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Five tips to get a five on your AP tests

As AP study season starts approaching, the question for students on how and what you should use to study comes up.

We interviewed five AP teachers and asked them their best advice on how to get a five on your AP tests in May. Read their responses below:

1) Mr. Northrup: Take a deep breath.

As an AP World History teacher, Robert Northrup has a lot of experience with preparing students for AP Tests.

“[There is not] an easy way [to get a five],” Northrup said. “Practice writing to the formula and get excited about the topics…it makes the course more fun, and if you are having fun learning about new, interesting stuff, the five will follow.”

Northrup also notes that “stress makes you dumb” and to remain calm on the AP Test.

“Take a deep breath and think about what you do know, not what you don’t know,” said Northrup. “If you are prepared you will be fine, if you aren’t prepared there comes a time when worrying about it won’t help, it will just make it worse. You are what you are.”

2) Mr. Rivera: Make a study plan.

Planning out when and how much you’re going to study goes a long way in helping you prepare for the tests in May. Robert Rivera, an AP U.S. History and AP European History teacher, stresses the importance of this while reviewing

“Make a study plan NOW,” Rivera said. “Literally plan out when and how and what you’ll study and make a calendar so you stick with it.”

Many people believe study plans can be extremely helpful as it blocks out a certain amount of time each day that you have time to study. They help you make time between your work life, social life, and other responsibilities to make sure you are studying appropriately.

“A five represents mastery of the content and skills of the subject, and it requires dedication and hard work,” Rivera said.

Even if you do create a study schedule, nothing will happen if you aren’t dedicated and don’t stick with it. Make sure you create a system where you are getting the work done regularly.

3) Mr. Sanson: Do not put off reviewing!

This goes without saying: you need to study A LOT if you wanna get a five on any AP exam. Anthony Sanson, an AP Chemistry teacher, especially puts emphasis on this.

“In every AP class…there’s a huge breath of knowledge to have, lots of different concepts, and there’s good depth to it,” Sanson said. “Without reviewing and actively putting in the extra time especially as you get closer to the exam, you’re not gonna be successful.”

Every AP class covers a multitude of topics. As each class is extremely rigorous, it’s easy to forget major topics covered in earlier units as the end of the year approaches.

“There’s so many things that are covered that are easily lost because you’re not necessarily doing that skill, you’re learning new skills,” Sanson said.

Do not procrastinate. To do well, create a study schedule and follow it as closely as possible. There’s no easy five on any AP test, you wont get a five if you don’t put in the effort.

“I think review is probably the biggest part of being successful,” Sanson said.

4) Mrs. Bush: Utilize AP Classroom.

AP Classroom comes free with any AP class you take, and it can be extremely beneficial while reviewing. AP English Language and Composition teacher Nanci Bush believes is one of the best resources you can use for studying

“AP classroom has tons of resources really for any subject that kids can use independently that are free resources with taking the AP class, and they’re directly from AP,” Bush said.

There are free practice tests, instructional videos for every topic and skill, and even more.

“There’s a whole brand new score report that’s out right now that any student can look at exactly what skill they are lacking and just dive into their lowest area and then have a lot of growth in that,” Bush said.

If you are trying to round up study materials, definitely take a look at AP Classroom. A lot of people, myself included, tend to overlook it while reviewing for AP tests. There’s no better resource than one that comes straight from College Board, the people making the AP tests.

“I know that they are constantly improving it [AP Classroom] and making it better,” Bush said.

5) Mrs. Lane: Stay focused in class.

If you don’t stay on top of the work in class, you won’t succeed outside of class. Mary Lane, an AP Government teacher, believes students need to take ownership over their learning to succeed.

“Students are often distracted by their phones or Chromebooks and think ‘Oh, I got this’ when, in fact, they don’t got this,” Lane said. “Being a passive learner is not a way to achieve a five, students need to take ownership of their learning.”

Without paying attention, you may miss whole chunks of information that are vital to succeed. You can’t just rely on your teacher– you need to take accountability for both what skills you’re strong at and what skills you lack.

“The teacher is here to facilitate the process and is not the end-all-be-all of the learning process,” Lane said.

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