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Useful tips to tackle 2021 AP Exams

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As May comes around the corner every year, so do the students begin preparing for the AP exams. However, things will play much differently now that it will be online and also precautionarily in-person. Based on my personal experience with taking my first online AP exam for World History in 2020, I realized my mistakes of not taking the content more seriously and getting familiar with the exam expectations. From that experience, I learned to be more prepared for the following exams this year. One of my few tips would be to take advantage of the College Board resources as much as possible.The College Board provides instructional resources such as “AP Classroom” and “AP Daily” that cover all course content and offer practice questions to prepare for the actual exam. You can also find similar free videos on YouTube for every course from channels such as “Macro Learning” and “Heimler’s History.” Heimler was personally very helpful during my first time taking the AP World History, especially with his useful unit reviews that I watched a few days before taking the exam. However, I suggest watching in-depth videos of each unit a few weeks before the exam and slowly narrowing down the unit review videos by the time of the exam. This way, you can nail in every important detail from each unit.

Another tip would be to keep important notes of each unit or module of your class in order to review a few weeks before taking the actual exam. You can take your notes digitally and organize them into separate folders for each AP class. Another option is to write your notes in a paper notebook, which helps a lot in memorizing and studying. To me, it was better writing on paper because I was able to decorate it with stationary pens to make studying more fun and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

The biggest tip that I would suggest everyone do as soon as possible is to start practicing with writing Document Based Questions for history classes or Free Response Questions questions on the College Board website. These are absolutely helpful in tasting the experience of taking the AP exams with similar questions you may find on the actual exams. While doing so, time yourself as you go through all the questions in order to improve your time management for the test. Although an hour may seem like a long time, the clock begins quickly ticking as soon as you begin reading the documents and trying to organize your essay to score the right amount of points. However, if you start familiarizing yourself with these questions and develop a strategy that is successful for you, you should be more confident and less stressed.  

Times like these are very stressful for AP students, especially for those who are new to AP courses or those with experience in the 2020 exam disaster. Although it is unpredictable of how this year’s exams will go, planning a few months prior will definitely prepare you by May. 

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