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How to Pass Your AP Exams This Semester

As spring break winds down, now is an excellent time to put your AP exam prep into high gear. Set aside regular study time each day if possible.

Start by reviewing content from previous units, beginning with early topics that tend to get left behind when new material is introduced. Furthermore, be sure to practice both multiple-choice and free-response questions if studying for a test with low pass or 5 rates.


When studying for Advanced Placement exams, it’s essential to start early and remain consistent in your efforts. This is particularly helpful if you have extracurricular activities or part-time jobs; if you find that staying on track proves challenging, try breaking up your studying into smaller chunks for easier progress.

Practice AP exam questions and free-response questions on AP Central to gain an understanding of testing format, and identify areas where you’re having difficulty. Answer easy questions first to avoid spending unnecessary time on questions you already know how to answer; doing this may help refresh your memory for the harder questions ahead.

Remind yourself that there is no penalty for guessing on multiple-choice questions; if unsure, choose your best answer. Gather all necessary testing materials and have an excellent night of rest the night before your exam; numerous neuroscience studies have proven the beneficial effects of sleep on test performance.


March may seem far away, but now is an excellent time to start planning study strategies for an AP test. Depending on the exam you plan to take, this could include reviewing introductory chapters and key concepts as well as identifying any areas of weakness before seeking (official) practice questions and tests to work on.

Prior to taking the test, devote at least one month of preparation time towards full-length practice exams under timed conditions and individual sections, especially free response, of exams (especially free response ), to familiarizing yourself with how College Board questions work and which skills they’re searching for.

Studying alone can be stressful, so consider creating a study group with friends or classmates in your class to help keep yourself on track and reduce exam anxiety. Also remember if an answer seems uncertain to just guess without fear of reprisals!

Test-Taking Tips

As you review course material for AP exams, be mindful of your learning style. Studies in neuroscience have demonstrated the need for multiple encounters of information before it truly sticks in our memory, so find methods of review that work for your brain – whether that means listening to podcasts for concept review, drawing diagrams or mind maps for reinforcement or some combination thereof.

Make sure that when practicing for your exam, keep its structure in mind. Most AP exams consist of approximately an hour of multiple choice questions followed by an hour of short answer/free response questions; creating checklists from prompts for short answer/free response questions can help ensure you cover everything required.

On exam day, make sure to get plenty of rest, enjoy breakfast and pack all necessary materials in your bag before departing for your exam. Most importantly, don’t lose focus! Stay positive!

Take Care of Yourself

An Advanced Placement exam can be an important milestone in your high school education, and passing it could earn college credit and save on tuition costs. While taking an AP class requires dedication and hard work, with proper study strategies you should be able to score well on any AP test you take.

Follow these strategies to maximize your chances of passing this semester and increase your odds. If needed, seek assistance from tutors or study groups; practice under test-like conditions; focus on improving free-response questions (which make up about half of your score), while prioritizing sleep and health for optimal test day performance – good luck! Veronica is a Curriculum Manager at CollegeVine who studied History and Classics at Harvard University before joining CollegeVine to support students as they strive towards academic goals.

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