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Trying to cram a review of an entire year of curriculum a week before the test is an impossible task

PMG FILE PHOTO - Tate EricsonAdvanced placement tests are coming up fast and hard. A large number of students at Wilsonville High School take at least a couple during their schooling. Over the past couple weeks, many teachers have been reminding students how close they are and giving out "War and Peace"-length packets to prepare. As someone who has taken quite a few AP classes throughout my time at high school, this ritual has begun to feel very normal for me. However, some people haven't had much experience with standardized testing like this. The task of preparing for these exams can seem very daunting, but it's actually quite manageable if done effectively.

Throughout my experience with these tests, and most tests in general, is that students should start studying as soon as possible. A month before the test date is a good time to start. I recommend spending 20-30 minutes a night per AP course, working on whatever study packet or book the teacher gives.

This can build up to be a lot of time for someone taking multiple courses, but the amount can be adjusted based on how proficient they feel already. The great thing about these exams to me is that there isn't an immense amount of pressure behind them like the SAT or ACT, which makes it easier to study. Making sure to pay attention during review sessions in class can reinforce the studying done at home.

Although a score on an AP test isn't going to determine whether someone passes a class, it's worth givingthe test a good shot. Getting proficient scores on these tests can save a lot of money in the future because it creates the opportunity to skip basic 101-level classes at the collegiate level.

Many students have graduated up to a year early from college due to AP scores! Although a three is technically passing the test, most schools only take fours or fives usually, so keep that in mind. Stats and English are great APs to get a good score on because college students often take basic levels of those courses as part of the core curriculum.

AP testing will be as stressful as someone makes it. Trying to cram a review of an entire year of curriculum a week before the test is an impossible task. Starting early and doing only a light amount of work per session will make it much, much less stressful and time consuming. And remember, if you do poorly, it isn't the end of the world.

Tate Ericson is a senior at Wilsonville High School.

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