Students from across the country and other parts of the world are taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams this May in hopes of earning college credits with a passing grade.

AP classes are challenging. They give students a taste of what college will be like but with the safety net of a high school class. Students have been working hard all year in these classes, not only to get a good grade, but to also be fully prepared for the AP exam.

The tests are graded on a scale from one to five. Colleges require that students make a three or higher to receive any form of college credit, and some colleges are rumored to give an A for a five. With this much at stake, the thought of taking AP exams can cause a lot of stress, but there are things that students can do to properly prepare themselves.

The main thing that students need to do is review, review, and more review. That doesn’t mean to read word for word every chapter of a textbook. Instead, students should go over key points in their notes and information that is highlighted in their books. Understanding the major concepts is very helpful and can also aid in understanding more specific things. Also, when studying, students shouldn’t stay up trying to cram all night before the test. It is best to get as much sleep as possible; however, students need to realize that it is crucial to have everything they need for the exam before going to bed. That way, more time can go toward eating a well-balanced breakfast, rather than looking for supplies.

Even with all the reviewing, sleep, and breakfast, some students still don’t do well, and that’s perfectly acceptable. AP Exams can be retaken. For example, if a junior makes a one he or she can retake it the next May during senior year and try to make a higher score. Even if students don’t choose to retake it, the fact that they took a more advanced level class in high school will help them become a stronger student in college.

Denise Pope, senior lecturer and college success researcher at Stanford, wrote,“…students who take AP courses tend to earn better grades in college, work harder, take less time to graduate, and are generally more likely to succeed in college than are students who do not take AP classes.”


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