and many AP teachers are also offering review sessions. From YouTube videos, to websites, notes and textbooks, there are so many opportunities available, so find what works for you!
  • Everyone studies differently, so it is really important to know which techniques that you find effective. Some strategies include:
  1. Creating study guides
  2. Making flashcards or using Quizlet
  3. Watching videos
  4. Reviewing notes
  5. Writing practice tests
  6. Condensing notes to one page
  7. Teaching a friend or family member
  8. This list is certainly not exhaustive: there are infinite studying possibilities. Discover what works best for you!


  • On test day, if you still haven’t touched your notes or cracked open your textbook, don’t pull an all-nighter to learn a year’s worth of content. Prioritize getting a good night’s sleep, eating a nutritious breakfast and going into the test with a positive attitude. This can be very beneficial for your score.
  • After the test, take a deep breath. Congratulate yourself on all of your hard work and be proud of all that you have accomplished. Regardless of your score, you are a smart, amazing person!

When asked what advice they would like to give their students, here is how your AP teachers responded.