Student’s first hand advice on how to combat the stress of AP Exams


Many students tend to leave all of their studying for the night before their AP Exam.

Becky Han, News Editor

The prospect of AP exams is becoming less of a “do it later” thought and more of a “oh my god, why is this so soon” one.  If it is your first time taking an AP exam, I hope the preparation process hasn’t been too grueling for you.  If you do happen to be one of those students who have experienced this in the past, I sincerely wish that you will be able to endure through this again while looking forward to a freer time after APs.

I know all of you have heard bland pieces of advice like “study more” and “stop procrastinating” many times.  But, truthfully, how helpful are they?  Realistically, what you have to do is start planning. Now.  Literally write out your weekly goals, including how many chapters or topics you plan to finish reviewing for that week.  I would also consider purchasing or borrowing a review book for your specific course, as it may be easier for you to study from these simplified notes rather than from a dense textbook.  However, it’s okay if things don’t go exactly as planned since you can always adjust things, but you should still make efforts to follow these goals.

“It’s best to start preparing as soon as possible so you don’t get so stressed last minute,” said junior Eden Bloch.

Secondly, make sure to look over the format of the exam at least a few days prior to the test date.  This will allow you to become more accustomed to the type of questions and essays that will show up.  Consider taking a few practice tests while simulating test day conditions, such as keeping time limits in mind and maintaining minimal distractions, so you can get used to what the actual test-day experience will be like.

Next, make use of your days off from school.  That doesn’t mean spending the entire break studying, but do make use of some of that extra time to review some bits of information.  Looking over the material during this time will help you retain it faster the next time you look over it.  Although this recommendation is not possible to start now, try to make it a reality for next year if you plan on taking AP exams again.

“Don’t try and cram anything the night before.  Spread out the work and create a schedule and stick to it,” said junior Audri Wong.

Additionally, since many AP exams are several hours long, it really won’t be beneficial for you to cram everything the night before and end up getting little to no sleep.  Your body needs some rest, preferably those heavily romanticized but very much needed eight hours of sleep, so you can be alert to take the exam the next day.

Lastly, even though you’ve probably heard this a hundred times, it’s extremely important to have confidence in yourself.  I know that you may not feel perfectly satisfied with how much you prepared for these exams, but try not to let that interfere too much with your mental state in such a way that you feel as though it is consuming you.  It’s completely acceptable to not do as well as you initially wanted.  It’s totally fine to not perform to the best of your ability on that particular day, as things like that just happen sometimes.

I suppose we all go through these kinds of events and we all take something out of it, that “something” maybe even being a better understanding that there will always be setbacks in life.  But, hey!  At the end of the day, at least you can reward yourself for surviving through an AP exam, which isn’t something that every high school student is able to do.