Five Tips for a 5 This AP Season


By Sonja Malek, Academics Editor

Next week will mark the beginning of the two-week stretch of Advanced Placement examinations, and whether you’re taking one or five, you’ll want to be prepared. As a senior heading into my fourth year of AP tests, I’m here to give you some advice to do your best this AP season.

1. Have a game plan for tackling the test.

Do you read the questions before reading the passage? Tackle the easiest ones first? Plow straight through the entire test? Personally, I’m that last one, but it depends entirely on your own style. It also helps to know how many questions you should aim to get correct to get the score you want, and for that you can play around with AP score calculators. I wouldn’t suggest spending too much time with these since it can become an obsession, but definitely take a look and figure out what you need to do to make it happen.

2. Prepare for testing the night before.

Set aside several pencils and pens, as well as a calculator or whatever else you may need. Set out your clothes for the next day as well, and make sure they’re comfortable enough where you won’t be bothered during the test, but not so comfortable that you’ll fall asleep. If you’re prepared, you can wake up and get ready without having to scramble around, meaning you’ll enter the test in a better headspace.

3. Study a bit the night before.

Most teachers discourage cramming the night before —  and especially the day of — and with that I would mostly agree. But it definitely helps to refresh your memory about some of the harder concepts. The night before the test, watch a video or three about a few of the ideas that were hardest for you or that you learned earlier in the year, review some notes, and head to bed early. You shouldn’t try to cram all of the Chinese dynasties into your brain 10 minutes before walking into the AP World History test (guilty). It also helps to warm up your brain and get it in the right space for the right test. For example, if you’re taking a language, practice speaking just before the test, review a bit of grammar, and walk in prepared.

4. Eat dinner, eat breakfast, and bring snacks.

From my own experience, eating a good dinner the night before a big test is just as important as eating a good breakfast the day of. Though nerves and all that cramming the night before may make you lose your appetite, a solid, healthy dinner is key to feeling good the next day. In the morning, eat a light, healthy breakfast with a bit of protein and possibly some citrus to wake you up, and bring snacks for the break between the different parts of the test. You can never be too prepared when it comes to food.

5. Follow all of the directions.

After all the hard work and time you spent preparing, it would be a shame if your score got cancelled for accidentally taking out your phone or if your score got misreported because you didn’t fill out all of your information correctly. And trust me, they do take this seriously. I would suggest not even bringing your phone into the testing room to make sure it doesn’t go off and you aren’t tempted to touch it. And do your best not to let your eyes glaze over when you start to hear the same set of instructions you’ve heard so many times before. You owe it to yourself to not mess anything up.


Best of luck this AP season!