5 Foolproof* Ways to Score a 5 on Your AP Exams

Hey, Shmoopers,

‘Tis the season to be panicky: yep, we’re talking about AP® Season. Things get started soon, which means you have just enough time to get your act together.

5 Foolproof* Ways to Score

a 5 on Your AP Exams

1. Make Educated Guesses on Multiple-Choice Questions

There’s no penalty for incorrect answers on AP multiple-choice questions, so even if a particular question is so confusing that it may as well be written in Akkadian, don’t leave the answer blank. Eliminate any choices that are obviously wrong, and then give it your best shot.

2. Zoom in and Zoom Out

No matter which exam you’re taking, you’re going to want to think big picture and…small picture. Sure, for AP World, you’ll want to know which empire was in power in East Asia in 618 CE, but you’ll also want to think about broader themes of history, patterns of change, or how different areas of the world relate to each other. Ditto for Biology, English Lang, Comp Gov…the list goes on.

3. Think Outside the Box

Turns out critical thinking is an actual thing. A thing that will help you thrive in college and in your career. And a thing that will help you ace any AP exam. If you’re not sure how to tackle a short answer question or an essay or a DBQ, start with some non-judgmental brainstorming. Like Forrest says, you never know what you’re gonna get.

4. Use Shmoop’s Test Prep

Uh…duh? If you don’t already have a license, subscribe to Shmoop for less than $1/day and get access to prep for literally every single AP exam on the market. Start by taking the diagnostic exam, and then read all the parts of the guide corresponding with your weakest areas. Next, focus on drills that match those weak areas. Two weeks before test day, take a practice exam. After you’ve inevitably missed a bunch of questions, read the parts of the guide that you skipped before, and test yourself by answering all the sample questions. With a week to go, revisit those areas that didn’t improve as much as you would have liked, drill like you’ve never drilled before, and take one last practice exam a few days before to (hopefully) boost your confidence.

5. Breathe

Seriously. In through your nose. Out through your mouth.

*Since you’re not a fool, there’s no guarantee.

You got this (and we got you),

SUBSCRIBE TO SHMOOP

Quote of the Week

“Nanu nanu.

Mork & Mindy 

When the sample questions start sounding like they’re from the planet Ork, it’s time to take a breather.

AP is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

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