Flickr user Paul Excoff

While good grades are not the only criteria used to assess your application, they do play a major role in the overall admission process. One fantastic way to boost your app is by taking academically rigorous classes—like AP or IB courses.

But with academic rigor comes challenge, and AP / IB exams are harder than typical tests. So how do you study for them?

Familiarize Yourself With The Structure And Formatting

This is something you must do no matter what exam you are taking. Getting familiar with the structure and formatting makes it easier for you to prepare for the exams. Also, when taking the test, you will find it easier and faster to go from one section to the next or from one question to the next because you know what to expect.

Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the structure and formatting is particularly important if you have only tested in one type of exam before and are now switching over to a new one. This is because the IB and AP exams are formatted differently.

Time Yourself When Taking Practice Tests

The AP and IB are both timed exams, which means just knowing the answers to the questions is not enough. You must also be able to write down all the answers within the time limits. If you know the answers to all questions but do not finish writing them down within the given time frame, you will end up losing points.

Going into the exam without having done this exercise is a mistake, especially if you tend to do most of your writing on the computer. You could find yourself struggling to maintain the speed necessary to complete the exam.

Understand How Points Are Allotted

Understanding how points are allotted helps you decide how to handle those questions that you do not know the answers to.

For example, you do not lose marks for wrong answers in the AP exams. This means, if you do not know the answer to a question, it is better to guess rather than leave it blank. This way, you have a 50% chance of being right.

The IB exams on the other hand does not focus too much on multiple choice questions and their point scheme is quite different. The maximum score you can get for each question is mentioned on the test paper itself. A good strategy for taking the IB exams is to first answer all questions that are worth higher points and then answer the lower point questions.

Start Preparing Well Ahead Of The Exams

Both the IB and the AP have vast curriculum that make it impossible to revise at the last minute. Starting early and pacing yourself is the only way to retain everything without getting burned out. Set a study schedule and try and keep to it as much as possible. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough sleep during this prep period are just as important.

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