AP exams are tough. Getting high scores in this exam requires you to invest a lot of time and effort into preparing for the test. But it’s well worth it. Impressive test scores lead to increased admission odds. Additionally, good scores make you eligible for college credit. Most colleges give credit to students who score 3 and above, but some only give credit for scores of 4 and above. How does this affect you?
Think of college credits as money in your pocket. The more college credit you get, the less you pay by way of class fees. This means taking smaller student loans and graduating with lower student loan debt. This is a huge benefit, one that you cannot afford to dismiss.
Let’s take a look at what you can do to boost your AP exam scores.
Start early—this sounds so simple and yet this is the one mistake most students make. They don’t give their upcoming exam a second’s thought until there is barely a month or less left. Then they scramble and try and cram all the portion in that limited time. It’s almost impossible to boost your AP exam scores if you only start studying at the last minute. You’ll be studying under tremendous pressure, which will impair your ability to retain anything. As the exam date approaches, you are more likely to feel burnt out with putting in so many study hours a day.
Starting early is the most crucial tip for boosting your AP exam scores. It allows you to pace yourself and schedule in study time without compromising your ongoing school work and other commitments.
When you start early you are more relaxed while studying. This has a huge impact on your long-term retention capacity.
Set A Study Schedule and Make A Study Plan
If you’ve started early, you’ll be able to set a workable schedule around your ongoing classes, homework, and personal commitments. Everyone’s study schedule will look different. Think about what works for you and set your schedule accordingly.
When creating your study plan, it’s a good idea to specify what you will be reviewing during that study time. With this in place, you are less likely to waste time trying to decide what to study. You can get right down to it.
During the first few weeks, don’t spend time reviewing what you already know. Instead, focus on those areas where your knowledge is weaker and get help if you need it. It’s those weak areas that can take your score down. Don’t forget to include multiple practice exams in your study calendar.
As you get closer to the exam date, it’s time to shift your focus from reviewing the syllabus to test prep. This means more practice exams and less studying.
Get A Study Partner If You Need One
Do you get distracted easily? Do you get tempted to check your messages, scroll through Facebook, or just bounce a ball against the wall during your scheduled study time? If that describes you, you may want to consider getting a study partner.
With a study partner, you are less likely to get distracted. Of course, you want to be very selective about who you partner with. You want to study with someone who is focused and determined and will encourage and support you. You don’t want to partner with someone who will end up being just another source of distraction.
Take Several Practice Exams
Taking practice exams is key to improving your AP exam scores. Practice exams will give you a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses so you know what you need to focus on. However, taking these tests randomly whenever the mood strikes is not going to be of much help. There is a right way to take AP prep exams so you get the maximum benefits from this exercise:
Take the first practice exam before you start your study schedule. This test will help you understand your weak points so you know which areas you need to focus on. After this, schedule the next practice exams at least once every month.
Practice exams under actual test conditions. This means you will need to answer the paper at one stretch. No taking a break in between or splitting the test over two or more days. Answering the paper under actual test conditions gives you a better idea of the time you have to complete the test. If you don’t manage to answer all the sections or questions, you know you need to work faster. It would be a shame to lose marks only because you ran out of time on the test day.
Review your test. This will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses and what you need to focus on.
Schedule in Regular Breaks
If you’ve started studying early, you should take some time off from all academics. Spend some time on your favorite hobby, catch up with family and friends, or indulge in some physical activity. Taking a break from studying will help you come back refreshed, re-energized, and ready to dive in. Without a break, you run the real risk of getting burnt out by the time your exam date arrives.
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