With AP week just around the corner, students, teachers, and parents are gearing up for the exams they’ve been preparing for since the start of the school year last fall. By this point, they’ve worked hard, harder than they’ve had to for most high school classes, to gain a mastery of the content and skills necessary to pass the AP exam with a qualifying score of three or higher. Most of the prep is now in the past, and it’s time to put all that work to the test. Literally. But there are still preparations that can be made by all to ensure that the exam goes well and gives every student the chance to show off what they’ve learned and be proud of their work. So we reached out to our Advanced Placement Content Directors, experts in their subject areas and former AP graders, to ask for their Dos and Don’ts for AP week. Here’s what they had to say:
Remember to pace yourself; you want to make sure you have the time to finish all parts of the exam, multiple choice and free response.
Decide to cram the night before the exam. It will only hurt your performance. Trust the work you’ve done this year to help you succeed.
Charge your calculator the day before your exam, or bring fresh batteries.
Forget to include proper units in your answer on math and science exams.
Answer ALL parts of the question. If you’re working on a math problem, make sure to justify the solution with your words, and not just give the numerical answer.
Leave Free Response for the end. It’s worth more per question, so it needs your full brain power. Plus, if you get into a time crunch at the end, it’ll be easier to work through multiple choice questions faster than free response.
Pack your bag the night before the exam. You’ll need: 3-4 #2 pencils, an eraser, 1-2 blue or black pens, a calculator for STEM exams
Spend too long on one question you’re struggling with. Your time is better spent answering the questions you do understand. If you have extra time, you can always go back to that tricky one.
Read the whole question before you answer or look at the choices or supporting materials.
Doubt yourself. You’ve come so far and learned so much this school year. Show them what you’ve got!
Get a good night’s sleep!
Be proud of yourself! No matter your score, you made it through. That in itself is an accomplishment.
Be positive and upbeat
Remain firm in your convictions that the students can and will do well if they put in the effort.
If possible, provide your students (through your test administrator and proctor) with refreshments for the break. Students love the surprise and support of cold water and fresh snacks!
Make sure your student gets a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast.
Forget to tell them you’re proud of them, no matter what score they get.
Check their list. Check it twice. They may be nervous, so make sure they’ve got pencils, pens, a calculator, and your support.