Advice, Announcements

What a Week!

Okay, so you’ve probably noticed by now that I haven’t posted in a loooong time. Like, two weeks, at least. Sorry if you’ve been depending on my writing prompts. I’ll try to get back to them soon. (Although I really doubt that any of you have really been thinking, “Wow, I wish there was a new ‘Aspire to Write’ post to read,” but if you have actually thought this, I’m honored. I would be even more so if you would tell me about it. 🙂 Anyway, I think now would be a good time to explain myself, or rather, the lack thereof.

This week, I had AP Exams. Now, if you don’t know what an AP exam is, you are (or were) either very lucky, smart enough not to self-inflict unnecessary pain on yourself in high school, or are (were) too lazy to attempt college courses before graduation. Basically, an AP exam is a test that usually lasts about 3 1/2 hours and follows the completion of a college level (Advanced Placement) course. It is meant to reward those who worked diligently throughout the year by appropriating a grade that equates to a specific number of college credits, which varies depending on the college. So, now that you know what it is, let me tell you more.

Before I continue, it is important to note that I did not say I had an AP EXAM. No, I had AP EXAMS, plural. In fact, I have undergone approximately fifteen hours of testing during the course of this week alone. I guess you could say I’m a pro now.

In order to avoid making this entire post sound like a pity party, I will try to offer you any tips that might possibly be of help to you if you are planning on taking an AP exam or exams. If by chance you have already taken them, and don’t plan on taking any more, you can simply read this article and reminisce about all the time you wasted back in high school and kick yourself for the things you didn’t do but should have done in preparation.

  1. Don’t wait to start studying until the last semester. This was a mistake on my part. I should have begun studying for the AP exams literally on the first day of school. It is never too early to begin, especially if you aren’t accustomed to timed tests and difficult, involved questions that require more thought than any question presented on an SOL.
  2. AP prep books are useful. I know that they are expensive, and that they are thick, and that they look utterly boring and arduous, but do not underestimate their ability to help you become efficient at taking AP style tests. If there is any way that you can get your hands on one, you are a lucky soul, my blog-reading friend. Most of the books are limited to one subject and contain a number of practice tests and questions, as well as summaries of all the topics within the said subject that you need to know for the exam. Because the AP exams are frequently redesigned, it helps to have the newest edition possible, but a few years difference will still be helpful.
  3. Time yourself when you practice. If you are like me, timed tests freak you out, big time. I can understand a topic completely, yet when I sit down to take the test and realize that I’m only technically supposed to be using a minute per question, I blunder, big time. (And yes, for most AP exams, the test writers recommend using about a minute and a half for each question, and there are usually about sixty questions and sometime between sixty to ninety minutes to complete them.) I know this all sounds terrible, but if you prepare by practicing with the amount of time that you will be provided with on the actual test, you will be much better off when it comes to test day.

Alright, so I think that’s about all the helpful advice I can squeeze out of my brain right now, but if you have any questions at all about what it’s like to take AP exams, or how else I prepared, please feel free to leave your questions in the comments. I’ll be happy to answer them. Hope this article is helpful for someone out there. 🙂