The countdown to AP Exams has officially started. The first AP tests start off on Monday at 8 AM and will continue for two weeks. This means it's cramming time. However, there are plenty of ways to prepare yourself for this stressful time. Luckily, this will be my fourth year of taking AP tests, so I have mastered the top preparation tips for this busy season. As a student that has taken multiple AP Tests, and passed, I want to share with you my top tips to prepare yourself for a stress-free AP season.
1. Adjust Your Sleeping Schedule
Preparing for the AP Test doesn't always mean studying. In fact, AP Test preparation can be done mentally. Have you ever gone to sleep late and woken up early? If so, you know the effect it as on the body. Not only are you exhausted throughout the day, but it is also very difficult to sleep straight. According to Healthline.com, "Good sleep can improve concentration and productivity," proving how getting a good amount of sleep not only makes you feel better, but also can help when it comes to thinking and focusing. Trust me when I say, you will need all the concentration help you can get when it comes to taking a three hour long test. So, to prepare yourself for this, start adjusting your sleeping schedule now in order to be fully adjusted by the time your test comes around. Try going to sleep at 9 and waking up around 7 - by doing this you are getting a full 10 hours of sleep. Along with this, turn your phone off at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep in order to slow down your brain so that you can sleep easier.
2. Make Flashcards A Week Ahead
One thing I do every year is make flashcards about a week before my test. By doing this, I have the entire week to review the information I need and I can go back and test myself if I forget a certain concept. The reason why I suggest making the flashcards in advance is because you will be able to relearn concepts moderately during the week and can review them if you don't quite get them. If you were to cram and try to learn all the flashcards the day before, you would most likely forget a lot of information and you will not feel prepared. I also recommend that you write your flashcards rather than make an online flashcard as you will retain more information when you write it down.
3. Watch One Review Video A Day
Something else I enjoy doing to prepare for AP Tests is watch one review video a day. This way I can relearn different topics I have learned. My personal favorites for history/government AP Tests are the Crash Course YouTube videos.
4. Adjust Your Eating Habits
Have you ever eaten a whole Big Mac and Fries and felt really gross after? This is a really common feeling I get after I eat junk food. It makes me just want to be lazy and sleep. While eating junk food is okay sometimes, it is better to fuel your brain with fruits and vegetables. In the days leading up to the AP Test, start incorporating some foods that are good for your brain such as fish, blueberries, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, turmeric, nuts, and even dark chocolate. Make sure to save the fatty foods for after the test as a reward! (My personal post-AP treat is Chick Fil A)
5. Move Your Body
Another way to help you prepare yourself for sitting down and writing for three hours is to move your body. Start doing some running, playing pick up games, hiking, dancing, and even yoga a couple days before the test in order to help with your thinking. According to the Harvard Business Review , "exercise — especially exercise completed during work hours -- can increase your "mental firepower" by improving skills like concentration, focus and creativity. " This is an outcome of the increased blood flow to the brain which helps improve brain cell production. If exercise is not your thing, any form of moving your body works. It's all about breaking a sweat and increasing that blood flow. One of my favorite forms of exercise is Yogalates and I will definitely be taking a class before my AP Lit Exam.
6. What To Do The Night Before
The night before the test it is important to eat a healthy dinner and sleep at a reasonable time. Make sure to take an hour to review all your flashcards and then put everything away. Understand that you have put in all the work throughout the school year and that you are very prepared for this test. Something I enjoy doing is laying all my clothes out the night before along with water, snacks, my AP Student Pack, my ID, Pencils, and a Pen so that the next morning I am not frazzled about trying to get everything together. This also helps me feel less stressed and helps me focus solely on the AP Test.
8. After The Test
After the tiring three hours are over and you have finally finished. You will feel brain dead and will need a nap. Go home, rest, treat yourself, and relax. There is nothing to worry about anymore. You cannot change anything now so there is no use in stressing about your scores. As long as you know you did everything you could do to prepare yourself, then you cannot be angry with yourself.
Regardless, if you choose any of these techniques, just know that you have been preparing all year for this. Therefore, you are bound to know something on that test. Do your best and good luck.
Reporter: Cosette Terriquez