Q&A: Getting Ready for National Exams

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By Gauri Mangala
Features Editor

It’s that time of year again! What? No, not spring… AP National Exams!! With that being said, it is also the time where AP students start to get overly stressed about getting that 4 or 5 on the National. Shawn Barrett, junior, offers some advice to those exact students about preparing for the exams and, hopefully, not getting too stressed out about them.

Q: How do you prepare for the AP exams?
A: Preparing for the AP exams can seem like a daunting task at first, but as many people have heard before, reviewing a small amount every night or every other night can make studying and preparing a lot easier and stress-free. This is how I normally prepare for any big test, including the AP exams. Using time wisely is extremely important with preparation, and although we all know how hard it can be to actually sit down and study, creating a schedule or plan to review certain AP classes every now and then can make the AP exams seem a lot less intimidating when May rolls around.

Q: Do you use different techniques for different subjects?
A: Not really, but as I’ve said before, taking a small amount of time to study different subjects every day can help a lot with overall review. For example, a simple schedule could look something like reviewing 30 minutes on Monday for AP US History, 30 minutes on Tuesday for AP English, and 30 minutes on Wednesday for AP Statistics. Rotating this schedule throughout the week will quickly add up and the amount of time spent on reviewing, and will help with the preparation that can save you from cramming the nights before the exam. Switching the subjects studied each day can also be helpful, because it can reveal which subjects you may need to study more and which you may need to study less. Figuring this out can be important, because it is an indicator as to which subjects you must focus on and which subjects you might not have to study as much for.

Q: What reviews do you like that you have done in some of your AP classes?
A: Usually, teachers know what they are talking about when it comes to review. From experience, I can honestly say that sometimes review packets or resources that teachers provide can be the most valuable asset when it comes to studying for the test. This is because resources like these are general outlines of what is crucial to know for the exam. These general ideas can be very helpful, because it can help indicate which areas of that particular subject you need to review more or quickly go over as a refreshment for your memory.

Q: As a veteran of national exams, what advice do you have for first time test takers?
A: My advice would be that if you use your time wisely and study when you have the time to, there should be no worries about exam day. I feel as though people often forget that they have been taking a class that has been specifically catered toward preparing them for this one test, so instead, they get too caught up in being too nervous and anxious when exam dates are not too far ahead. Whether or not the AP teacher was a valuable asset is a different story, but in general, the class in itself is created to help students succeed, not fail. It is important to just stay calm and be confident in what you know and what you have studied. This is important to keep in mind, but other than that, just try and take the exams to the best of your ability and show off what you know. Good luck!