For many high school students, the end of winter break signals the beginning of Advanced Placement (AP) prep. Crunch time for AP tests can certainly be stressful. When it comes to studying for your exams, it is important to spend your study time wisely in order to be well prepared by May.
This includes avoiding AP prep myths, which can be harmful to your success. Believing these misconceptions can lead to poor study habits or to dissatisfaction with your progress, thus making it more difficult to succeed on your AP tests.
Below are the four most common AP prep myths:
1. “I will be fine studying for my AP exams on my own”
With potential college credit on the line, most students feel tremendous pressure to perform well on AP exams. Despite this, many students – even those who are struggling in AP classes – tend to believe that they can adequately prepare for their year-end tests without any outside help. But the truth is that, in many cases, outside assistance can be a great support for individual prep. These are three common mistakes to avoid on AP exams.
If you need extra help, your high school AP teachers are the first people you should approach. Advanced Placement instructors can address many of your exam questions, as they are specifically certified to teach AP courses. You can also form study groups with your peers. Through discussion and collaborative learning, you and your classmates can help each other better understand the material that you will encounter on your APs.
If, after spending time studying with your teachers and classmates, you are still struggling to comprehend class content, tutoring can be an excellent option. Besides helping you master AP content, seeking an AP tutor can help you develop a smart study plan, teach you test-taking strategies, and keep you organized, thus setting you up for success on current and future AP exams.
2. “Everything I need to know will be covered in class”
Another misconception is that your teachers will cover all AP exam material in class. However, Advanced Placement exams are extremely comprehensive in nature, which makes it challenging for even the most efficient high school teachers to fit all the exam material into their schedules for the semester or year.
Consequently, you will need to devote time to studying AP content on your own, in addition to attending classes and reviewing your notes. If you are unsure about what has been omitted from your AP class curriculum, ask your teacher for a list of topics that you should focus on in your own time.
3. “I do not need to take any practice tests”
Though reading your textbook is a key part of AP prep, this does not mean that you should solely read the text. In fact, taking AP practice tests can be an extremely effective way to review.
At the back of your exam prep book, you will likely find several practice tests. Time yourself as you work through each exam, silencing any distractions and adhering to test conditions. Taking practice exams can be excellent practice for acclimating yourself to AP test questions, which is especially useful if you have never taken an Advanced Placement exam before.
Practice tests can also help you determine what AP content is most difficult for you, signaling which areas you need to devote extra attention to while you prep.
4. “There is no need to review my class notes”
Of all the AP prep myths, this one is particularly dangerous. The notes you take in your AP classes are full of rich details and outside information that you may not find in an AP prep book. And on AP essays and free-response items, it is important to incorporate outside ideas and to connect details to overarching concepts. Your class notes can help you make these crucial connections.