Students gear up for AP exams

Resources available for exam preparation


Hannah Gaines

Listening to a lecture, junior Josh Bash attended AP US History teacher Valarie Schrag’s first AP review session on March 30.

By Meredith Chapple

Prom, summer and finals are only a few things on students’ minds during fourth quarter. In addition, students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses will be preparing for AP exams.

With the exams taking place from May 4-15, studying for exams may seem like another item on the laundry-list of tasks students need to finish before the end of the year.

These tests can determine whether a student gets college credit for the class, so preparing for the tests is essential.

There many resources readily available for AP students that maximize studying efficiency leading up to AP tests.

Some AP teachers host study sessions after school. The sessions allow personal time between students and teachers so they can figure out what they need to focus on before the exam.

“What we do is we first start by going over the format of the test itself,” said AP US History teacher Valerie Schrag, who hosts some of the review sessions. “Then each week we have a different time period that we look at to both dust off the cobwebs of things we learned early in the year, but also to refine and revise the skills that we need for success on the AP exam.”

Students who took the exams last year will, along with a new test format, be getting used to a new setting. AP exams are now going to take place at Centennial Adult Education Center. This way, there will be no disruptions from school bells or people walking by in the hallway, like there would be if the exams were taken here.

While much of the necessary preparation can be done in class, students should invest time outside of school to get ready.

Print books are widely available for AP students to purchase and utilize.

Barnes & Noble and Amazon sell Barron’s Educational Series, which are geared AP exams preparation. Workbooks cost anywhere from $15-$34.

The school and public libraries stock similar books and can be a good place to study before or after school.

There are also technological alternatives to traditional study materials, which students may find more engaging as well as less expensive.

YouTube is good for a lot more than cat videos. There are channels that present course material in a visually-engaging way. They can be a good break from staring at a textbook.

“Bozeman Science is really good because they have 10-minute videos on specific topics,” AP Biology teacher Ann Foster said.

The website has videos that go into detail about subjects taught in AP classes.

The College Board changed the format of the exam this year for classes like AP US History, so now it will be more difficult to prepare by studying previous exams.

“This year is a different year because APUSH curriculum experienced a fairly substantial redesign for the school year,” Schrag said. “The test is a new test that has never been given before.”

Preceding this year, there were 80 multiple choice questions and three essays to complete.

Now there are fewer multiple choice questions, four short answer questions and two essays.

Staying calm and relatively stress-free during test time can be just as important as knowing the content.

“Take a break from studying every once in a while,” junior Andrew Bell said. “Take a walk instead of studying.”

Although resources like videos, websites and textbooks help to prepare for the AP exam, the most important way to get a good score is to pay attention in class.

“Cramming at the end to study for an exam isn’t how I studied, and it’s not how anyone else should study,” Dold said. “As long as you take good notes throughout the year, you should be fine.”

Other tips to prepare for your big test day

  • Take a pre-test so you know how to focus your study efforts.
  • Form study groups.
  • Start reviewing well in advance.
  • Don’t cram the night before.
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before.
  • Dress comfortably. You’re going to be there a long time.
  • Use the bathroom before your test begins. You won’t be able to leave.
  • Eat a good breakfast the morning of the test.
  • Attend class review sessions if possible.
  • Arrive early to your exam.
  • Understand the structure of the exam in advance.

Other resources to get ready

  • Free response questions
  • Preparation tips

  • AP English
  • AP European
  • AP History
  • AP Psychology
  • AP U.S. Government
  • AP U.S. History
  • AP World History

AP Exam Prep by McGraw-Hill

  • 400-500 questions and answers for different tests.
  • Full apps costs $9.99 and are unique to each test.
  • Availible for: