With AP testing season rapidly approaching, many people often feel overwhelmed with the idea of studying for the tests they’re taking, and it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to preparing for tests. The tutors at Robin’s Nest wanted to share some useful tips for planning and structuring your study sessions!

The following is a compilation of tips from various Robin’s Nest tutors. Some of these tips are specifically geared towards studying for specific tests, while some are more general.

  • Practice!! It’s important to become familiar with the types of questions AP asks, especially the free response sections. Find questions from old exams or other similar questions and practice planning a response or writing your answer to time. Online resources such as Khan Academy or Heimler’s History on YouTube are very helpful.

  • Make sure to use AP classroom’s videos – they are short-form of the entire curriculum, and watching all of them is enough to get you through an entire test. Time your caffeine and sleep, because whenever the tests come around you’re probably going to be doing a lot of cramming – be wary of your limits, pushing too hard will probably hurt you more than it will help you. If you’re a senior, make sure to check what AP tests your college accepts! You may be spending extra effort on something that doesn’t benefit you at all.

  • The most important thing is to look through past tests, try the problems on your own, then checking your answers to the solutions. If you want to prepare outside of your class, I recommend:
    • If you don’t have or aren’t willing to spend a lot of time: Just look through past tests and search up concepts you don’t know.
    • If you have and are willing to spend a mediocre amount of time: Watch through AP test prep videos; can be from College Board or third parties, plus look through past tests.
    • If you have and are willing to spend a lot of time: Read through your specific subject’s college textbook(s) well and thoroughly. This will take a LOT of time and self-motivation; you should likely only commit to this if you know you are capable of following through with this and knowing you will be benefitting from this much more than only a good score from your AP test, such as if you think you will be majoring this in college, or have other significant competitions like Olympiads. After this you should be very fluent in your subject and the AP test will be a breeze. You should still probably look at some past tests to make sure you do know the material. This part probably applies a bit more to STEM subjects than others.

  • Make sure to look over practice multiple choice questions. One of the most helpful things for studying is to take practice tests to get better at the timing of the test! For AP World, go through each time period and make connections between events, people, movements, etc. This will be extremely helpful for the LEQ and DBQ.

  • Practice a lot, especially FRQs. On math and physics related things it’s good if you’re able to derive everything yourself, at least from what’s on the equation sheet, so you’re not reliant on memory. Look at rubrics for FRQs and have sort of like a template, or know the template in general for FRQs that you know will meet the points they’re asking for. Also look at the example responses. The AP grading rubrics have examples that earn certain amounts of points. First look at what you need to do you earn each point and then write an essay that you know earns all the points just to get a feel of how an essay that earns all or most of the points is like.

  • In senior year if you’ve decided on a college and major, look at the college’s website and find out what AP credits actually matter to your degree plan and what tests they award credits for. This way you can skip AP tests that aren’t going to help you and be less stressed so you can do well on your other ones.

We hope these tips help to give you a starting point for studying for AP tests! We wish you luck on all of your tests!

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