AP test tips and tricks

Stephanie Dugan, Staff Writer

With the end of the school year approaching, many students have numerous responsibilities; a notable one: Advanced Placement tests.

From 2016 alone, 1.1 million students took at least one AP test in school, according to College Board and 2.7 million students are projected for 2018. Many choose to take on these cumulative tests to receive college credits. The success rates for most of these tests are high, but how can students feel confident in earning a 3, 4 or 5?


  1. It’s wise to revisit old material. Studying past notes for 10-15 minutes a day helps refresh the memory, according to the Princeton Review. Some students become overwhelmed at the thought of remembering an entire year’s worth of content, so this quick daily review strategy can help.
  2. Invest in an AP preparation book can and will help, according to the College Board website. They are  full of practice questions, previous AP tests and notes and reviews for certain subjects. Familiarizing oneself with the style of questions on the actual test will make it seem less daunting.
  3. For students trying to squeeze in that last chapter, try to get eight hours of sleep. A lack of sleep interferes with our brain cells and memory formation, according to research done by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Pulling an all nighter will greatly decrease vigilance, attention and memories the next day during the test. So put the notes and phone away and allow for your brain to rest.
  4. Try to designate time the morning of an exam to eat a good breakfast. Skipping breakfast can slow memory function and cause visual problems, according to the The Food and Nutrition Action Center. Cognitive skills are enhanced by a nutritious meal.
  5. When taking the test, be sure to pace. Looking through the entire test and assessing the questions will help with finishing the test faster, but with less chance of making a mistake, according to research done by the Social Psychology Network at Wesleyan University With the extra time, it is advised to look back at harder questions to check answers.

AP courses are designed to prepare students for the cumulative AP test. These are a few tips and tricks to implement that may increase the chance of scoring higher and reaching a goal.