AP Test Insider Tips

Editor, Carnegie Communications

Last Updated: Apr 23, 2019

Thinking about taking AP courses—and the requisite exams? They are challenging but rightfully so, because doing well on the test can help you get a serious leg up in your college studies, both academically and financially! Here are a few test-taking tips right from the source.

You know those big, scary AP tests? They’re not too scary after all! “If students have been going to class, keeping up with their coursework and studying along the way, much of the work for the exam is already done,” says Trevor Packer, Senior Vice President of the Advanced Placement Program and College Readiness at the College Board. “Students can also familiarize themselves with exam formats, sample multiple choice and free-response questions in each of AP’s 34 subjects.” To access these tools, go to the College Board’s AP website.

Packer recommends making educated guesses on multiple-choice questions. “If students do not feel confident about an essay question, they should write what they know, and earn points that could make a difference to their final score,” he says.

“When students take an AP course, they learn to think critically, construct solid arguments and see many sides of an issue—skills that prepare them for success in college and today’s highly competitive global marketplace,” Packer says. “Taking AP courses demonstrates to college admission officers that students have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them.” Students who then go on to take the AP tests can receive college credit and/or advanced placement if they score a 3 or better; score requirements and credits vary, so be sure to check with your potential colleges and universities to see how AP tests might affect your future course load. One of the biggest advantages of going the AP route is skipping otherwise required courses, which might enable to you save tuition dollars if you graduate early or need to take additional classes for whatever reason.

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