6 Easy Ways to Get Your Brain in Shape for AP® Exams

Posted by Shmoop on 4/30/19 11:56 AM
At a time when an impressive extracurricular load and a seriously moving sob story still can't get you into your dream school, schedule strength can be what separates you from the pack. The more APs, the better. Lucky for you, there are 34 of them to choose from. And even luckier, Shmoop has in-depth prep for every single one.

With just over a week 'til go time, we're handing you a few tips to make sure you're ready for the big day—er, days.


6 Easy Ways to Get Your Brain in Shape for AP® Exams


1. Keep track of time.

While you're studying, figure out how much time you have to complete each section. (We'll give you all that info in our guides, btw.) Learn to pace yourself as you take our practice exams, so that when you're taking the exam, your brain is used to how much time to spend on each question.

2. Take a diagnostic exam.

Why waste time studying for something you already know like the back of your hand? Or...the front of your hand, if you're into palm reading? Sure, a little review can't hurt, but you might as well spend most of your prep time on stuff you're struggling with. Our diagnostic exams will help you figure out your strengths and, uh, lesser strengths, so you can review and drill yourself on areas that need improvement.

3. Skip tough questions...for now.

No matter how well you've practiced your pacing, you'll inevitably come up against a question that stumps you. Instead of spending forever trying to tackle it—which could mess up your timing on the rest of the exam—skip it. You can always come back to it at the end if there's time. And regardless, it's better to get to all of the questions than to finally conquer that one and not have time for the rest. Of course, if you still can't figure it out even when you come back to it, then...

4. Guess.

Yep—guess. Both an unanswered question and an incorrect answer have zero impact on your total score, so if you have absolutely no idea what the correct answer is, make a guess. It can't hurt, and hey, intelligent guessing is actually a pretty important life skill. 

5. Don't forget about the basics: food and water.

Pack yourself a snack and a bottle of water for break time. It might make you feel like you're in 3rd grade, but the only thing worse than sitting in an hours-long exam is sitting in an hours-long exam with your stomach grumbling and your throat dry.

6. Take a test you didn't take a class for.

If your school doesn't offer a certain course, but you feel like you have a good handle on the material, why not go it on your own? Our prep will get you up to speed in no time. We know there's a hefty price for the privilege of sitting for these exams, but fee reductions are available in some cases, so if you can manage, we say go for it.


A Student's Guide to AP Exam Prep


Shmoop Quote

"Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony."

~  Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder

 To see more famous quotes, check out our Quotes page.

And while you're at it, let them ace their AP exams...please?


Topics: ap exams, Test Prep

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