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Tips and tricks to help you ace AP and IB exams

It is that time of year again where the pressure is piled on! As May quickly approaches, AP and IB exam dates are right around the corner.

Many students feel a little stressed when this time of year approaches and start to think about studying, while others wait until the night before the test to start studying.  For big exams like these, it is a really bad idea to push studying off until the last minute. While that exam date may still seem far off, these tests are cumulative from the entire year and require more than an all-nighter of cramming to get a passing score. For those who need incentives to prepare for the test, keep in mind that if you do well you can get college credit for these tests, which will save you tons of time and money once you graduate. For those on the opposite side of the spectrum who stress themselves out for the test and have already started preparing, remember that your class has been preparing you for this exam all year long. If you need a little help with studying, here are some tips and strategies to get you started.

Take practice tests. For both AP and IB, there are a multitude of websites online that offer tests from previous years to help you get an idea of what to expect on your exam. These are really helpful because you can see what the format of the test is, as well as get an idea of some repeating themes/ideas that they base questions off of. By practicing what you know will be on the test, you will not be caught off guard when test day rolls around.

Organize and go through your notes. Whether you keep a binder, folder or notebook, take the time to go through all your notes and past assignments. Refresh your memory with the old notes you jotted down at the beginning of the year, and remind yourself of how you how you did on previous worksheets or tests because you will most likely be asked to regurgitate the same information from those worksheets on to your test. The teachers know what to expect from the AP test, so the assignments and assessments they give you most likely reflect the knowledge and skills you will need to utilize on the big test. If you take the time to organize all your papers chronologically, you can remind yourself of the order and organization of the units you studied. This helps give you context to some of the facts that are floating around your head, which will make them easier to remember.

Make studying a daily habit. Set aside a few minutes every day to study for the big test. If you make it a habit and do small increments every day, it will be easier to absorb the information.

Make connections while you are studying. Connections allow you to hold onto a piece of information more effectively. If you connect a meaningless fact to something meaningful in your head, it will automatically make it easier to remember. If you are studying with a friend, it can be fun to come up with an inside joke or a weird acronym  to help you remember something. Even by yourself, it is fun to think of abstract things to connect to. Sometimes, the more crazy it is, the more likely you will be to remember it.

Most importantly, as test day approaches, have confidence! Trust the instincts you have, and be sure to do as much as you can to be adequately prepared. It is just a test, and you have been preparing all year. Happy studying!

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