What you can do to relax and feel mentally prepared for AP exam week

Talia Sinclair, Staff Writer

AP exams are notoriously stressful.  Students are required to know all the material since September in great detail and to be able to analyze and write comprehensive essays about what they have learned.  This year, there have been added difficulties due to the pandemic.  While it is very important to study vigorously in order to ace the APs, it is equally important to take care of yourself and create efficient study habits.

Studying may include  meeting up online or in-person socially distanced with the people in your AP classes.  You can create an agenda and go over the tricky topics of the year.  Additionally, review books and practice exams are great resources to utilize in your study time.  Two websites that have excellent online practice are the College Board website and Albert.io.

“Using online resources for the AP exams is great.  I like to use the College Board website because it helps me to gauge my understanding of the year and practice the skills that are needed for the AP exams,” said sophomore Montana Moon. 

Some might find it daunting to sit down and open books holding the plethora of information that the AP exams require students to know.  

Fortunately, there are methods of approaching this formidable task.  You can time block your study and breaks using the Pomodoro method.  This technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The practice breaks down work into intervals, such as 25 minutes in length, which is then rewarded by a short break typically ranging from 5-10 minutes.  One way to facilitate this practice is by using an app called Flow.

While studying is necessary to prepare for the AP exams, it is also important to take care of yourself to have the most successful periods of study.  It is important to get the body moving, whether through vigorous exercise or taking a short walk during the day.  Getting exercise has a number of health benefits while also making study sessions more efficient.

“Regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.  Resistance training, balance and muscle toning exercises did not have the same results,” according to a study at the University of British Columbia.

Additionally, it is essential to get good sleep while preparing for the AP exams.  Sleep is imperative because it promotes learning, boosts cognition and memory, and reduces stress.  Furthermore, it is important to eat consistently balanced meals in the days leading up to the exams in order to provide energy that will help fuel the mind throughout the exam.