Tips and tricks to get a perfect score on the AP exam

Nicole Treece, Spotlight Editor

Advanced Placement tests are right around the corner, and many Liberty students are getting ready to take the exams. Due to online school, the change from taking tests online to taking tests in person may be a big change for some students, especially those who haven’t taken an AP test before. 

A big thing to remember before any test is that they are intended to be challenging and won’t focus only on memorized vocabulary or dates. Rather, they will focus on cause and effect answers that demonstrate a student’s understanding of big ideas.

Allyson Mangus, a senior who has taken 13 AP exams says, “before taking any test, make sure you can explain and prove the material, not just give a definition.”

Everyone is different; some may be great at studying, but easily distracted when taking the actual test. Luckily, there are many ways of staying calm and alert during tests.

“Getting a good night of sleep is the best way to ensure you get to use all of your IQ,” Thomas Kennedy, AP Calculus AB teacher said. “Eat a big breakfast/drink water before the exam. Not having to think about food during the exam will help you focus on the material.”

While taking the test, there are usually two different sections, multiple-choice and free-response questions, or FRQs.

“I have a specific system for the multiple-choice section. First, engage with the question, which means circling, underlining, or highlighting anything that stands out or is important. Using this, it’s easier to decipher what the question is really asking and narrow down answers,” Mangus said. “When choosing the right answer, use the process of elimination and guess an answer even if you aren’t sure.” 

After you answer all the questions the first time, Mangus recommends double-checking your answers by skimming the question and only look at the answer you guessed. 

“The other choices don’t matter, and they’ll only distract you and waste time,” Mangus said.

For FRQs and essay questions, there is a different approach to them than multiple choice. Mangus suggests using specific keywords you have learned and outline your essay. 

 “Don’t over-answer a question just because you’re not confident in your answer,” Mangus said. “For instance, don’t give more examples than a question asks for or try to over-explain concepts that you have already shown you understand.”

Although the AP exams are meant to be difficult, and you may be discouraged, remember what matters: a passing grade. 

AP tests like the calculus one can feel demoralizing as many students are getting roughly a 40% on the test. The redeeming factor is that this is a passing score,” Kennedy said.

Happy testing Patriots, and remember to sleep well before your exam.


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