Whether you’re currently enrolled in an AP class, or deciding whether or not to take one at all, the fact remains that AP exams are scary. But, just like any other test, AP exams never test anything you can’t learn beforehand.
So this next series of AP Exam Hacks was written by Bridgeway’s very own student, Audrey Farrell, to help students pass their exams. Check out her top 5 AP hacks to help you better understand AP courses!

Know what kind of AP class you are taking.

From my experience, there are two types of AP classes: passive and active.

Passive AP Classes are classes that prepare you for the AP exam just by being in class. I also like to think of these classes as “osmotic APs”, where just showing up and staying attentive in class all year is enough to prepare you for the AP exam. English and foreign language classes are usually passive classes. Sure, you want to review some vocabulary or formulas beforehand so that you aren’t entering the exam cold. But most of the preparation for these exams happens just by taking the class in the first place.

Active AP Classes are just the opposite. Simply taking the class is not going to be enough if you want a 4 or 5 on these exams. Science, math, and history classes are usually active classes, where you’ll need to do some serious reviewing before the time comes to take the exam.
Understanding whether the AP class you are taking, or plan to take, is an active or passive class is extremely helpful when you begin preparing for the AP exams.

Pay Attention
I know this might seem obvious, but pay attention during the course! A lot of people I talked to when preparing for the exams this year were stressed out because they had been staring out the window all year when they should have been focusing, taking notes and learning the material. And now they have to cram a year’s worth of lessons into the space of a couple weeks. Don’t do that to yourself. Pay attention the first time you learn something, so you can have an easier time reviewing it later on. Remember that taking hand written notes tends to help your brain retain information. So taking vivid notes can help you pay attention and remember the information later.

Know how to prioritize study time.
If you’re like me, and have a bad habit of taking multiple AP classes at a time, you know how important prioritizing can be. Over the course of the year, you should be able to see which exams will take the most work. These are the classes that take the most time to complete classwork and study for tests. From there figure out which exam is going to require the most study time to perform well on, and study for that the most, even if it isn’t the most fun class. This actually brings me to the next tip!

Do whatever it takes!
When it comes to AP courses, they are not only hard, but can be absolutely boring! Come to class with the mindset of doing whatever it takes to get your studying done. And when you study for the exams try to learn the information in new ways so it’s not quite as tedious. I mean, it kind of seems obvious, but it’s a lot harder than it seems when it’s eleven o’clock at night, and you’ve still got fifty more pages of dry textbook reading before you’ve done all you need to for the day.

Here are some additional AP Exam hacks I found to study information in a new way. First, when I have trouble concentrating, I stop every half hour or so to do sit ups, jumping jacks, or go for a short walk around the block, just to get my mind refocused on the task at hand. Secondly, I’ve also found that a good music playlist always helps me get through a late night of studying extremely boring material. Lastly, color coding things, creating a well-organized sticky note system, and drawing mind maps helped me stay awake and focus. Basically, I did whatever it took to get that information from the book into my head. (I’ve even tried placing my head in direct contact with the book, but, alas, it did not seem to work that way. I just fell asleep).

Want even more tips and AP Exam hacks?  Stay tuned for the next article giving more tips for passing AP Courses!  If you would like more information about Bridgeway’s AP courses, click here or call us at 800-863-1474.