Top Tips for AP Exam Week

If you’re a high school student taking one or more AP classes, springtime can be a tricky time of year. Summer vacation is just around the corner, yet one more challenge stands between you and some well-deserved time off from school: AP exam week.

While you’ve been preparing all year for your AP exams, you might still feel a little nervous. Questions like, “Have I prepared well enough?” and “Do I need to study more?” may be running through your mind. While those are valid questions, thinking about them too much will only make you more stressed at this point. Important tips for AP exam week, like getting sufficient rest, taking breaks, and staying organized should be taken into consideration, as they can help you manage any stress you may be feeling.

Here are the top tips for AP exam week to help you feel prepared:

AP Exam Week Tip #1: Get enough rest

Sufficient sleep is the foundation of strong performance on your AP exams. That’s because your brain works best when it’s well rested. It processes information faster and allows you to more easily and accurately recall memories (i.e. past lessons from class).

AP exam week is an especially challenging time to get a healthy amount of sleep, as you may feel tempted to do nothing but study each night before your exams. You may also have nerves getting to you, and that can interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep.

Instead of studying late into the night every night, consider just doing a quick review of the next day’s exam topic for no more than an hour. Go to sleep early so you have time to relax in bed and fall asleep with more ease.

[RELATED: What to Know About AP Exams in 2017]

AP Exam Week Tip #2: Take breaks between exams

Taking an AP exam is exhausting for both the brain and the body. If you have more than one exam scheduled on the same day, it’s important to take a break between them to clear your mind and recharge. This means you shouldn’t try to cram any additional, intensive studying between your exams: pushing straight through like that may increase your stress levels and leave you more likely to make mistakes on your next exam.

Consider the following ways to take a break and arrive at your next exam refreshed and less stressed:

  • Go for a walk or sit outside to get some fresh air

  • Eat a healthy snack

  • Listen to music or read a book not related to your APs

AP Exam Week Tip #3: Stay organized

Staying organized can greatly reduce your stress during a busy AP exam week. Make sure to familiarize yourself with your AP exam schedule, test duration, and test materials needed (i.e. calculator, ID, pencils, etc.).

[RELATED: A Scoring Guide to AP Exams]

A daily planner is a great way to keep track of your exam dates, as is an electronic calendar. You may also benefit from setting alarms on your phone to alert you of when it’s time to go to your next exam (just make sure they don’t go off while you’re taking your actual tests!).

AP Exam Week Tip #4: Give yourself some “you” time every day

Don’t over-schedule too many extracurricular activities during AP exam week if you can help it; doing so is a quick way to increase your anxiety levels. It can be helpful to keep your schedule free outside exams so you can unwind at some point each day, which will help refresh you and ensure you’re ready for the following day.

Some good activities to help you relax include light exercise, light reading, drawing, cooking, or even simply watching movies. As previously mentioned, avoid over-studying and putting extra pressure on yourself. You’ve put in a full school year of preparation for this week. Have confidence in yourself and face those exams accordingly!   

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