How to Cope With the Stress of AP’s…

Hey everyone! It’s that dreaded time of the year again: AP testing. Ugh.

This year, as a junior in high school, I’m taking three AP’s: chemistry, calculus BC, and language/composition. The stress is SO real for me right now, as it is, I’m sure, for all the other AP students out there. Less than two more weeks till AP’s begin, so right now is the time to prepare for battle!!!

This being the second year I’m taking AP’s, I’ve garnered a few tips/strategies on how to deal with this inundating flood of stress.

1) Realize that AP’s are overrated. Yes, if you get a 4 or 5 on it, you may receive college credit and save time and money in college. However, in many cases, students who receive 5’s on AP tests have to retake these courses in college, depending on their major. If you are a chemistry major and got a 5 on the AP chem test, you most likely will have to retake the course freshman year of college. On the flip side, if you are, say, a liberal arts major and get a 4 on the AP chem test, you probably will get the credits waived.

2) Of course you want to try your best. Ideally, it would be great if you could get those 5’s. But if you don’t, THAT IS OKAY! All it means is that you need to take the class in college, just like everyone else. The key is to try your hardest. If your best doesn’t get you that 5, you should still feel proud of yourself because you know you didn’t go down without a fight.

3) Do LOTS of drills, practice problems, mock exams. As test day nears, you want to become really familiar with what it feels like to take a full length AP test. Don’t let test day be the very first time you’ve taken a full length exam.

4) But drills, practice problems and mock exams are so incredibly boring!! Trust me, I feel you there. In a way, you just gotta stick it out and grind through this- no one said studying for AP’s is easy or fun. Not everything in life is enjoyable. Just keep your eye on the prize- that big juicy 5. One way I like to spice up my studying is setting incentives: tell yourself that if you diligently studying one subject for an hour, you will reward yourself with ten minutes of something fun, like reading an entertaining novel, watching tv, dancing, anything that can release your stress.

5) Don’t study all day every day. It’s tempting, I know, but doing this can actually be  counterproductive. You don’t want to drop all other aspects of your life just for the sake of AP’s. Maintain your health- exercise daily, eat lots of fruits and veggies, get plenty of sleep, especially as test day approaches. Release your stress by doing things that make you happy, whether it’s a sport, an instrument, or hanging out with your friends. It’s important to maintain equilibrium among all aspects of life: physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual.

6) Stay positive! Positive self-talk is key. Instead of telling yourself, “My life sucks because I have to study for AP’s”, or “I’m totally screwed”, say “I will try my hardest to get a good score on these AP’s, and my best is enough for me”. Positive affirmations can boost productivity exponentially. The YouTube channel, “The Honest Guys”, has some great positive affirmation meditations and other relaxation tools that I find extremely helpful.

With that, I leave you guys with some tips and strategies on how to survive AP’s. Don’t worry, only a few more weeks and we’re home free!!! I’m looking forward to that sweet day when AP tests are over 🙂