3 Tips for Acing Your AP Exams

Taking tests can be one of the more unpleasant aspects of school. But with AP exams, you have one distinct advantage—your teacher has been preparing you for them throughout the year! Of course, extra advice never hurts. With your instructor’s guidance and these tips, you can score to your true potential:

Tip #1: Revisit the concepts you learned in class

Our brains can remember a tremendous amount, but as we have all experienced, the knowledge you learned at the beginning of the year may be shelved in a dark, distant recess. Thus, it is important to briefly revisit the concepts you discussed early in your AP course. Come test day, you will need to be able to quickly access all the class content. This can be difficult, so once you review the material yourself, form a study group with other students in the course. They may be able to help you better understand challenging concepts, but even if you know more than your classmates, teaching them can help you solidify your own knowledge.

Tip #2: Remember that you do not need to earn a perfect score

Most colleges and universities will not ask you to earn a perfect 5 on an AP exam. If you know which school you will attend, determine the minimum score that it requires for college credit. Many colleges will accept a 3, 4, or 5, which means you can answer a question or two incorrectly and still receive credit. Knowing this information will allow you to relax on test day, especially when you encounter a challenging question. It is okay to move on and first complete the items that you do understand. AP exams are timed, so it is important to utilize such strategies as returning to difficult questions if time permits.

Tip #3: Try not to stress too much

The fact that you are even sitting for an AP exam means that you are ahead of the game. Yes, the credits that you earn from AP tests may shorten the list of classes that you must take while in college, but if you do not pass, you can still walk away with significant benefits. If you sign up for a similar course in college, chances are that you will be very well prepared to succeed. Some AP exams can even be quite a bit harder than college tests! This is why it is imperative to stay up-to-date in the classroom throughout the term, rather than cramming for your exam the week before your test date. Sleep well the evening before, eat a balanced breakfast, sit down, and show this exam all the knowledge you have gained over the past few months.

If you follow the advice above, you will likely earn the score you dream of and the score that will impress your college. In many ways, the anticipation that surrounds AP tests is worse than the exams themselves. With confidence and proper prep, you will be well on your way to a great freshman year.


This article was written by Schuyler Durham

Schuyler Durham is a professional tutor and contributing writer for Varsity Tutors. He received his bachelor's degree in journalism from University of Oregon in 2014.

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