Tips for The AP Exams From AP Teachers

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AP test season is officially in full swing, meaning masses of students are scrambling to study and prepare. It can be difficult to find the correct studying habits, especially during the age of COVID-19, where everything is through a screen. Lucky for us, a group of M-A AP teachers weighed in and advised on how to study for your exams.

Teachers recommended that students should spend more time studying for the multiple-choice section. Lisa Otsuka, an AP literature and former AP psychology teacher, explained it by saying, “It is a three-hour exam and the multiple-choice portion (the first hour) constitutes 45% of the overall score. That makes multiple-choice quite important. Questions are not highly interpretive. Students should find evidence for their answer in the prose passage or poem.” Teachers suggested that a great way to study these questions is by looking at your AP classroom account, which can be found on the College Board site. Here one can find a set of study questions provided to students for every course. Because these study questions are made by the College Board, they will give you an idea about what you may see on your actual test. Jonathan Simon who has taught  AP Psychology, AP Calculus (AB and BC,) and AP Computer Science throughout his career agreed that students should utilize the AP provided practice questions and that, “taking timed practice exams give students a feel for the required pacing to get through all the questions.”

Florence Tubiana, an AP French teacher, gave specific advice for anyone taking an AP language test. Because language is so different from the other subjects, it requires more practice and understanding than it does studying and memorizing. Her biggest tip is “listening to the target language music or newscast/podcast” Another recommendation she gave is, “studying with a friend or classmate can be really beneficial as well, as they may share info and study guides. I know it helped me tremendously in university when studying for finals, which were some of the few grades we had for the semester.”

Elizabeth Aitoro, AP Modern European History teacher, agreed with the advice of all the teachers but also recommended for students to “Study in chunks – I recommend 20-30 minutes chunks. Even if you study for longer, break the time down into chunks and take a break in between each chunk.” Aitoro also advised against students who like to cram all the information they’ll be tested on into one night of studying. She said, “there’s actually not much you’re going to be able to do the night before to drastically change your chances of being prepared for the exam. . . .except for getting a good night’s rest.”

As important as knowing the information is, it is just as important to take care of yourself and your mental health during this stressful time. Tubiana agreed by saying, “sleeping and taking mental and physical breaks (going outdoors) are very important.” 


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