While half of the high school is off shopping, the other half is busy cramming, because AP tests are in May. The beginning of May, to be exact. All of their preparing and studying comes down to this final day, the test day– where how you do is the determining factor of if you’ll be taking that class in college or not.
It’s a time of stress, kids cramming and quizzing each other in the hallways, teachers telling other students to shut up because they’re trying to help their kids prepare and other kids’ general confusion about what’s going on. It’s a time of impromptu study groups with the only student who has flashcards that day and it’s a time of sharing pens and pencils because you forgot that you needed to bring your own for test day.
There are so many recommendations put forth by Collegeboard and teachers, but let’s be honest– Collegeboard is full of people who don’t understand what today’s schools are like, and the teachers have been surprisingly out of touch of what high school is like, despite the fact that they work in one.
As a student who just finished her last AP exam, here’s four of my tips to surviving the most hellish week around and making out alive with some decent scores and only mild sleep deprivation.
1. Cram before
Teachers are forever yelling at students for cramming, but honest to God, there are some tests where there are questions I just so happened to be studying beforehand and getting those right could be the deciding factor between a 3 and a 4. So cram whenever possible. Quiz your friends with your homemade flashcards.
I don’t care if you’re dieting or not hungry– before an exam, you should eat! No one likes to hear a stomach grumbling during a four hour test, and your stomach shouldn’t be grumbling anyway. Eat some food so your brain has fuel to remember the answers you were cramming before. And use the bathroom beforehand, so you’re not pressed for time because you had the urge to pee.
3. Sleep earlier
This one is lame and super redundant, but sleep is very important for memory. Cram the morning of, not the night before through the morning of. Turn your lights off and get some shut eye so your brain has time to process all the information.
4. Dress comfortably
I don’t know if cold testing rooms are universal, but every AP test I’ve taken has been in an overly air conditioned room, and I’m never prepared for it. I’m either in shorts or sweaterless. All that means is I get cold quicker and I can’t concentrate on anything other than how pale my hands get when they’re cold. Wear sweats, wear flip flops, but wear what you need to survive a possibly cold room. Wear layers, so you can take one off or put one on, depending on the room.
These are the most important things for any AP exam, because you definitely want to be at your best and most comfortable. And don’t worry about looking out of place, because literally everyone dresses like trash for AP exams. Half of them just rolled out of bed and went to school. AP week is the best week to look your worst.