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Acing the AP Exam

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If your child is taking an AP course, you probably know that it will culminate with the official “AP Exam” in May. And even though that sounds like a long way off, now is actually the perfect time to put together a review strategy for the exam. May is a hectic month with tests, finals and end-of-year events, so prepping early and often is the ideal way to ensure you’ll do your best for these important tests.

ap examWhy does the AP Exam matter?

Anyone taking an AP course, from AP Chemistry to AP U.S. History, will take the AP Exam. It’s a national test, specific to each course, that has been developed to test students’ ability to perform at a college level. Every student nationwide takes the same test, at the same time. You can see the 2015 schedule here.

The score won’t affect your child’s high school class grade, but it has an even more important function: the score is used by colleges and universities to help them decide what level courses your child should take in college. And, if you do well enough, it can even count for course credit. While policies vary, scoring a four or five on the AP exam typically will be accepted for credit.

How can I prepare?
  • Begin reviewing the material that you have already completed. Set aside 15 minutes or so each evening to review past work to refresh your memory on a regular basis. It’s the best strategy for effective learning.
  • Approach the new material you are currently learning with an eye toward the test. As you go through the lessons, remember that you can’t just forget the material once you’ve been graded on it. The AP Exam will be the culmination of the entire year. As you master new material, take a few minutes to start compiling notes to put aside for AP Exam review. Highlight the important points of each lesson while it’s fresh in your mind, and be sure to note the areas where you struggled. That’s what you should tackle in your daily or weekly AP Exam study sessions.
  • Read the course overview and take the practice quizzes offered on the website. It’s extremely useful – you can click on each subject and it break down the major themes you will need to know. For some of the courses, it even breaks down the percent of the exam that covers each topic. You’ll also find samples of free-response questions from past AP Exams, so you can see the type of material covered. Also included with the questions are scoring guidelines, sample student responses with commentary on those responses and exam statistics.
  • Don’t rely on the teacher to completely prepare you. They are charged with ensuring that all the material is covered, and often that doesn’t allow ample time for thorough review.
  • Seek outside assistance. Our tutors are fantastic at helping students prep for tests, including AP Exams. Many teens find it’s helpful to set up a regular session with a tutor to review material throughout the course. Tutors can help prep for the exams coming up right now, as well as the AP Exam in May.

AP Exams are too important to leave the studying for the last minute. Taking time to review material on a regular basis will ensure your teen is ready for this important test – college credit, here you come!

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