With just over a month left of the school year, some students are busy planning their big summer breaks, while others are focusing more on cramming for their AP exams. Princeton and Kaplan review books dotted with sticky notes can be spotted all around the halls. A common side effect of AP exams are the huge amounts of pressure and stress they bring upon students, and although the exams are (sometimes) hard and demanding, it is important to prioritize yourself over any test booklet.
Taking care of your health is one of the most important things when it comes to the couple of weeks leading up to exams. This includes eating right, staying hydrated, exercising and staying well-rested. Even though it is not the easiest of promises to keep, setting your mind to maintaining a healthy routine is vital.
Even though changing your whole diet right before exams is not a very good idea, stay aware as to what you are eating. This goes in conjunction with staying hydrated. Reports from the National Academies for Science, Engineering and Medicine department, reports show that women should drink around 91 ounces and men around 125 ounces of water everyday. That is the equivalent of about five 16-oz bottles. Not only does water hydrate your whole body, but it increases the brain’s ability to focus.
Health is a very important aspect of preparing for exams, but actually knowing how and what to study will (most likely) determine how well you do. Of course, if you already know whats works for you, keep doing what you’re doing. However, if this is your first AP exam, here are some pointers that might help.
The 50/10 rule.
This rule is to work hard without any breaks for 50 minutes, then rest for ten. This way, your brain is trained to study productively 80% of the time, while still having the ten-minute resting period. If fifty minutes still seems like a long time with no breaks, try halving the time to a 25-to-five minute ratio.
Rewriting and making outlines.
Although this tip does not work for everyone, rewriting key information and creating summaries of bigger concepts helps eliminate filler words and irrelevant stories. By cutting out all of the unnecessary parts of information, a more concise outline is made, and reviewing material is much easier.
Study out of order.
Most people study by reading their notes over and over again. This, believe it or not, isn’t a very helpful way the best means of studying. Unless the information is history, or it must be in chronological order, studying out of order prevents the brain from memorizing information in patterns and learning the information rather than memorizing it.
AP exams can be frustrating and stressful, but it all comes down to how you prepare yourself mentally and physically (and how you study).