May 11, 2014

AP Test Taking Tips

This year was my first year taking any AP tests, and after taking 3 out of my 4 APs in two days, I have some tips and advice to give ;)

To start off, the AP tests I signed up for are: Chemistry, Psychology (self-studied), Spanish Language and Culture, and Human Geography (self-studied).

AP tests in General: I pretty much felt like the tests (that I've taken so far) really weren't as bad as I thought they would be. Granted, I'm just hoping for at least a 4 on each test; I pretty much felt like I self studied Chemistry this year too because I had very little (and i mean LITTLE) background knowledge on chemistry before taking the AP class (even though I took a chemistry class last year, I literally did not learn anything past PV=nRT) and my teacher this year...well let's just keep it to this: I basically taught myself chemistry starting from an AP level, so I'm definitely not as good at chemistry as my classmates. BUT, I did get a pretty high 4 on my AP mock test we took in class, so I'm hoping for a 4. As for psychology and human geography, I truly self-studied both out of a textbook and I mean I hope I get a 5 but I definitely won't be disappointed if I get a 4. After taking the Spanish test, I felt pretty good and satisfied with everything I put down/spoke, but then again, I'm not a native speaker and I definitely made some errors in the audio parts but if I get a 5 then great, if I get a 4 then I'm still happy.

But getting back to the test taking process: make sure you get to the testing room EARLY. At my school, the tests began at 8 am and we were supposed to show up by 7:40 am. It's soo important to get there and at least be on time (if not early) because there are lots of little tedious chores to be done before the actual test, such as finishing the gridding on the answer booklet or even just getting adjusted to your seat. My chemistry and psychology tests took place in a theater where we sat in the theater seats and had these "music stand" like desks (they were great but still, they're different and take some getting used to). Don't forget to bring both a pencil AND a pen. I didn't need my student ID or my AP test receipt (from when I registered earlier this year), and no food/drinks are allowed.

Every test format is different, but they all have at least one 10 minute break between sections. The tests tend to take somewhere from 2 to even 4 hours; my psychology test should have only lasted about 2.5 hours but it went a little past that because of the amount of time we spent getting situated. My Spanish test took 4 hours; about 25 minutes was dedicated to some people trying to figure out how an old school tape recorder worked ;). So moral of the story: EAT A GOOD BREAKFAST. Of course, I went with my trusty old power meal (oatmeal and banana) and it lasted me for the entire duration. It was annoying that I didn't get to drink water cause I'm CONSTANTLY drinking water throughout any normal day so I basically chugged water at the end of the tests but I survived ;) Since all of my morning tests went past lunch, we were allowed to take 30 minutes to relax and eat lunch afterwards. The cafeteria was closed, so it's important to just pack a lunch on those days. If you have the freedom to go out to lunch, still, just pack a small snack cause you never know.

So, that has been my AP testing experience thus far. One more test (human geography) to go! Trust me though, the tests really aren't as bad as everyone says they are. I was so overwhelmed because I had chemistry on Monday morning and psychology the same afternoon (15 minutes to eat lunch between tests lol) and Spanish on Tuesday morning, so 3 tests in a row and I had no idea what I was getting into. I had overheard another senior talking to a junior and the senior kept saying "you'll be fine, no seriously, you'll be fine" and YOU WILL BE FINE! Honestly, you spend the entire year prepping, there's really not much else you can do now. You know your stuff. Just relax, make sure you eat breakfast, and get to the testing room on time with a pen and a pencil. GOOD LUCK :)

If anyone is interested in two posts on self-studying psychology and human geography, I'd be happy to write some! I'll probably wait until I get my score so I can go over my mistakes on my studying habits or good studying habits ;)

xoxo, Hannah

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