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The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

Students can use the resources on AP Classroom to study for the exams.

Exam excellence

Tips to help you perform your best on AP tests

Countdown to the first day of AP Exams
5/06/2024, 1:00 AM

From May 6 to 17, SHS students will complete their AP tests, which each cover the entire year’s material for their respective subjects. When scores are released in July, students will receive a number one to five, with five being the highest. This number represents how well they have learned the material. With AP testing coming up soon, it’s time to start studying. Although it can be overwhelming at first, these tips will help you navigate studying and get the most out of your time.

Start preparing early

I know we’ve all heard this a million times before, but you need to start studying far in advance. I generally begin ramping up my study sessions over spring break and continue them up until I take the test. If you wait until the last minute to study, you simply won’t be able to review everything. There’s an entire school year of material to review, and giving yourself enough time to look through and practice each concept is vital. Additionally, starting early allows you to break your test prep into shorter sessions, which helps improve long-term memory according to the American Psychological Association.

Utilize study resources

The topics covered in each AP class are standard across the country, and thus there are limitless resources to help study for the tests. From physical review books to online practice tests, the world is your oyster. I personally like The Princeton Review AP Prep books, and you can find inexpensive gently used ones online or rent them from the library. Khan Academy is another great resource as is AP Classroom. All of these tools incorporate material review and practice test questions, which allow you to go back over the main ideas from the class and familiarize yourself with the style of questions that will appear on the test. Also, don’t forget that your teacher is a great resource. They teach the class, after all, and can provide great insight or additional explanations for difficult topics.

Focus on concepts, not specific facts

In my experience, it’s much more beneficial to learn the big ideas of a class rather than trying to memorize each piece of information. For example, when studying for Calculus AB, I worked on reviewing general topics from the class like calculating integrals and derivatives rather than memorizing how to do specific problems. Studying in this manner will allow you to actually understand the material rather than relying on memorizing specific question types. And, because the questions that appear on the AP test each year can change, studying this way will help you be more prepared to adapt to the test.

Use mnemonic devices

There’s a lot of information in AP classes, and even though it can be overwhelming to begin studying, using mnemonic devices can help you recall hard-to-remember information. Of course it’s great to focus on learning concepts instead of specific facts like mentioned above, but there are also some things that you just have to remember. For example, in AP Psychology, there are tons of psychological models that you have to memorize, and using mnemonic devices helped me immensely with this. To remember the parts of the brain, I made up silly associations. The hippocampus is the area of your brain that stores memories, and I remembered this by thinking about how seeing a hippopotamus on a college campus would be a memorable experience. Even though study devices like this may seem far-fetched, many studies have shown that mnemonic devices reshape our brains to help us remember information better, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Take practice tests

Each AP test has a specific structure, and it’s important to familiarize yourself with it before test day. Having the endurance to get through tests that last for more than three hours is difficult, but doing full-length practice tests beforehand can help. Practice tests also use the same styles of questions as the AP test and help you to get an idea of what concepts the tests focus on. Most AP test prep books will include content reviews as well as practice tests, and they’re great places to start. From my own experience, practice tests have greatly reduced my test-day stress and allowed me to perform my best.


With these tips, you’re all ready to begin preparing for your tests. Along with these study tips, make sure that you’re prepping your body for the test too. Get plenty of sleep the night before and eat a nourishing breakfast so that you’ll have plenty of energy to make it through. The final thing that is important to remember regarding AP testing is that your worth doesn’t come from the score you receive. Some people are great test takers and others aren’t, and the most important takeaway from any AP class is the knowledge you gained regardless of whether it is reflected in your score or not.

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About the Contributor
Lucy Hiller
Lucy Hiller, Sports Reporter
Howdy! My name is Lucy Hiller, and I’m a senior this year (whoop whoop), so I’m savoring every last second I get at SHS. For my third year on The Journal, I’m back as a Sports Writer. I spent last year as the Sports Editor, and while it was a truly incredible experience, I really missed getting to write and share peoples’ stories with the world. Outside of The Journal, I’m on the cross country, swimming and track teams at SHS, and I just got a job at Fleet Feet, so if you ever need running shoes, come find me. In my free time, I enjoy playing piano, reading and cooking (go check out @lucys.yums on Instagram). I also love spending time outdoors, especially on hikes with my family (and of course, Benny, my dog). One thing I’m really excited about this year is getting to help elementary students at Homecfort produce their own mini version of The Journal because it’s so rewarding to see their excitement when they finally hold the paper in their hands. I hope I haven’t distracted you from our content for too long already, but you should totally get back to reading all of the articles that has to offer.

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