By Amanda Williams
I’m a junior with less than 36 hours away from taking my first AP exam. One would expect that I would be be preparing by reviewing materials and planning on getting a good night rest.
That is completely false. Instead, I’m writing this article on my suggestions for preparing for long exams like AP ones, the SAT, the ACT, or just high school finals in general just to name a few. Big standardized tests don’t bother me too much partially because my parents have never put too much pressure on me to get a certain score. They trust that I will do my best.
I know that my self worth is not defined by any sort of number on this Earth. I want you also to remember this as the school year comes to a close. That being said, I still have some tips on how to perform your best on these tedious but necessary tests.
1. DON’T FORGET TO SLEEP: Sleep is so important to your health and pulling an all nighter to cram for something will do you more harm than good. Sleep helps you retain the information you need to know if you study a few hours before bed so SLEEP!!
2. SAT/ACT: My suggestion for these tests is to do practice tests online or check out a practice book from the library a couple weeks before the test if you’re concerned about preparing. These tests are just trying to see where you are compared to every other high schooler. If you don’t do well, there’s usually another one you can try in a month or two, so use that time to read, take practice tests, and get help in areas you’re struggling in from someone, whether that’s a teacher, relative, or close friend. On the day of the test, bring a snack for during your break because you will be hungry.
3. AP EXAMS: More than likely, if you’re in an AP class, you’ve already been reviewing and or practicing for a little while now. If you’re super concerned with preparing, Half Priced Books is where I got my materials for reviewing. It’s definitely cheaper and just as effective as buying a brand new preparation book. Another great tool for studying is flashcards. We all know about Quizlet, but if you want physical flash cards, the companies that make review books also usually have flashcards made for the exam, also. Do not be intimidated by the test. Yes, it will be difficult, but you have been preparing since August for it. Take a deep breath. You can do this.
4. FINALS: Seven tests in three days can seem super overwhelming especially if you have been struggling with classes throughout the semester. If you’ve been having struggles in any class, do not be afraid to talk to your teacher and ask for help. As long as you don’t wait till the last minute to ask for this help, teachers are willing to help you understand the material in time for your final. Reviewing old quizzes and tests is a good way to see the type of questions that will appear on the final. Studying with a group can make the burden of studying lighter and more fun.
My last piece of advice is to not procrastinate until the day before to start studying. Light studying for a few days before the final will be more effective than cramming at the last minute and stressing. Be sure to get sleep the night before and bring a snack and water to your finals because you will be stuck in a room for a long time.