How To Survive AP Season

Bring a snack. This one is key. As you will likely be in session for over three and a half hours, you’re going to get hungry. Anything that doesn’t smell is great – so that’s a yes to the granola bar, no to the cheese platter. Also, nobody likes to hear weird stomach noises while testing. Identify your seatmate preferences. I sat next to someone for three of my four APs, and in hindsight, I should have been alone for all of them. (Two of my desk partners were chronic underliners, a testing trait that distracts me horribly.) Of course, I got through it, but when you’re able to decide whether to sit next to someone – or even if you can choose who you sit next to – be aware of what will help you succeed. Get there early. And when I say early, I mean about five minutes early. Most of my exams started at 8:00, and we were asked to arrive at 7:45 for clerical purposes, so I was in my chair by 7:40. The latecomers to the documentation process are rushed through the procedure and more likely to fill out the sheets incorrectly, so be sure to be on time! Also, added bonus to being early: if it matters to you, you can scope out the ideal seat. Know you’ve done this before. By the time you take APs, you’ve more than likely already sat for the ACT or SAT at least once. Though the tests themselves may differ, the processes of taking them are really similar: you get a time warning before the end of a section, you get a ten minute break, and you can only write with a number two pencil. So don’t stress; it’ll feel more natural than you think. Bring pencils AND pens. For three of my tests, we had to write in pen for a significant portion of the exam. I had never experienced this before, so I didn’t bring anything with ink. Fortunately, the proctors lend you pens, but if you’re like me and have specific preferences for your writing utensils, definitely bring your own so you don’t have to use a foreign pen. Know ahead of time what you’re missing. Testers typically miss three or four classes per exam, and to eliminate any stress about what’s going on, find out beforehand what the class agendas are so you won’t be surprised. Ideally, finish the class work before the exam so that you have no other obligations that day aside from taking the APs. Above all else, use common sense. Eat breakfast, get a good night’s sleep, etc. Come spring 2016, you will definitely be well-prepared!]]>