AP testing starts next Monday, kicking off a stressful few weeks for AP students. Although it’s a time of high intensity, there are a few ways to make it a little more manageable. Here are the top 10 ways to alleviate stress during the AP test weeks.
1. Eat a healthy, filling breakfast
This may seem like the most obvious thing to remember, however, most people still don’t do it. As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating a good breakfast that will both leave you full and fill you with energy is essential to your testing days. It’s going to be hard to focus on the test in front of you if your stomach is continuously growling!
2. Remember to bring a #2 pencil
I’ve learned this lesson the hard way… A mechanical pencil is not a number 2 pencil. It may say #2 on it, but that doesn’t mean anything. Bring multiple lead pencils to the test, and make sure to sharpen them as well. Chances are, somebody is going to ask you for one, so make sure you have at least 3 or 4.
3. Balance out your studying
Don’t cram! Trying to pack all of the information into one night’s worth of studying is neither enjoyable nor practical. Chances are, you’ll overload your system and the information won’t stick as well. Of course, it makes sense to go over your materials both the day before and the day of, but please, don’t do it all at once.
4. Put your all into practice tests
This is more of a before-test tip, but it’s important nonetheless. Practice tests may seem dull or unhelpful, but I assure you, they’re essential. It can be hard sometimes to study for an AP test, considering for some subjects, the material or concepts can’t be given out before the test. There’s no real study guide or easy way to review. That’s why the practice tests are so important… they’re possibly one of the most valuable ways you can review.
5. Reward yourself
Preparing for an AP test is undoubtedly a lot of work, so it’s important to treat yourself once and awhile! Create something to look forward to after the test, like going out for ice cream or buying a new pair of shoes. Establishing a reward will entice you to keep pushing on through the week.
6. Make a motivating playlist
When it comes to pumping people up, nothing is better than a motivating playlist. Take a moment to sift through your music library and pick some songs that make you feel good! Then, start off your AP testing day by listening to these tunes. It’s a guaranteed mood-booster. Another bonus tip that goes hand in hand with this one is to create a study playlist. If you focus better with music, listening to songs specifically designed to increase your focus may be a good idea.
7. Believe in yourself
A little tacky, I know, but it’s a cliche for a reason. Believing in yourself can fill you with so much confidence! If you go into the testing room with the mindset that you can’t do it, chances are, you won’t get it done. However, if you shift your thinking to a more positive track, you’re more likely to succeed. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Believe you can and you’re halfway there”.
8. Utilize your teachers
Teachers can help your studying tremendously. Although they can’t give the test details for obvious reasons, they know some helpful studying tips and tricks that could most likely benefit you. Don’t be afraid to ask them – I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to help.
9. Take breaks
Although studying for hours at a time and getting it over with may seem tempting, try to avoid that method at all costs. This is similar to spacing out your study time, in which you’re more likely to retain information. Fill these breaks with fun things, such as having a yummy snack or watching an episode of your favorite show. Give your overworked mind something else to focus on for a while. Chances are, when you get back to studying, you’ll be more focused.
10. Get a good night’s sleep
The last tip I have is to go to bed early on the night of the test. As much as people would beg to differ, a 20 ounce cup of coffee with 5 espresso shots in it still can’t replace the feeling of a good night’s sleep. It’s important to feel your best on testing day, and that includes being alert. Teenagers are supposed to get 9 and a half hours of sleep at most, so if you get up at 6 AM usually, try going to bed between 8:30 and 9 PM. It may seem early, I know, but it will be worth it in the long run!
Following these tips will surely help you achieve the best AP test experience possible. Good luck!