17-minute Distractions for APs

Posted by Shmoop on 4/3/19 12:17 PM

AP® exam week can leave you feeling like a hamster that's had its feet hot-glued to an exercise wheel. So...how do you make it through the AP week coming up? Our suggestion: treat your studying like it's a real job.

Uh, no, we're not going to pay you to study. What we mean is that you should approach studying the same way most productive employees approach their work. In 2014, a study found that people are most productive when they work for 52 minutes and then take a 17-minute break. (Talk about specific.)


Drawing a blank on what to do during your breaks? We came up with ideas for productive(ish) 17-minute distractions for each of the remaining APs.

AP Comparative Government and Politics

This one's easy: read the news. And we don't mean People.com and Entertainment Weekly—although there's plenty of politics in reality TV. We're talking global news about the big six of the AP exam: Great Britain, Mexico, Russia, Iran, China, and Nigeria. Yeah, there's no lack of stuff to care about there.

AP World History

Okay, so this one's actually 18 minutes, but this is one instance where it's okay to cheat a bit. Check out David Christian's Ted Talk Lesson: "The history of our world in 18 minutes." It's not exactly what the AP World History exam is about (unless there's a surprise question about the Big Bang on there), but that's why it's called a study break, right?

AP Statistics

Go to your local coffee shop and settle in for some people-watching. What drinks do folks order the most? How often does the barista misspell the customer's name on the cup? And how many other weirdos like you are there, creepily staring at everyone? 

AP Human Geography

It's no secret that old-fashioned cartography is totally outdated. Take a spin around Google Maps or Google Earth and explore a place you've never been. While you're at it, examine its socioeconomic organization. Or, if you're a stickler for the old-fashioned way, get out your musty, oversized world atlas and start thumbin'. 

AP Microeconomics

Take one step more micro and dive into some of our personal finance resources. It's one thing to be able to answer questions about market failure and another to pinpoint your own market failure. Seriously, how did you spend $9 on limes?

AP Latin

Kick back, grab some popcorn, and see a little Latin in action by re-watching your favorite scenes from Dead Poets Society. After seventeen minutes of Robin Williams, you'll be inspired to truly carpe diem and face that AP Latin exam with confidence. You might need it, too—the test is on Friday the 13th. Bonam fortunam, indeed.
Want to check out some of our Academy-Award-winning AP videos on the above subjects? You'll need a subscription to watch, but check 'em out here, if you have a hankering. 

Shmoop Quote

"My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time."

~ David Copperfield

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