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Student Life: How Are You Studying For Your AP Exams?

From the freshmen to seniors, the impending loom of Advanced Placement (AP) exams – the final step after a year’s hard work – may be a first-time encounter or the finale of a four-year series. Fortunately, if you score well (usually a 4 on the 5-point scale), you earn credit for college. Each AP is distinct, yet all share two sections: a multiple-choice and a free-response, totaling about 2-3 hours of testing. To get “qualified,” you only need a 3 out of a 5, or 80 out of 180 potential points.

Photo by Anita Hart

Photo by Anita Hart

In order to lessen the burden of re-reading the textbook, AP study guides and online test prep seem to be the rank as the #1 most essential tool for students. For Christine Lin, ’16, the distinguished Princeton Review and Barron’s come in handy, along with her cumulative notes taken throughout the year. The two classics are known for their detailed explanation, countless practice drills, and expert strategies for the exam.

Doing last-minute studying? If you’re a on a time crunch or just need a refresher, opt for Crash Course - a hundred-page, compact review of your course, which Jonathan Trujillo, ’16, recommends as his formula, which earned him a 5 on the AP in freshman year.

Photo by Brandeis University

Photo by Brandeis University

Another perspective from Walter Pugil, ’14, who is to juggle eight AP exams in total, earns some credit: focus on the toughest exams, AP Latin and AP Physics, in his opinion. Review books don’t bring much aid to him, as teachers “cover most of the AP material over the year.” He focuses on reviewing the physics equations and his notes.

The opposite end of the spectrum appears uncertain of what to expect from the upcoming test. “It’s a little scary,” Amrith Lotlikar, ’17, admits. Several freshmen choose a try-out method, not adhering to any regimen or schedule in particular. “I usually allot an hour to an hour and a half of study on weekdays and more on the weekends,” says Anna Blome, ’17.

Not only a coffee shop, Starbucks serves a healthier choice for study boosters – the green tea frappuccino. Photo by The Daily Mail

Some students prefer to study in groups, combining strengths and different perspectives. “It’s a lifesaver,” Anais Gutierrez, ’16, remarks. “We have a group of three, and we summarize and take turns explaining our notes during lunch.”

And throughout the experience, many students fall back on caffeine, an everyday perk seen in the hallways. With research showing a few negative health effects of too much coffee, an alternative for some is a cup of mind-boosting tea. Chai, to be precise, for Juliana Dunn, ’15, who prefers to pick it up for late-night study sessions. Her favorite study spot? A day at the Montrose Library, a clean and cozy setting.


Fortunately, scores have been rising. Photo by College Board

Fortunately, scores have been rising. Photo by College Board

Check the 2013 Score Distribution: http://goo.gl/8yOdQa

Check the Exam Calendar: http://goo.gl/eCxA5c

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